Friday, October 23, 2009

Romeo, Oh Romeo!

We all know the tale of Romeo and Juliet, a story of passion, betrayal and death. What we shall reveal here is the sensational, extraordinary and shocking case of discrimination related to this story, which did not occur in the Middle Ages, but now, in the 21st century! Prepare yourselves to be amazed!
The dictionaries of the English language (both Adrian’s favourite, Collins Scrabble Dictionary, and my favourite, the Oxford English Dictionary) list “romeo” as a common noun meaning “a lover, a passionate admirer; a seducer, a habitual pursuer of women”. Yet “juliet” does not appear anywhere except in the phrase “Juliet cap” (“a small, round cap of wide, open mesh, usually decorated with pearls or other jewels, similar to that worn on the stage by Shakespeare's Juliet”), where it is still a proper noun which cannot be used in Scrabble. This leads to the obvious conclusion that, while “romeo” has come to designate a prototype, the universal and eternal lover, Juliet has been banished to the realm of frilly and by now completely outdated accessories.
What poison, daggers and generation-long hatred failed to do, the dictionaries successfully achieved: they separated Romeo and Juliet! We are expecting, of course, a wave of protests more or less violent from word lovers or simply lovers around the world, but we wanted to be the first to draw your attention to the potential linguistic dangers lurking inside the dusty tomes.
As an illustration for this article, in order not to be accused of copyright infringement, we chose a photo from our engagement ceremony. Feel free to comment. :)

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