On Inclusive Language

During these past years, I have had the honor to serve as a Specialty Chief Editor for the Humanities section of the European Scientific Journal (ESJ), and more recently, I have also been included in the editorial staff of the International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Culture (LLC) as Associate Editor. In the past years, I have also reviewed an enormous amount of articles for many different journals that publish diverse themes and subjects around the world. All of these extremely exciting activities have given me the possibility to come across and read a large number of papers. I must say, with profound sadness that I still see much too much non-inclusive language. Coherently, I felt the need to use my blog to further stress the importance of being particularly aware of the language we use, especially in an academic context like the one we live in, in that it should serve as an example for all others.

What is inclusive language?

Any language that treats people unfairly, insults, or excludes a person or group of persons is non-inclusive language (from https://www.vercidagroup.com/). On the contrary, inclusive language demonstrates awareness of the vast diversity of people in the world. Inclusive expressions don’t presume to know someone’s gender or imply biased or prejudiced ideas. Whether that’s in relation to ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, or any other personal characteristic. Using inclusive language offers respect and belonging to all people — so it’s about more than just avoiding offensive language (from https://medium.com/diversity-together).

What can we do?

We should all know and remember that paper selection and review process have changed dramatically during the past years. In order for us to be effective writers/reviewers and diversity practitioners, we need to stay abreast of new words, concepts, and trends that impact our work, and we should learn to use the right language in every situation. The way we live, work, and feel has changed during these past years, and so has language. Commonplace expressions of the past may once have been acceptable but in the modern day are offensive.  When we write, sometimes we need to address gender, culture, religion, race, and many many other themes that might represent pitfalls in terms of inclusive language use. However, just like every language, inclusive language is structured on rules and frameworks that we can learn and apply when we write, review/revise a paper. So, please let’s always

  • Put the accent on the person
  • Use gender neutral grammar and statements
  • Avoid phrases with racist, underrepresented, ethnic or cultural offensive meaning
  • Avoid mental health language and derogatory terms
  • Avoid terms or phrases related to disability or diseases in general that might include non-respectful language
  • Use religion neutral statements with all their correlates.


More importantly, let’s learn to think ‘inclusively’ before we write, review/revise, speak. Let’s always learn to consider that when we write, review/revise, speak, we might be negatively connoting a person’s diversity.

Franca Daniele

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