language links, ling-anth links

Language links 8/21

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


Two of my colleagues thoughtfully take down the claim that political correctness is to blame for America’s woes: “What might appear to be a respectful debate that includes a diversity of opinions can in fact serve to reproduce systemic racism. After all, freedom of speech was inscribed into the US Constitution in concert with the displacement and genocide of indigenous populations and the continued reliance on slavery to build the economy of the newly formed nation-state. One could imagine during this time period, two property-owning white men—the normative political subjects whose rights the constitution was designed to endow and protect—respectfully debating the merits of slavery before shaking hands and going their separate ways.”

 

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language links, ling-anth links

Language links 8/14: language limericks and women in STEM

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


Drop everything and read Merriam-Webster’s amazing usage limericks. My favorite (with a teeny-tiny edit for the sake of scansion):

If you’re a stickler for grammar, prepare
to be irked by the singular their
Tho it seems a mistake
The position we take
Is if the word’s in use we don’t care

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inclusive language, methods

The bonuses of singular ‘they’: anonymity and bias avoidance

I love singular ‘they’. Back in 2016, the American Dialect Society named it word of the year. And we all use it all the time. But that’s not why I’m so excited about it right now. I’m excited because it can help researchers, particularly if they’re working with qualitative data and thus with very small samples.

How so? Singular ‘they’ can help us anonymize our data.

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