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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Language Evolves: A timeline of how terms come and go from the AP Stylebook

Some recent changes in the Associated Press Stylebook have sparked some controversy, especially among people with a political interest in the terminology. I've been involved in one such discussion--about illegal immigration--in a LinkedIn group of editors.

I've also posted blog items about the recent changes:

With a headline noting correctly that "Language Evolves," this article by Zach Dyer for Journalism in the Americas, provides some useful background on AP's process for adding and revising style entries. The article also links to an interactive timeline of selected AP style changes by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas.

Dyer writes:
While the Stylebook dictates the proper placement of a hyphen, it also influences how the media speaks about large groups of people, from those with mental illness to people who enter a country illegally.
Quoting AP Deputy Standards Editor David Minthorn:
We want to avoid labels for people. Often it takes more words to describe an action […] but it’s more precise.
Dyer's article is featured today, April 16, in my daily online paper, Garbl's Style: Write Choices, available at the Editorial Style tab above and by free email subscription.

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