Sex, Gender and Pronouns: Using the Correct Pronouns for Inclusiveness
In the U.S. presidential election this month, the first openly transgender woman, Sarah McBride, won a seat in the Delaware State Senate. It’s a milestone for diversity and one that has an impact on our work as writers and editors. Striving to ensure the equality of men and women in professional writing is not new […]
Emergency Linguistics: The Translation of Public Health Information in Emergency Situations
Every act of communication is an act of translation. Gregory Rabassa, translator of Spanish and Portuguese fiction The translation of public health information is critical in emergency situations, particularly in a country like Canada that welcomes thousands of immigrants every year whose mother tongue is not English or French. A new discipline has been proposed, […]
The Language of Political Commentary: From Nadir to Zenith
Jean-Paul Sartre, author of Huis Clos, wrote L’enfer, c’est les autres (Hell is other people). Maybe that’s true in a pandemic. However, in this period of social distancing and self-isolation, we still have the luxury of reading. In particular, I’m rereading the excellent book titled The Mother Tongue – English and How It Got That […]
The Singular “They” — Conjugations and Some Particularities
Conjugating the singular “they” Gender-neutral writing is fairly new. The Canadian government started using the terms “gender” or “gender identity” when referring to a person’s sex (unless referring to anatomical characteristics related to reproduction or development) in Canadian legislation in 2017. Most writers in Canada already avoid using “he” and “his” because readers understand these […]
Survey of Canadianisms
These days, language professionals in Canada are starting to turn to the online Oxford English Dictionary (OED) or other reference books to replace the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, which is now 15 years old and not likely to be re-edited. An interesting initiative has been started at the University of Toronto by Sali Tagliamonte, professor and […]
The Demise of a Dictionary: Is the Canadian Oxford Dictionary a Victim of its Own Success?
The second and possibly last edition of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary was published in 2004. Why hasn't the Oxford University Press published a new edition in 15 years? There isn’t an up-to-date Canadian dictionary in print.