Westlake linguist's book discusses medicalization of society

In her recently published book, Westlake linguist Janet Byron Anderson, Ph.D., uses terms like "a greenhouse on steroids," "autistic architecture" and "comatose careers" to illustrate a modern tendency of Westerners to speak about aspects of their lives that have nothing to do with sickness as if their lives were sick. Western society, she argues, has become medicalized.

For many people the purpose of life has shifted from supporting life to shielding it from mortality altogether. They bicycle, walk and even meditate not to enhance the joy of living but to protect the body from disintegration. Many conditions that in the past were accepted as hardships to be borne with fortitude, are now pathologized, even in the absence of disease.

Dr. Anderson summarizes the research on medicalization in society, then analyzes, in readable and exciting prose, the linguistic reflection of this trend – what she calls “Sick English,” the use of clinical language to describe aspects of life that have nothing to do with sickness.

Dr. Anderson has traced the use of Sick English in the language of journalists (and many of the people they quote) in newspapers published in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand and Australia.

She is a professionally trained linguist, medical editor, writer and language consultant who resides in and operates a consulting firm in Westlake.

"Sick English" is available in paperback and Kindle versions at Amazon.com.


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Volume 4, Issue 25, Posted 10:46 AM, 12.11.2012