Disabled Language not Welcome: The Relationship between Disability and Language in Policy, Practice, and Experience in Higher Education


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Innovation Fellowships




For generations, the field of linguistics has focused on that which is considered “ideal” or “normal” in a speaker-listener for the purpose of analyzing structure instead of variation. However, human language is incredibly diverse, and this framework has served to obscure the value of disability as an important element of linguistic analysis. By weaving together emerging frameworks such as crip linguistics, critical disability studies, and discourse analysis, this research project applies sociolinguistic methodologies to themes of disability and “disabled” language to contribute to a new research paradigm that values the language and experiences of disabled people and interrogates the absence of such perspectives in language policy and practice in higher education.