Person-first language in other languages


#1

“Autistic person” and “person with autism” is an argument that has been running since the late 1980s when advocacy groups in the United States sought to alter the way we understand people with disabilities by shaping the way we use language.

However, this debate only applies to English, surely, where we have the grammar rules that make this possible. How do other languages that don’t have the ability to change “with autism” to “autistic” etc. talk about autism? Are there any similar debates?


#2

Not being bilingual I don’t have much knowledge of this, but I do know that “Autist” is a noun in German - it occasionally is used in English as well, but much less commonly, whereas I’ve seen it used (offensively) in a German film so is presumably in common usage. A cursory Google search reveals a fair number of results for Autist and autistisch (the adjective form), and a few for “hat Autismus” (“has Autism”) - all of which are in reference to people’s children, for what that’s worth.


#3

I’m not sure about it in another language, however I personally don’t mind. I use both person and autism first language depending on what I’m needing to emphasise in different contexts.


#4

Me too, although I strongly prefer person-first - but there’s no person-first alternative for “having ADHD”, at least as far as I’m aware, so I tend to have to say “I have autism and ADHD” otherwise it gets clumsy with one person-first and one condition-first. (If anyone can think of a better way of framing that please let me know!)