Sunday, November 4, 2007

A Note on Language

In my last post, you may have noticed an alternate spelling of the word "human." This spelling ("humyn") was intentional, and will persist throughout my writings here. I believe that language matters greatly; the words we use both expose our perspectives and thought patterns and also do a great deal to shape those perspectives and thought patterns. Because I believe that equitable representation of all groups in society is an important goal, I try to frame my language inclusively. Thus, I avoid using generic masculine words. Additionally, I avoid the spelling "human," since it again seems to imply a totalizing masculinity over all of humynity. The exception is when I am quoting someone else, in which case I quote them as accurately as possible so that one can observe the thought processes behind their discourse without my own intervention. If you want to learn more about gender-neutral language, a good start, as always, is the Wikipedia article (you can use the links they provide for a great deal of additional research).

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