- People-first language
People first language is a
semantictechnique used when discussing disabilities to avoid perceived and subconscious dehumanizationof the people having the disabilities. The basic idea is to replace, e.g., "disabled people" with "people with disabilities", "deaf people" with "people who are deaf", etc., thus emphasizing that they are people first (hence the concept's name) and anything else second. Further, the concept favors the use of "having" rather than "being", e.g. "she has a learning disability" instead of "she is learning-disabled", an example of E-Primelanguage avoiding the verb to be.
The technique is to use the term "person with a disability", putting the
personfirst, rather than "disabled person", which puts the disability first. The word ordering is thought to carry implications about which part of the phrase is more important. Many people with disabilities have expressed unease at being described using person-second terminology, seeing it to devalue them as people, with the implication that the most significant facet of their existence is their disability. Person-first terminology is therefore widely preferred in the discussion of most disabilities.
The rationale behind people-first language is that it recognizes that someone is a person, a human being, or a citizen first, and that the disability is a part, but not all of them. Thus, it asks for one to respect the disabled community as first and foremost a community of people. It is also supposed to confirm the right of the concerned group to define themselves and choose their own name.Since the late 1980s, people-first language has gained considerable acceptance with disabled people as well as professionals working with them or people otherwise interested in the topic. Adherence to the rules of people-first language has become a requirement in some
academic journals. By extension, "people first" is a common part of the names of organizations representing people with disabilities in the United States and internationally.
Person-first terminology is rejected by some disabled people, most commonly
deafand autistic people. People with these two conditions generally see their condition as an important part of their identity, and so prefer to be described as "deaf people" and either "autistics" [ [http://autismaspergerssyndrome.suite101.com/article.cfm/personfirst_language_and_autism Sarah Tennant, Person-First Language and Autism: Neurodiversity and the Prejudice of Politically Correct Terminology] ] or "autistic people" rather than "people with deafness" and "people with autism". In a reversal of the rationale for person-first terminology, these people see person-first terminology as devaluing an important part of their identity and falsely suggesting that there is, somewhere in them, a person distinct from their condition. Notably, these two conditions have extensive effects on language use, leading to significant subcultures, the deaf community and the autistic community. These features are not shared with most other conditions that are commonly considered disabilities. Some people with these conditions do not consider them disabilities, but rather traits.
Critics have also objected that people-first language is awkward, repetitive and makes for tiresome writing and reading.Fact|date=May 2008 C. Edwin Vaughan, a sociologist and longtime activist for the blind, argues that since "in common usage positive pronouns usually precede nouns", "the awkwardness of the preferred language focuses on the disability in a new and potentially negative way". Thus, according to Vaughan, it only serves to "focus on disability in an ungainly new way" and "calls attention to a person as having some type of 'marred identity'" in terms of
Erving Goffman's theory of identity. [http://www.blind.net/bpg00006.htm]
Examples of people-first language
* [http://www.disabilityisnatural.com/peoplefirstlanguage.htm Disability is Natural]
*Jan La Forge: "Preferred language practice in professional rehabilitation journals." The Journal of Rehabilitation, 57 (1):49-51. (January, February, March)
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
people-first language — noun politically correct language referring to disabilities by avoiding adjectives or the copula. people first language, which refers to the person first and the disability second: Americans with disabilities, for example, rather than disabled… … Wiktionary
People First — The phrase people first occurs in various political contexts, broadly indicating the intention to focus on the needs of concrete human beings (either as individuals or as a group), as opposed to interests or circumstances supposedly indifferent… … Wikipedia
first language — noun count 1. ) the first language that you learn to speak: NATIVE LANGUAGE 2. ) the main language that people speak in a region or country … Usage of the words and phrases in modern English
First language — The monument for the Mother tongue in Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan Mother tongue redirects here. For other uses, see Mother tongue (disambiguation). Native speaker redirects here. For the novel, see Native Speaker. A first language (also native… … Wikipedia
first language — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms first language : singular first language plural first languages linguistics 1) the first language that you learn to speak 2) the main language that people speak in a region or country … English dictionary
ˌfirst ˈlanguage — noun [C] 1) the first language that you learn to speak 2) the main language that people speak in a region or country … Dictionary for writing and speaking English
Language education — Language Teaching redirects here. For the journal, see Language Teaching (journal). Linguistics … Wikipedia
Language attrition — is the loss of a first or second language or a portion of that language by individuals; it should be distinguished from language loss within a community (the latter process is referred to as language shift or language death). Language attrition… … Wikipedia
Language development — is a process that starts early in human life, when a person begins to acquire language by learning it as it is spoken and by mimicry. Children s language development moves from simplicity to complexity. Infants start without language. Yet by four … Wikipedia
Language shift — Language shift, sometimes referred to as language transfer or language replacement or assimilation, is the progressive process whereby a speech community of a language shifts to speaking another language. The rate of assimilation is the… … Wikipedia