[Ads-l] "Person experiencing homelessness" (and a digression about "person with albinism"); was Re: Heard on TV: _a homeless_ "a homeless person"

Stanton McCandlish smccandlish at GMAIL.COM
Sun Dec 8 15:21:31 EST 2019


I've encountered "a homeless", and plural/mass use of it ("there's a bunch
of homeless on the corner") here and there, but generally not in writing.
It's more of a vernacular thing. I think the cartoons are reflecting that
usage not inventing it.

A countervailing usage is the euphemism "person[s]/people/individual[s]
experiencing homelessness", which I see very frequently in one of those
minor variations in materials created with the last few years by
homelessness-focused organizations and agencies, as if they have some kind
of mini-stylebook they're sharing that has agreed on this clumsy but
well-meaning phrase.  Like "differently abled", "financially challenged",
"gender-identity questioning", and so many other such clumsy locutions, it
appears to be allyspeak and isn't what someone described by the term would
normally use.  There are some cusp cases, in which a wordy politically
correct construction starts being adopted by its subjects, e.g. "persons
with albinism" which was almost unknown a decade ago, but is regularly in
use now by albinistic people (the more common euphemism) on webboards
devoted to discussion of the condition.  And, no, I haven't run into anyone
being called "an albinistic" or "those albinistics".  Heh.  (As some
background on that digression: "albino" is increasingly thought both to be
inappropriate for humans as the subject, like "Oriental", and to be too
often used in a condescending or even more negative way, like "Negro" and
"Chinaman".)


On Fri, Dec 6, 2019 at 9:43 PM Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:

> Subject line of a spam😜:
> Date _a mature_!
>
> On Wed, Aug 10, 2016 at 11:06 PM Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > only in shows on Adult Swim shows.
> >
> > American Dad:
> >
> > "Yes, I was robbed by _a homeless_."
> >
> > Squidbillies:
> >
> > "Let's go down to the park and set _a homeless_ on fire."
> >
> >
> > That really sounds bizarre to me. Does it occur in reality?
> >
> > --
> > -Wilson
> > -----
> > All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
> > come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> > -Mark Twain
> >
> >
>
> --
> -Wilson
> -----
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> -Mark Twain
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>

------------------------------------------------------------
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


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