On “Person-First Language”: It’s Time to Actually Put the Person First

‘When a language rule—which was created specifically to respect people’s agency and personhood—gets in the way of actually respecting the person in front of you, it’s time to ditch the rule.’

Such a brilliant and enlightening piece!

Radical Copyeditor

Speech bubbles illustrating the difference between "person-first language" and "person-centered language"Full image description.

Language is a tool. It can make our worlds bigger or make them smaller. It can be used to create connection or to cause harm. It can affirm or it can disparage.

When it comes to how we describe marginalized aspects of ourselves or others—things that are perceived as “not normal” by the mainstream—language matters a whole lot, because how we talk or write about ourselves and each other can either affirm the value of diversity and difference, or demean people who are different from the idealized norm.

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22 thoughts on “On “Person-First Language”: It’s Time to Actually Put the Person First

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  1. Yes, language is organic and dynamic, but it should always be respectful to the folks in question. I think people tend to forget that sometimes because they worry about offending/triggering others… or about being seen as “unprogressive”. 😕 Thank you for the insightful read!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Have to agree with everybody here. We seem to think less and speak more these days creating a ruckus with our words. Being respectful is utmost.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for enlightening us. I so agree. In the name of language we discriminate people. Both your AIDS example, calling victims instead of patient and disabled people vs people with disabilities are well received. A amazing read. Love the research you do 😊🌸

    Liked by 1 person

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