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Couplemania for Polyglots July 8, 2012

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Your Responses Requested!.
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11 comments

Copious Readers,

Here at Onely we often use the terms couplemania, matrimania, marital privileging, or heteronormativity to describe the act of favoring paired people at the expense of singles. (Heteronormativity often refers to an anti-gay attitude where the perpetrator thinks that the male-female couple complex is superior to–or more normal than–a same sex couple complex, but the term also applies when favoring any couple complex over a single person.)

But in the interest of going global with our mission, we wondered: how would one say these things in other languages? We were first drawn to this idea by fellow blogger and fellow Oneler Rachel, of Rachel’s Musings. She taught us that couplemania in German is Pärchendiktatur (literally–and rather obviously–“pair dictatorship”).

Even better is the Mandarin Chinese phrase for matrimania: 婚姻 狂热, or “marriage fanaticism”.

(In case our non-Chinese-speaking readers want to challenge matrimania on their vacation to Beijing–probably not recommended–we present this handy pronunciation guide: hun1yin1 kuang2re4, where 1 is a high tone, 2 is a rising tone, and 4 is a sharp downward tone, as you might use when saying, “No!  I do not care if I don’t have a husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/date.”)

We also figured out how to say “singlism” in Chinese: 单身 歧视, literally “single-person discrimination” (dan1shen1 qi2shi4).

We got our Chinese translations from the groundbreaking book Singled Out  by social scientist and singles advocate Bella DePaulo, PhD, who coined the original English terms. (Yes, Singled Out has been translated into Chinese!) But we need you, Copious Readers, to help us with our collection. Can you give us non-English versions of our favorite words? If you speak another language but don’t know the correct word for matrimania, or singlism, or marital privilege, or heteronormativity, then just make one up!

Thanks, Danke, 谢谢,

Christina (and Lisa)

Photo credit: David Rumsey

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