Measuring political correctness

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Measuring political correctness

Postby Richard » 26 Jan 2021 12:32

In the lesson on grammar, David showed how 'handicapped' had become replaced by 'disabled' due to the influence of political correctness. Can you think of other pairs of words where their relative frequency has changed within the last 50 years because of political correctness? Does Google Ngrams confirm your intuitions?
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Re: Measuring political correctness

Postby Hari » 29 Jan 2021 14:18

Chairman has been declining in its use and replaced by chairperson, a gender-neutral term, initiated by the feminist who demanded similar right between men and women. Google Ngram Viewer shows a significant decline of the use of chairperson from 0.00461...%in 1970's into 0.000642...% in 2019.
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Re: Measuring political correctness

Postby Amme Bantawan » 02 Feb 2021 13:11

I would propose these words 'humanity' and 'mandkind'. The word 'mankind' is not a gender-neutral term if the word refers to both male and female.
Instead, mankind is replaced by humanity staring from 1982 and it seems likely to be more gender-neutral. ;)
Google Ngram Viewer confirmed that the frequency use of humanity has risen significantly at 0.002409..% in comparing to 'mankind' at 0.001046..% in 2018.
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Re: Measuring political correctness

Postby stevelouw » 08 Feb 2021 17:18

When I was growing up we used the word 'retarded' to describe just about anything that was out of the ordinary. Jim's mother was retarded for telling him to go home before 5 because he had to bath. That word is now illegal for the reasons of political correctness, for the good, I am sure. But I don't know what has replaced it - for a while there was '* challenged' (learning challenged, behaviorally challenged, socially challenged, hand-eye-coordination challenged?), but Jim's mother can't really be described as maternally challenged with the same scornful finesse.

Interestingly, the N-gram for 'retarded' shows a spike in its use in the 1970s, when I was using this word with gay abandon (can I say that?). Maybe I contributed to its demise through overusing it with such undiscriminated fanaticism. I'd love to know what the youngsters of today say to disparage Jim's mother.
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Re: Measuring political correctness

Postby Richard » 09 Feb 2021 06:13

On the topic of "intellectual disability" (the current formal term approved by the US government replacing "mentally retarded" in 2010), my favourite is "feeble-minded" - very popular between 1900 and 1940 when it was the official term in psychology, sadly replaced by "moron"!
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Re: Measuring political correctness

Postby sgtowns » 11 Feb 2021 14:12

stevelouw wrote: I'd love to know what the youngsters of today say to disparage Jim's mother.

Probably not things that should be repeated in a family-friendly forum such as this one. But it is an interesting question. I was trying to figure out what might have replaced "retard" and "retarded", and I see that the following somewhat similar words have all risen in use:

while retard+retarded is the only one that has dropped in use. So either we are being more PC, or we just have a lot more stupidity in the world....

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