language links, ling-anth links

Language links 7/17: banal sexism and small words for inclusion

Every Monday, I share some of what I’ve been reading in the past week.

Person-centered language is fantastic, but it’s not the end-all and be-all: you still have to actually center the person.

Linguistic analysis is offering some promising ways to improve workplace inclusion. And speaking of small ways you can include more folks with just a few words…

I was fascinated to read the life story of a crusader for Ms. as a title.

Deborah Cameron, on banal sexism: “That’s why statements like ‘lovely day today’ are almost invariably met with agreement: ‘Yes, beautiful!’ It would be odd to respond with something like ‘well actually it’s two degrees below the mean temperature for mid-July’. That might be an impressive demonstration of your meteorological knowledge, but it would also reveal your social incompetence, since you’d have missed the whole point of a phatic exchange. It’s the same with banal sexism: challenging the proposition (‘well, actually studies show that men talk more than women in most situations’) will be seen as a peculiar and hostile act. It’s especially hard to challenge a joke, because no one wants to be accused of lacking a sense of humour.”



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