Week 5 – OED

I chose the word “provincial” from page 35 of “The Matter of Seggri”.  This word comes at the beginning of a new account by a person from the planet Seggri.  This person says the people from other worlds most likely think the Seggri people are “backwards, provincial, even perverse”.  I understand provincial to mean being a province of a larger state or having to do with a province. I believe there is ambiguity because this does not seem to be the definition used here. The words both before and after provincial are derogatory and in the sense I understand it provincial is not. These words are quite important to the passage to see how the Seggri people think others perceive them.

The first five definitions of provincial as an adjective prove my understanding of the word to be correct. They all mention that it is describing a province of a certain state. But even if Seggri is now considered a province after people have made contact that definition still does not make sense in this context. The sixth and final definition of provincial makes the most sense in the story, “Having or suggestive of the outlook, tastes, character, etc., associated with or attributed to inhabitants of a province or the provinces; esp. (depreciative) parochial or narrow-minded; lacking in education, culture, or sophistication”. This use is the least common but not the oldest and is shown being used as recently as 1994 in the Los Angeles Times.

Here we find a meaning of the word that is derogatory and fits in with the other two words around it perfectly. The other worlds think their treatment of men is a lack of culture and sophistication. This clears the ambiguity and helps the reader understand that the people of Seggri believe they are looked down upon as a lesser race.

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One response to “Week 5 – OED

  1. You make a really good point here. When I first read that part I too found it odd, but I opted to just leave it be and keep reading. I think you’re right about the new definition, it does flow a lot easier when thought of in those terms.

    Like

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