Discussion in 'English Only' started by Lilijan, Feb 25, 2006.

  1. Lilijan New Member

    I am doing some academic editing and the writer has used the word 'sponsee' for the organisation being sponsored. It sounds logical but I have never seen it used and cant find it in a dictionary. Does anyone know about this word or the correct word??

    Thanks, Lillijan
  2. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    American English
    Hi, Lilijan, and welcome to the forum.

    I have never seen sponsee, although I have seen other back-formations like this one (mentee, coachee, etc.) in common use. I understand it, however...

    In a word, I don't like it. I would use the sponsored organisation.

  3. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Please let me never see this word again.
    A sponsor is not someone who sponses, so sponsee cannot mean someone who is sponsored.

    Flippant aside follows ...
    On the other hand, if this person now wishes to create a new verb, to sponse, I know what my response would be, but he wouldn't be sure of the meaning of response. Would repeat sponses be given only to those deemed responsible?
  4. maxiogee Banned

    I would always have heard of "the person sponsored".

    On a point of order, Oh Grand Panjandrum, I think that ~ees can be created in various ways....
    an evacuee is not someone who has been evacued
    and a lendee is not someone who has been lended
  5. KateNicole Senior Member

    Miami, Florida
    English (USA)
    If anything, wouldn't it be sponsoree, as opposed to "sponsee"????
  6. Lilijan New Member

    Thanks Kate ..

    I agree fully, and indeed looked up Sponsoree .. but that doesnt appear either. I am finding when non English academics write English they begin to make up words based on rules they have picked up ... its interesting.

    regards ...
  7. Lilijan New Member

    Thanks for your responses on sponsee .. it was an interesting first query, and certainly confirms my view .... that it's an academic make up and not acceptable ... foreigner academics trying to change our language.
  8. Kelly B

    Kelly B Senior Member

    USA English
    Oh, I doubt that. This kind of nonsense is usually homegrown, from people who are comfortable enough with the language to abuse it on purpose.
  9. river Senior Member

    U.S. English
  10. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    I don’t know if this contributes something to the discussion but the term sponsee was used in Twelve Step Sponsorship by B. Hamilton.

    Wikipedia also provides a tiny entry.

    It looks like some members of various kinds of programs aiming at the recovery of the addicted people use the term.

    I also found the term in other books:

    There’re quite many books whose authors used the term sponsee.
  11. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    OK so this word rubs salt in an old wound.
    It is unnecessary, and abhorrent in form.

    Just as you will never persuade me that attendee is acceptable, sponsee will never appear from my pen or pass my lips except with a sense of ridicule, and a pleughh.

    As a corollary, anyone who uses either of these words will immediately be plonked into the category "illiterate philistine".
  12. mysticdavidsparks New Member

    Cheongju, South Korea
    English, USA
    I find it funny. I ran across this word also while doing some academic editing of a non-native english speaker's dissertation and wasn't sure what to make of it. I agree that a sponsee is not one who sponses. I would favor sponsoree over sponsee, but I agree that the preferred form should be the "sponsored organization" or whatever. Really fascinating over-application of a rule though, no?
  13. Pascalawag

    Pascalawag New Member

    Austin, TX
    English - Texas
    << Judicious pruning here and there. >>

    What about gender neutrality? Should one be expected, if gender is unknown, to say, "He or she should probably call his or her recipient of sponsorship to arrange for transportation to the meeting"? No. They should call their sponsee. It's not lazy; it's efficient. This is how language adapts to necessity.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 16, 2011
  14. ribran

    ribran Senior Member

    Austin, Texas
    English - American
    Well, you certainly know how to make an entrance! ;)

    Welcome to the forums, my fellow Austinite. :D
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 16, 2011
  15. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    English - England
    So, I gather you are perhaps leaning towards 'sponsee' as a possibly acceptable word?

    Welcome. :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 16, 2011
  16. Pascalawag

    Pascalawag New Member

    Austin, TX
    English - Texas
    Yes. Perhaps I could have been more concise and unbiased in my argument. I just couldn't help myself.

  17. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    This person had the opposite experience, using sponsee and then finding sponsoree for the first time and it not sitting well.
    At the end, the person decides they're sticking with what seems natural to them, and I think that that's good for them!

