Izvestiya of Saratov University.

Philology. Journalism

ISSN 1817-7115 (Print)
ISSN 2541-898X (Online)

Full text PDF(Ru):
Article type: 

Linguistic features of American political correctness on the example of the implementation of the “People First” trend in modern English

Balashova Elena Yurievna, Saratov State Law Academy
Belyaev Alexander S., Saratov State Law Academy
Lazovskaya Natalia V., Saratov State Law Academy

Political correctness is one of the key values of the American society that characterizes the distinguishing features of the national mentality. The ideas of political correctness are quite vividly represented in American English at the lexical, syntactic and communicative levels. The authors attempt to study the language implementation of the “People First” trend that emerged in the United States in the early 1990s, using the example of transformations in the fi eld of medical terminology. Eliminating discrimination against people with physical and mental disabilities, rejecting expressions backed by negative stereotypes, are the main goals of the “People First” trend. The authors have analysed the background and history of this trend, and also described the lexical and syntactic features of euphemisms, which are the main tool of political correctness. An analysis of the materials of the meetings of the Commission on the Psychological Problems of Disability of the American Psychological Association made it possible to determine the list of the most “challenging” wordings and their “desirable” variants and to determine the peculiarities of lexical euphemization and complementary syntactic modifi cations. The study of political correctness as a social, cultural and linguistic phenomenon is relevant for modern linguistics and cultural linguistics, as it allows to get an idea of the English speakers’ mentality and world representation. The purpose of the paper is to describe linguistic features of euphemisms within the framework of medical terminology that appeared with the development of the “People First” trend, taking into account the recommendations of activists, doctors and psychologists. The use of methods of structural-syntactic, contextual, component, lexico-semantic analysis, as well as the method of continuous and cluster sampling made it possible to identify the special features of the implementation of the studied trend in language, culture and modern communication.


1. Киселева А. С. Функционирование эвфемизмов в современном английском военно-политическомдискурсе (структурно-семантический и прагматический аспекты) : дис. ... канд. филол. наук. М., 2015. 240 с.

2. Ashcroft L., Anthony W. A. Tools for transforming language. Behavioral Healthcare. 2006. URL: http://www.behavioral.net/article/tools-transforming-1anguage (дата обращения: 27.08.2021).

3. Blaska J. The power of language: Speak and write using “person-fi rst” // Perspectives on disabilities / ed. By M. Nagler. 2nd ed. Palo Alto, CA : Health Markets Research, 1993. P. 25–32.

4. Mayerson A. The history of the ADA: A movement perspective. 1992. URL: https://dredf.org/about-us/publications/the-history-of-the-ada/ (дата обращения: 27.08.2021).

5. Back L. T. A framework of language use in reference to people with disabilities: People-first, disabilityimplicit, and disability-fi rst language in a school setting (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Chicago : DePaul University, 2010. URL: http://via.library.depaul.edu/etd/69 (дата обращения: 27.08.2021).

6. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. 4th ed. American Psychological Association. Washington D.C., 1994. 368 p.

7. Burris R. W. Manual of style for depicting people with disabilities [Brochure]. Chicago, Ill., 1992. 180 p.

8. Craig C. Describing persons with disabilities ‘‘to a T’’ // Kennedy Center News. 1992. Vol. 18, iss. 3. P. 3–120.

9. Executive Act on Intellectual Disabilities. URL: https://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2003/07/200307... (дата обращения: 27.08.2021).

10. American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD). URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Association_on_Intellectual_and_D... (дата обращения: 27.08.2021).

11. Guth L. J., Murphy L. People fi rst language in middle and high schools: Usability and readability // The Clearing House. 1998. Vol. 72, iss. 2. P. 115–117.

12. Committee on Disability Issues in Psychology // Removing bias in language disabilities: Guidelines for non-handicapping language in APA journals. 1992. URL: http://www.apastyle.org/disabilities.html (дата обращения: 27.08.2021).

13. Leslie B. G. A History of the English Language. London : Andre Deutsch, 1963. 582 p.

14. Brook G. L. Varieties of English. London : Macmillan, 1974. 230 p.

15. Horsfall J., Cleary M., Hunt G. E. Stigma in mental health: Clients and professionals // Issues in Mental Health Nursing. 2010. № 31. P. 450–455.

Available online: