An irregular, irreverent, post-modern account of the surreal, the ordinary, and the bizarre happenings on and around the Felia lavender farm in Crete

Monday, April 24, 2006


Ask anyone who knows me. I am not a linguistic revisionist. I am very happy with the way our language constantly bends and adjusts. I think the French academy idea is pointless and ridiculous. Moreover it is damaging/has damaged the French language - possibly beyond repair.

One of the amazing things about the English language is the manner in which it has ever been pleased even eager to adopt from other languages. This alone has helped to make it the language in which it is possible to express more things than any other. It has also given us a set of spellings that are the wonderment of the world. English spellings indicate more often than not the route that a particular word or phrase has taken to worm itself into the vocabulary and given the sheer number of languages that it has borrowed from it ensures a set of spellings that would boggle the mind.

Often times it is possible to take a fairly accurate stab at the meaning of an unknown word if only you can figure out its components. This is particularly true if the root language of the original was Greek or Latin. Sometimes you will be able to identify a word that has come from for example Greek via French by a change in spelling. There is almost an archaeological element to some of our words.

OK, so, having said all of that there is one word that is really annoying me. It has had its meaning twisted so far out of kilter by lawyers and social workers and trick cyclists that I would like to suggest that we the laity of language users should claim it back. It's a good Greek word - paedophile.

Etymologically it ought to mean, it signals to a user, a lover of children. In current usage it means just about the opposite of that. It almost dignifies the undignified and corrupting behaviour of adults who are sexually attracted to children. Pederast maybe. Paedophile surely not. Where is the philos? The love? Remember that the average paedophile blames the child for coming on to them! Love?

So, what do we do about it? Firstly let's decide what we are going to call there people. When I was a child these people were there but they were known as and called child-molesters. Seems good enough to me. We could use that. But just as an experiment I asked a couple of Greeks what they call these sorts of people and amazingly they all came back at me with a Middle English word - monster. How very appropriate. Whatever it is we call these people let's not call them "lovers of children". And let me suggest that our way of taking this beautiful word back from these very ugly people is to stop and correct anyone who uses the P word to describe them. Write to or email newspapers or other media that use the P word and correct them. Correct everyone. Call them as they are: child molesters; monsters; both.


  1. The notorious psychologist and sexologist John Money claims that the public (and other professionals) do not understand that there is a difference between what he calls 'affectionate paedophilia' and 'sadistic paedophilia'. He claims 'affectional pedophilia' is about love and not sex and he believes this is caused by a surplus of parental love that became erotic, and is not a behavioral disorder!

    Sounds to me like he is someone just trying to gloss over their own predilections for young children.

    The word 'paedophilia' was first coined by Krafft-Ebing and he defined correctly in my opinion as "...the sexual interest is toward children, either prepubescent or at the beginning of puberty; the sexual interest is the primary one, that is, exclusively or mainly toward children; the sexual interest remains over time."

    In short, I agree with you (and Krafft-Ebing); paedophilia is not about love but all about child abuse.

  2. It is apposite that on the day of your post Roy Clarke, another paedophile, was jailed for his vile crimes against children. It is interesting to note that Det Con Debbie Timms, of Leicestershire Police, said: "Even during the most horrific (offences) that he did admit, there was still an element of blaming the child.” The news story can be read here: