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A Study on the Effectiveness of People-First Language

Melissa GomesDownload this article

University of Georgia

 

Abstract

People-First Language (PFL) is a form of inclusive language that attempts to prioritize people’s humanity over their disability by literally putting “people” first. For example, in accordance to PFL one would say “a person with autism” rather than “an autistic person”. However, there is a great deal of debate surrounding the effectiveness of People-First Language. In order to get at the question of effectiveness, I conducted a study in which participants judged the inclusivity of passages on a scale of 1-10. I chose passages related to disabilities and recreated a people-first (PF) version and a non-people-first (NPF) version of the same passages in order to determine whether the use of PFL made any difference on the inclusivity judgments of the participants. Findings suggest that without previous knowledge of PFL, it has no effect on perceived inclusivity.

 

Proceedings of the 4th Annual Linguistics Conference at UGA: 1–19

Published June 3, 2018

 

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