1

Some people use "inaugural speech" instead of maiden speech. For example, from the Twitter account of the Australian Sex Party:

From one year ago, the Inaugural Speech of @FionaPattenMLC http://fionapatten.com/parliament-item/fiona-patten-inaugural-speech/ … #SpringSt

Looking at Google NGrams for British English (presumably more relevant than US English for Westminster Parliamentary systems), I can see that "maiden speech" is on the decline, and "inaugural speech" is on the rise.

Some conservatives suspect it's because "maiden speech" is regarded as politically incorrect. How political correctness threatens Australian culture claims as an example of political correctness "A member of parliament's maiden speech is now called their "first speech"" and Paul Fletcher's blog post on his maiden speech says "Being something of a traditionalist, I referred to it as my “Maiden Speech” even though this is now thought to be somewhat politically incorrect. Apparently the preferred term is the rather more prosaic “First Speech”."

Is this suspicion true? Is "maiden speech" regarded as politically incorrect?

  • 1
    Searching parliament.uk I find 4437 hits for "maiden speech", against only 98 for "inaugural speech". It seems to be a fairly smart search, in that the latter automatically included hits for "inauguration speech". But more tellingly, apart from a reference to Churchill's inaugural speech, all the others seem to be references to various foreign presidents, not British MPs. Which doesn't surprise me, since I don't think they mean the same thing anyway (a maiden speech could be given months or years after "taking office"). – FumbleFingers Feb 11 '16 at 12:35
  • 1
    I've never heard the phrase "maiden speech". Maiden voyage OTOH... This American finds it easier to imagine a ship as a maiden than Churchill as a maiden. :) – TRomano Feb 11 '16 at 12:45
  • 2
    An "inaugural" speech is not a maiden speech. That said, there's no politically correct substitute for maiden speech that I know of yet. One could do with debut speech, perhaps, which again suffers from the same problem as inaugural speech. – Kris Feb 11 '16 at 13:22
  • 1
    @Kris: I know it exists. I said I've never heard it. – TRomano Feb 11 '16 at 13:41
  • 1
    @thb what does my question have to do with Marxism? – Andrew Grimm Apr 13 '16 at 0:03
1

An "inaugural" speech is not a maiden speech. That said, there's no politically correct substitute for "maiden speech" that I know of yet. One could do with "debut speech," perhaps, which again suffers from the same problem as inaugural speech.

(c-span August 13, 2015)

Bernie Sanders' debut speech to congress: Topics covered in his first speech as a house representative include: single-payer healthcare, income inequality, and infrastructure jobs

[emphasis mine]

But then,
(reddit Jan 21, 2016)

She gained national visibility as John McCain's running mate in the 2008 presidential election. Her debut came during a speech in which she effectively shredded Obama and seemed to really throw him off his game for a week or two.

Following the debut speech, the Democrats and their allies in the media seemed to make it their top priority to personally destroy her.

and
(Intellectual Conservative Feb 22, 2015)

The Republican Party has an embarrassment of riches in good prospective presidential contenders for next year’s race. Thus Gov. Jeb Bush’s debut speech — on February 4th, in Detroit, the start of of his “Right To Rise” tour — took on heightened importance.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.