Sharing: Editorial Perspective: The use of person-first language in scholarly writing may accentuate stigma – Gernsbacher – 2017 – Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry – Wiley Online Library

Ah… here’s progress…

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How we talk about each other matters

Abstract

Numerous style guides, including those issued by the American Psychological and the American Psychiatric Associations, prescribe that writers use only person-first language so that nouns referring to persons (e.g. children) always precede phrases referring to characteristics (e.g. children with typical development). Person-first language is based on the premise that everyone, regardless of whether they have a disability, is a person-first, and therefore everyone should be referred to with person-first language. However, my analysis of scholarly writing suggests that person-first language is used more frequently to refer to children with disabilities than to refer to children without disabilities; person-first language is more frequently used to refer to children with disabilities than adults with disabilities; and person-first language is most frequently used to refer to children with the most stigmatized disabilities. Therefore, the use of person-first language in scholarly writing may actually accentuate stigma rather than attenuate it. Recommendations are forwarded for language use that may reduce stigma.

The use of person-first language in scholarly writing may accentuate stigma

Person-first language is the structural form in which a noun referring to a person or persons (e.g. person, people, individual, adults, or children) precedes a phrase referring to a disability (e.g. person with a disability, people with blindness, individual with intellectual disabilities, adults with dyslexia, and children with autism). Person-first language contrasts with identity-first language; in identity-first language, the disability, serving as an adjective, precedes the personhood-noun (e.g. disabled person, blind people, intellectually disabled individual, dyslexic adults, and autistic children).

Numerous style guides, including those issued by the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, and the Associated Press, prescribe that writers and speakers use only person-first language and avoid completely identity-first language. For example, the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2010, p. 72) and the American Medical Association Manual of Style (2007, p. 416) explicitly tell writers to ‘put the person first.’

Read the rest: Editorial Perspective: The use of person-first language in scholarly writing may accentuate stigma – Gernsbacher – 2017 – Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry – Wiley Online Library

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