2024 Student Research Conference:
37th Annual Student Research Conference

Semantics of Disability in Public Content: Comparing the Writing Choices in Top Online Articles Across Different Conditions and Disabilities

Kathryn G. George
Dr. Amber Johnson, Faculty Mentor

Despite identity-first language (IFL) vs. person-first language (PFL) being a prominent debate in the autistic community, current literature does not cover usage rates of these two phrase constructions within nonacademic content. Furthermore, literature rarely acknowledges this distinction beyond a handful of conditions. What differences or a lack thereof exist between the linguistic representations of different disabilities and conditions in public information? This study provides an exploratory analysis of fifteen online articles for eight different conditions and disabilities. As anticipated, the conditions strongly correlated with noun and adjective construction usage rates. Other linguistic choices measured, beyond IFL and PFL, included prevalence of “child,” “you,” mentions of affected persons, and mentions of the condition. This additional analysis produced intrigue for future research on source type, assumed readership, and age stereotyping, as well as a new variable akin to IFL/PFL: mentions of affected persons per mentions of condition. 


Keywords: Disability, IFL, PFL, Language, Representation, Online, Internet, Illness

Disability Studies

Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

Session: 407-4
Location: MG 1098
Time: 2:45

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