Bay Area Parkour

Train Hard - Stay Humble

I don't really think we should limit ourselves to English, but I would like to make a push for people to stop using traceur/traceuse and start using tracer or something else that doesn't require me to write both whenever I want to refer to a generic parkour practitioner (I know practitioner works, too, but I'm going for something more pk specific). While I like the expansion of language and really prefer the sound and verbal amuse bouche of the French, I'm kinda tired of the gender dualism and requisite need to write out both terms. Any suggestions?

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Maybe a Woman's perspective is in order here, but why not just "Traceurs". Similarly as male and female thespians refer to themselves as "Actors".

"Male and female represent the two sides of the great radical dualism. But in fact they are perpetually passing into one another. Fluid hardens to solid, solid rushes to fluid. There is no wholly masculine man, no purely feminine woman".

Margaret Fuller (1810 - 1850)
Source: Woman In the Nineteenth Century
...good parallel drawn there, Steve!
That's what I'm getting at, the idea that not only are we are neither wholly one or the other, there are quite a few people- especially here in the Bay Area- who identify as neither and would rather not be stuck with the label of either. Sometimes between the stairs and the elevator, there are many other paths.
...I can feel your pain, and I see where you're coming from.

I also applaud the provocative title, which will (should!) attract attention and hopefully raise an eyebrow or two, only to then applaud the matter of content.

That makes you a bit of a "provocateur" (def: "A person suggesting a rousing out of indifference, inciting or stimulating peers into discussion or exciting controversy...)... definitely, if you would be a woman, wouldn't make you a provocateuse... (i.e.: Mata Hari was "une agente provocateuse" in France...).

Now, I realize that US and UK modern English, both, are lacking grammatical gender, which is a big advantage for newcomers to the countries (yoo-hoo!); nevertheless writing off it's value only because it requires more work, or thought, could be a mistake;
And also the umpteenth impoverishment of languages which are already fighting an orthographical war (see: spelling).

It's my opinion that language shapes society, to a certain extent or at least its behavior ("behaviour" in the UK).

This community -in just one year- grew to become the strongest representation of active female practitioners in the US (in proportional training presence): this happened mainly because of the geographical and cultural specifics of the Bay Area, and thanks to the focus that the organization and its members reserved to female beginners.

But why would we want to give up a linguistic tool, already in use, that enables us to refer (and remind) every time we talk of our practitioners that we are not referring only to the boys (which still constitute 80-90% of the online community)?

Why wouldn't we want to remember every kid or teen out there that their sisters, girlfriends, -heck!- even mothers can do this? And their daughters will too..

I won't give it up; I will stick to the beauty of the term traceuse, willing to accept also its misspelling... (more than I can accept the stubborn, chronic refuse by some of using a spellchecker for the rest of the posted content!).

Having said that, don't get me wrong, though; I'm all for simplification and for creating (or using) words that have an immediate correct meaning.
Best example, IMO, my proposal years ago to introduce "tracing"/"let's go trace", in place of "doing Parkour"/"let's go do Parkour" (a terminology, which was derided initially... even from some linguistic students, who are now using the term themselves...).
People would resist to it, some preferred using content loaded terms, like, "let's go move", which would allow the use also by freerunners and tricksters, which -apparently- do not "trace"...

Some changes are worth making, some things are worth keeping: at least we are not gonna end up with a ParkourGirl magazine!
(compare SurfGirl magazine to the website and WahineSurfing e-zine...
"Wahine" is the Polynesian/Hawaiian term for "female surfer"...)
IMO, the gender difference is of no consequence whatsoever. However, about French vs. English I strongly disagree :-)

"During the Norman occupation of Britain (yr. 1066) about 10,000 French words were adopted into English, some 75% of which are still in use today. This French vocabulary is found in every domain, from government and law to art and literature. More than a third of all English words are derived directly or indirectly from French, and it's estimated that English speakers who have never studied French already know 15,000 French words." (French was the official language in Britain for 300 years!!) More here

So, seeing where our language came from, that Parkour was born in France, that 'Parkour' is a French word -- it is my opinion that by keeping the French terms associated with this sport we honor its heritage!
Im hella down with being a tracer lol
Im hella down with being a spacer LOL
We've already Anglofied (that's not even a word) plenty of French parkour terms. There are hardliners out there who would insist on Saut de Chat instead of Kong, passement or passe instead of vault. So it's just a matter of where we want to draw the line between honoring parkour's French roots and communicating efficiently in our common tongue (which is, admittedly, mostly French in origin anyway).

Personally, I love that the term traceuse distinguishes itself as uniquely feminine. It emphasizes the fact that there are women actively participating in parkour and I would be sad to see it disappear completely. That being said, I have no problem with "tracer". It's close enough to the French to be immediately understood by anyone already using traceur/traceuse and anyway it's a cool description for what a practitioner does.

Language, like parkour is an ever evolving medium. And barriers between languages are just another obstacle. I figure we should think like tracers and do what's most efficient to get past it. :)
I'm gonna stick with traceur. i'm gonna have to explain what "parkour" is anyway. I mean a how hard is it to pronounce (tra - soor) or (tra- soos). i dont think anything of the language and how it sounds and stuff, i just use them to refer to practitioners of parkour. Its not that hard. The masculine and femine words are simillar to the spanish vocabulary..... I really dont think this should be a problem.
I am a bit biased here, as my last name is French and we spoke French in my home when I was a small child. My two cents? Keep the French! The distinction between male and female doesn't need to be a reminder of chauvinism and sexism, instead we can choose to truly embrace diversity by celebrating the different strengths and aptitudes and accepting the weaknesses and limitations of both femininity and masculinity.

Plus, using "tracer" in the presence of traceurs from other parts might cause them to think you can't spell/pronounce traceur.
even though french is really cool, i'm actually down for the genderless "tracer". It makes sense imo in translating to English. Our grammar isn't built to deal with gendered words.


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