Hard cover of the AHD on abstract blue background.Conscious Language in The American Heritage Dictionary | Conscious Style Guide

It’s a weird moment to be a lexicographer. Chronicling a living language will always, by definition, be a work in progress, but digital tools and an ever-faster news cycle now offer a bigger corpus to mine for words, while the popularity of dictionary sites and apps creates a steady stream of data about what people want to know about language.
In the middle of the swirling tides of language change, you’ll find Steve Kleinedler….

The “R-Word” in the Age of Trump | NPR Code Switch

The word “racist” addresses the “historical context of the behavior, the thoughts, the actions. Right? If you want to signal the connection to that historical behavior, you use the word.”
—Phillip Goff, president of the Center for Policing Equity

Is It OK to Swear in Front of Your Kids? Experts Weigh In | Romper

“Swearing has become a feminist act” and can be a teachable moment.

Here’s Why Most Newspapers and TV Stations Aren’t Censoring Trump’s Vulgar Language | The Washington Post

“Such a comment made by the president, especially in front of several witnesses, is newsworthy…It was incumbent on media outlets to present what he said without expurgation or euphemization.” —Ben Zimmer, lexicographer and Wall Street Journal language columnist

A Linguist Explains Why It’s Okay to Say “Um” and “Uh” | Quartz

We use filler words like “um” and “uh” because “in the high-speed to-and-fro of conversation, going silent won’t work.”

TV Depictions of Disability Have Come a Long Way | BuzzFeed

From the editor’s note to the conclusion, this is a thoughtful article on past and current inclusion, representation, and depiction of disability on TV shows.

Prize Launched for Thrillers That Avoid Sexual Violence Against Women | The Guardian

“How we see women depicted and treated in fiction does spread out to the wider world and how women are treated there.”

Real Heroes Have the Guts to Admit They’re Wrong | Wired

“If we want to fight the power of self-delusion, we need tales of honesty. We should find and loudly laud the awesome folks who have done the painful work of admitting error.”

Healthy Masculinity: 14 Books About Gentle Boys | Book Riot

It’s a lot harder to assault women or take away the rights of transgender people when you have empathized with their full humanity. Boys (and also, everyone else) must read books as windows into the lives of others.

It’s Time to Rethink the Term “LGBTIQA+” | The Wire

“The term ‘LGBTI’ combines sexuality (lesbian, gay, bisexual) with gender identity (trans) and gender characteristics (intersex).”

I Spent Two Years Trying to Fix the Gender Imbalance in My Stories | The Atlantic

“Finding diverse sources, and tracking them, takes time, but not that much time. I reckon it adds 15 minutes per piece, or an hour or so of effort over a week.”

Debate: Why a Test Used to Spot Gender Bias in Science Reports Can Be Myopic | The Wire

“Talking about successful women scientists without also discussing what is needed to fall into place for them could ring hollow—whereas the Finkbeiner test seeks to eliminate just such supposedly miscellaneous information.”

DC Episcopal Diocese Scraps “Gendered Language” for God, Opens Activities Based on Gender ID | The Christian Post

The Episcopal Diocese of Washington, D.C., resolved “to utilize expansive language for God from the rich sources of feminine, masculine, and non-binary imagery for God found in Scripture and tradition and, when possible, to avoid the use of gendered pronouns for God.”

Iva Cheung Talks About Plain Language, Accessibility, and Cartooning | CMOS Shop Talk

“Plain language doesn’t just help convey information; it can dramatically change how a person feels about that information.” —Iva Cheung, Certified Professional Editor specializing in plain-language editing

The Conscious Style Guide newsletter rounds up the best news and blog posts from the world of kind, compassionate, mindful, empowering, respectful, and inclusive language. Note: Spotlighting an opinion is not intended as an endorsement. Please send news tips to love@consciousstyleguide.com.

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