Political Correctness

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Political Correctness (PC)

  • Seeks to reduce and remove the offence that language can cause to particular individuals...
  • ...through prejudice and discrimination
  • Language can play a large part in causing offence and reinforcing inequality

The History

  • Emerged in 1970s America and shared ground with the feminist movement
  • Gender representation was initially its main focus
  • Its profile only grew and its influence spread to the UK
  • By the early 1990s it was being used to make language neutral, and any issues of representation in social groupings was being taken into consideration
  • PC was heavily satirised and by the late 1990s the term had lost much of its credibility

Swift and Miller

  • Noted the absence of a non-gender-marked, third person, singular pronoun
  • This resulted in the masculine form being used for everybody
  • E.g. "every student must bring a pen to his examination"
  • Swift and Miller created pronouns that could refer to either gender - "tey", "ter" and "tem"
  • These essentially took the structure of the existing…


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