    As they correctly point out, if the OED has mentee, probably a back-formation of mentor, and not mentoree, then what's wrong with exactly the same pattern for sponsor?




    Is there any true intrinsic linguistic logic here? Or does it come (again) down to completely idiosyncratic circumstances that can't be argued for based on "logical" morphology of other words?
    I don't think there's anything wrong with sponsee, by the way, those crosses were only for illustration of opinions based in previous posts.

    Putting that point aside - I don't think I've heard sponsee or sponsoree before, so these are just instant judgements, I would have said "person being sponsored" naturally.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2011
  18. grubble

    grubble Senior Member

    South of England, UK
    British English
    Funny, I always thought the word was beneficiary. Or is that just me?
  19. ribran

    ribran Senior Member

    Austin, Texas
    English - American
    Hmm, it rings a bell. ;)
  20. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    American English
    We're here to help each other, so I did.
  21. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    The City of New York
    USA - English
    While the OED may have "mentee", the word is preposterous and illiterate. Unlike such words as "doctor" (which comes from the Latin docere and means "one who teaches") or "factor" (which comes from the Latin facere and means "one who does something"), "mentor" doesn't have a Latin root at all. Instead it is a Greek proper name: Mentor (or Μέντωρ) was the friend to whom Odysseus entrusted the care of his son Telemachus when he went off to the Trojan war. To refer to a role model or a teacher as a "mentor" is like referring to a seductive woman as a "siren", or to a strong man as a "Hercules": it is a direct reference to a person or thing from Greek mythology. Turning "mentor" into "mentee" is as silly as taking the name of "Stentor" of the mighty voice and inventing "stentee" as a word to describe someone who is shouted at.
  22. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    Well, words don't quite work like that, so I'm afraid you're going to have to hold your personal opinions as your own.
    Words that are used become recognised and admitted to the highly prestigious OED on an individual basis and if it gets the stamp of approval from the world's most celebrated lexicographers, then generally it is on its way to proving itself as being a proper word.

    I wonder what reason you'll give for accepting "to mentor" as a verb, given its rich Greek history as a name. After all I don't think you can "Hercules" or "siren" something, but I'm pretty sure you won't have a problem with "mentor someone", so this etymological reasoning being used as evidence for lack of ability for this word to participate in this or/ee pattern falls apart right away. There's nothing wrong with opinions of constructions, but it sort of shows up a lack of understanding about how lexicography works when you make comments like that.

    Is that really how it works for you? If you don't know it then it doesn't exist in English? If it is new to you its actual status in English is changed so it reflects your own personal opinion? Have you ever written in to a newspaper and complained about the state of the language today? Can the physics of your world not accept that someone can know and use this word, and hold even a comparable level of education to you? Is that just not possible? I'm actually thinking that might actually be true for you..
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2011
  23. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    The City of New York
    USA - English
    Words do work like that among educated people, who know what they are talking about when they make allusions to Homer, so your own opinion is just that: your opinion, and nothing more.

    While you make want to argue otherwise, a person who thought that describing a great Professor of biology as a "Jenner" meant that his students were thus "Jennees" would be a boob. In the same way, despite your opinion of how words work, if a politician were described as "a modern Atlee", that would not make his constituents "Atlors".
  24. Pascalawag

    Pascalawag New Member

    Austin, TX
    English - Texas
    Thanks, Copyright. I am indeed quite passionate about the subject. At the risk of compromising my own ...ahem... anonymity, I proudly yet humbly (I try, at least) serve a certain fellowship as both sponsor AND sponsee.

    A brief discourse on the decision by said fellowship to use the word sponsor in lieu of mentor coming soon...

    ...or perhaps never. Mine eyes grow weary. As the scribing hand circumlocutes, so too the hour hand turns. I'll likely forget come morrow.

    Words are fun. =)
  25. Lilijan New Member

    I came across the word 'co-sponsees' and, forgetting I had queried sponsee some time ago checked it here. What a pandoras box! Thank you for everyone who contributed. I think this might be American academic language and who am I to argue? I will simply highlight it for the author. At least they will be aware that I am being diligent.
  26. go_neybee New Member

    I think a beneficiary is someone who benefits from a benefactor. We should have a word for those who receive sponsorship.

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