inclusive language, linguistic anthropology

The double bind of correcting unconscious demotions

Just last week, a study came out showing that women are much more likely to use men’s professional titles in introductions than the other way around. And an earlier study shows the clear importance of using professional titles in the same context, so this is hardly a trivial concern.

How should we respond when someone doesn’t use a title for us, or uses the wrong one? It’s more challenging than it seems. When it happens to me, I don’t want to seem uptight or like I care overmuch about titles and formalities — but I also don’t want to condone a pattern that contributes to persistent inequality.

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inclusive language, linguistic anthropology

Let’s stop demonizing “filler words”

A few days ago, the New York Times published an article by Christopher Mele about so-called “filler words,” telling people to stop using them. Reporting on language often frustrates me, and this was no exception. In fact, thirty-odd linguists — including me — sent them a letter detailing our many concerns with this article. In particular, the article makes two major mistakes: Continue reading

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