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I have a disability, but I’m not disabled

As an international student from the United Kingdom, I am no stranger to familiarising myself with the subtleties of language that differentiate my native tongue from that of the United States. In addition to the “chips” or “fries” conundrum and “pavement” versus “sidewalk” debate, I have recently become aware of another linguistic nuance that appears to carry much greater significance: person-first language. A phenomenon that has not yet reached the UK with such widespread impact as it has in the US, person-first language is a type of linguistic prescription linked largely to the disability community which seeks, as far as possible, to place the person before their diagnosis or impairment. For example, in this framework it would be preferable to use “persons with disabilities” over “disabled people”.