Radboud University produces manual for inclusive language in science

04-05-2023

research & science

The Max Planck Institute in Nijmegen, part of Radboud University, believes that there is too little inclusive language use in science. That is why a committee of the institute is drawing up a manual for ‘inclusive language’, language that everyone feels addressed to. Sign language is also part of it. This is stated in an article on the website of Vox Magazine, a magazine of Radboud University.

Scientists write a lot. Not only scientific books and articles, but they also give lectures and answer e-mails from students and the media. You can achieve a lot with language. That is why they must know how to deal with language. This is necessary to prevent discrimination, for example on the basis of origin or gender. That is why the Max Planck Institute (MPI) is creating a manual for inclusive language for researchers. Director Caroline Rowland of the MPI talks about this on the website Voxweb. The manual can be used in all scientific department such as psychology, linguistics and also neurobiology.

Accessible in sign language

What should change according to Rowland? One of her examples is that sign language speakers should be able to participate in lectures and research in science. The MPI is already making more and more lectures and research material accessible to people who use sign language. Another example is that researchers should describe the gender identity of their subjects more inclusively. That means more options than ‘M/F’.

Why important?

Rowland says that inclusive language in science has two major advantages. The first is that students, teachers and scientists feel valued for being mentioned. ‘This leads to more inclusive research and lectures: all test subjects or all students in the lecture hall are spoken to, regardless of origin or background.’ According to Rowland, the second advantage is that researchers become aware of their unconscious biases that are apparent from their language use.

What is going wrong in scientific language? And isn’t it too much work to make all language inclusive? Read the full article on VOX:


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