@DialMforMara I had an idea that I know I am absolutely not qualified to study, so I thought I'd throw it your way. The question is "Do linguists who are generally of a descriptivist attitude become more prescriptivist when dealing with 'problematic' words and phrases?" For example, when people use "retarded" to mean "stupid," or "triggered" to mean "relatively annoyed," are they more likely to say "That's how language is evolving," or will they take a stance on how words "should" be used?
@AdmiralMemo @DialMforMara Similarly not qualified, nor a linguist, but as a general comment on the implicit question: I don't think being descriptivist and wanting people to use certain words in certain ways are incompatible concepts. I *want* people to avoid the word "retarded". I *recognise* that its generally understood meaning is a particular thing whether I like it or not. It's not "wrong", just bad.
The vast majority of linguists I've worked with are interested in promoting diversity in a number of areas, and my extremely unscientific hypothesis is that they would counsel against discriminatory language. But there is also descriptive research into how words become pejorative, especially in the case of words for physical or mental disability. Look up the Euphemism Treadmill.
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