March 23, 2023 at 11:44 a.m.

Wake, Woke, Woken

Dear Editor,
The now generally accepted use of the term WOKE in society bothers me as a linguist. I WOKE up this morning (verb, simple past tense), but I was not WOKEN by anyone (past participle), and I WAKE up each day in the same way (simple present tense). In WAKING (present participle), I am thereafter AWAKE (adjective). To describe anyone as WOKE, is grammatically unacceptable, since WOKE is not an adjective, but the past tense verb form.
Now if we analyse this situation more completely, ignoring the grammatical reasoning, concentrating only on the literal meaning of WOKE as being AWAKE, assuming its present day use as an adjective reflects grammatical ignorance, we must interpret it by reference to its synonyms: ALERT, INFORMED, ENLIGHTENED, SENSIBLE, COGNIZANT, etc. I remember an expression used where I grew up in Australia, "I'm awake-up to you!" meaning the speaker was "onto" whoever was trying to "put one over on them".
Applying this to the use of WOKE, we must assume that if accused of being WOKE, we should take it as a compliment, since it means we are indeed superior to the opposite: being asleep, ignorant and unaware of what is being put over on society at large.
Kay Ziegahn
Richland Center, WI