Political Correctness and Language Teaching – Literature review Example

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The paper " Political Correctness and Language Teaching"  is a delightful example of a literature review on education.   According to Crystal (1995), it is challenging to have one definition for the term political correctness. However, according to Cameron (1995), political correctness in language refers to ideas and language that may be offensive to certain group identities such as women and therefore its aim is to provide preferential to these groups. But according to Crystal (1995) political correctness is not only a language but also a behaviour or attitude that is carefully selected to prevent insulting or offending anyone. Consequently, the proponents of politically correct language point out that it has a civilising impact on the society as it discourages people from using words that are regarded as offensive or having negative connotations (Cameron, 1995).

Furthermore, it is perceived as a language that grants respects to individuals who are regarded as unfair stereotypes victims. Therefore, the effect and the purpose of politically correct language are to replace offensive behaviour and prevent bullying and I concur with Crystal, 1995. This essay will highlight examples of political correctness, the implications of political politeness in learning and teaching EFL, the issues involved in teaching based on the needs of the students and different learning contexts. Examples of PC terms in the English language There is political correctness which is associated with sex and includes: Terms such as mail carrier have been used instead of postman or mailman, man-made replaced by synthetic or artificial, the term cleaning person, housecleaner or housekeeper to be used instead of cleaning girl or cleaning lady. Political correctness language associated with different abilities The term deaf replaced with hearing impairment to include individuals with hearing loss which are as a result of accidents as well as other causes.

The term blind replaced with visually impaired while mentally ill to be used in place of crazy/mad/insane. Race and ethnic related examples In the United States of America, the term black was changed to Negroes and blacks again before it later becomes afro-Americans. Afro-American is the term that is presently used with blacks occasionally being used. The term people of colour has been used to refer to non-whites including Africans. The term black has been associated with disparagement thus African American has been used even in circumstances whereby the nationality is unknown. The term Eskimo has been perceived as pejorative to most groups which are Aleut, Inuit and Yupik.

Additionally, the United States of American the term Orientals that is referred to as the eastern(s). These terms have been perceived as pejorative to the group it refers to. Presently, terms such as Korean-American, Asian-American, Japanese-American and Chinese-America. Furthermore, Indians are currently referred to as indigenous people or Native Americans in the United States of America.

Lastly, in Australia, the word Aborigine is not commonly used despite it not being a taboo word. Religious related examples In most circumstances, the term Merry Christmas is replaced with Season’ s Greetings or happy holidays. On company calendars, the term Christmas is usually replaced with winter break, December holiday or winter holiday or using any other term to make the message inclusive to both Christians and non-Christians.


Beard, A. (2004). Language change. London: Routledge

Cameron, D. (1995). "Rethinking Language and Gender Studies: Feminism into the 1990s", in Language and Gender: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, ed. Sara Mills. London: Longman.

Crystal, D. (1995). Political Correctness. London: Wiley.

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