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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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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