Home > Random > ‘Babe’ in Brighton Banned!

‘Babe’ in Brighton Banned!


So, I’m going on BBC Radio Scotland tomorrow morning to have a chat with Fred Macaulay about the Brighton bus drivers who have been banned from calling customers babe (lovely alliteration there!). Terms of endearment often engender quite polarised views of how appropriate their use is, something which is particularly interesting in light of the rapid loss of such regional dialect terms. Not only are younger speakers less likely to use them, but if they do use them, they’re not usually well-received (at least, my intuition is that this is the case).

With that in mind, I want to post up a quick poll about how you feel about people you don’t know (people working in the service industry, taxi drivers, waiters, bar staff etc etc) calling you ‘hen’, ‘duck’, ‘bab’, ‘doll’, ‘babe’ and so on.

The poll is available below if you’d like to fill it out, and it would be great to be able to actually have some ‘data’ to discuss during the show!

The Social Linguist

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  1. Kat
    February 2, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    I wonder how much of it is to do with the polysemy of “babe” – it’s not just a regional dialect term, but is used heavily in discourse associated with sexist attitudes towards women. I’m reminded of porn titles of the top of my head simply because “babe” is so frequently used there. To me “babe” is loaded in the way, say, “mate” isn’t; calling a woman “babe” seems different to calling a man such.

  2. me
    February 2, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    I don’t like it overall but I like it even less when a man uses it (I’m a female). I don’t mind ‘babe’ at all if it comes from my girlfriends (also I’ve noticed that my girlfriends use it more in writing than in a conversation, e, g. through txts, facebook etc.)

  3. Jez
    February 2, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    And for those that don’t particularly mind?…

    I think there should be options for

    Male… Don’t Mind.
    Female… Don’t Mind.

    • February 2, 2012 at 7:30 pm

      Mainly because “don’t mind” will depend on certain terms being used (admittedly, this would also apply to ‘like’ and ‘hate’). Of course, this isn’t supposed to be a scientific study but rather a quick and dirty poll.

    • February 2, 2012 at 7:34 pm

      Updated now to add this suggestion!

  4. Dani
    June 8, 2012 at 2:49 am

    Female and I love being called by terms of endearment. Oddly enough, I never use them though.

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