LINGUIST List 7.594

Mon Apr 22 1996

Sum: Bias-Free/Non-Discriminatory Language

Editor for this issue: Ann Dizdar <>


  1. "GREIL TANJA", Sum: Bias-Free/Non-Discriminatory Language

Message 1: Sum: Bias-Free/Non-Discriminatory Language

Date: Mon, 22 Apr 1996 10:27:10 EST
From: "GREIL TANJA" <>
Subject: Sum: Bias-Free/Non-Discriminatory Language

Thanks to all who responded to my query about research/resources on
"Bias- Free or Non-Discriminatory Usage in (American) English":

Maryann Corbett
Peter Daniels
Anthea Fraser Gupta
Christopher David Hall
James P Kirchner
Laura L. Koenig "CHUCK::KOENIG"
M. Lynne Murphy
Ana E Parrondo
Laura Catharine Smith
James Vanden Bosch

Maryann Corbett recommended not to neglect large, nationally used
thesauri such as the ERIC thesaurus in my research as much of the
information on bias-free language is made implicit in them. She also
mentioned the works of Rosalie Maggio:

- Maggio, Rosalie. 1991. The Dictionary of Bias-Free Usage: A Guide
 to Nondiscriminatory Language. Boston.
- Maggio, Rosalie. 1992. The Bias-Free Word Finder: A Dictionary of
 Non-Discriminatory Language. Boston.

Peter Daniels mentioned the style sheet of the LSA, which is printed
in its Bulletin once a year - including detailed instructions on
composing sentences: e.g. use equal numbers of male and female names

Anthea Fraser Gupta informed me that the Open University, Milton
Keynes, UK, have such guidelines: "An Equal Opportunities Guide to
Language and Image" 1993, which includes a checklist of terms to avoid
and alternatives.

Christopher David Hall mentioned the "University of Kentucky Language
Guidelines" which were issued a couple of years ago.

James Kirchner informed me about a study done by the US Department of
Commerce in order to find out what group designations various US
minorities preferred to be called by.
Guides to "nonsexist usage" are not frequently used according to
James Kirchner, but the most useful elements of them have been
incorporated into ordinary publishers' style manuals (e.g. Scott
Foresman Handbook for Writers, St. Martins Handbook, Associated
Press Styleguide, Libel Manual). "It might be interesting to compare
various editions of style manuals of this type over the years."
Moreover, he is looking for "Guidelines in Non-Sexist Selling" in the
automotive industry ...

Laura L. Koenig mentioned the Turabian's Guide suggested by the CUNY
Graduate School and the 4th edition of the "Publication Manual of the
American Psychological Association (APA)" which includes a section
"Guidelines to Reduce Bias in Language" (46-60).

M. Lynne Murphy sent me some of her papers on language prescription
and social labels:
- "Ignorance and Prescriptivism: Group Names in Cross-Cultural
 Perspective", American Dialect Society Panel, 1995 NCTE
 Convention, 17 Nov 1995, San Diego, California.
- "The Elusive Bisexual: Social Categorization and Lexico-semantic
 Change"(MS) [parts of which to appear in Kira Hall and Anna Livia
 (eds.), Queerly Phrased. Oxford, Sept 1996], 31 pp.
- "Defining Racial Labels: Problems and Promise in American
 Dictionaries". In: Dictionaries 13 (1991), 43-64.

Ana Parrondo mentioned some guidelines issued by the BBC for the
production of TV and radio programmes in which they specifically
address the issue of what words should be avoided.

Laura C. Smith mentioned the style sheet of the Canadian Linguistic
Association including guidelines on bias-free language.

Finally, James Vanden Bosch mentioned "A Bias-Free Guide to American
English", published in the USA.

In addition to the references mentioned above a (highly selective)
list of "guidelines" and related issues follows:

- Schwartz, Marilyn. 1995. Guidelines for Bias-Free Writing.
- International Association of Business Communicators. ^21982.
 Without Bias: A Guidebook for Nondiscriminatory Communication.
 San Francisco.
- Pauwels, Anne. 1991. Non-Discriminatory Language.
- Hellinger, Marlis. 1990. Kontrastive Feministische Linguistik:
 Mechanismen sprachlicher Diskriminierung im Englischen und
 Deutschen. Ismaning.
- Frank, Francine W./Paula A. Treichler (eds.). 1989. Gender,
 Language, and Professional Writing: Theoretical Approaches and
 Guidelines for Nonsexist Usage. New York. [references!].

Tanja Greil
Dept. of Linguistics
University of Passau
94030 Passau

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