Friday, July 15, 2011

subaltern



subaltern [sʌbˈɔltərn or ˈsʌbəlˌtɜrn] a.

1.) Lower in position or rank; secondary.
2.) Chiefly British. Holding a military rank just below that of captain.
3.) Logic. In the relation of a particular proposition to a universal with the same subject, predicate, and quality.

subaltern n.

1.) A subordinate.
2.) Chiefly British. A subaltern officer.
3.) Logic. A subaltern proposition (American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language).

Etymology: French subalterne, from Old French, from Late Latin subalternus: Latin sub- + alternus, alternate.

"Consider this still-life by one of the inmates: the melon, cleft in twain, a severed completeness; an island identity isolated from the whole, proxy for the prisoner removed from society. Foregrounded, the reduction becomes amplification, hegemonic-historical myth-making undercut by the end-space non-scape [sic] of the white. This is canvas—as theater—of existential warfare; an insurgency of the voiceless subaltern" (The Colbert Report, Barry Julien (head writer), July 14th 2011).

(Nature morte au melon, Claude Monet, 1872)

22 comments:

Jenny Woolf said...

I used to know a lot of subalterns when I was growing up, because my dad was in the British army. They were usually very young, very junior, just out of Sandhurst, and I always thought they were below lieutenants, not captains. But I never investigated the meaning of the word, so I my understanding of their position could have been wrong.

shari said...

Hmmm... that one I've never heard of, and am having a hard time trying to casually use it in a sentence....

Zach said...

Can't say I've heard the term :(

Mai Yang said...

I am a subaltern. (haha! I'm not sure if I used it correctly :D)

Lemons Don't Make Lemonade said...

Sometimes I wish I could use these awesome words in a daily conversation without coming across like a pretentious snob. *cries*

AND YOU HATED WHEN NIETZSCHE WEPT? Gee, thanks, I already bought it. ):

I would also like to propose an expedition to the fertility clinic. Sell me your sperms, and our babies will be gorgeous, smart, and funny. But mostly smart.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Hahahaha, love that pretentious quotation from the Colbert Report!

D4 said...

What shari said. WHAT SHE SAID!!

Meri said...

I can't way to bestow this title to my vocabularic inferiors! hahaha

JayJay said...

Interesting word. It's another one I haven't heard of, which is good. Builing up my vocab makes me happy.

Natasha said...

That painting is beautiful! And I know I wrote "tumble" but I was busy yesterday so couldn't change it until today. xxx

Shutterbug said...

Men in uniform are sexy, including subalterns! ;)

Bart said...

chiefly british, lol wut

Shaw said...

First time I've hear of subalterns, wonder if people would know what I was talking about if I used it in average conversation.

Devour said...

I know this word "). Awesome pic at the bottom ")

MRanthrope said...

Colbert Report...is there anything they can't do?

Henry said...

I only know this from reading wwii novels

Fiona not Bruce said...

i second what lemons said.

RedHeadRob said...

That word looks weird than it sounds. Lol

Alyssa said...

Thank you for letting me know about the pictures! I fixed it thought :] I like that this blog has variety of words in this blog! I now know a new word!

beautyandfashionmashup.blogspot.com
-The BF Mashup

Frosty said...

Word of the day essentially? That's cool

blorriepoes said...

i dont agree with shutterbug!
+1 though nice post.

jill said...

neat blog! I definitely need to add to my vocabulary.

x. jill
www.thoseghosts.blogspot.com

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