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Phrases matter! Social versus spatial distancing

Phrases matter! Social versus spatial distancing

“Social distancing” is a time period that the majority of us haven’t used or given it a second thought till not too long ago. These days, it appears each second phrase we use or hear is that. Social distancing throughout procuring. Social distancing whereas we stroll by way of a forest. Social distancing in every little thing. It has change into such a typical time period to make use of that many people may not even given a second considered what precisely the “social” a part of the phrase means or refers to.

We not too long ago printed an editorial by Thomas Abel and David McQueen on the necessity to emphasise spatial as a substitute of social distancing and to advertise social closeness.

Thomas Abel summarises the thought behind it as follows:

“Our quick textual content printed at present in IJPH (Abel and McQueen, IJPH 2020) was meant to boost consciousness the best way we select to make use of phrases in our public well being efforts. Whereas there may be rising discontent with the notion of “social distancing” the seek for extra acceptable phrases has simply began. What in the long run would be the finest time period might have extra pondering and dialogue. What issues is that “phrases matter”! We would anticipate all consultants to know that. And, specifically, these speaking with the general public have to be much more cautious with the phrases they select.

Simply as epidemiologists attempt to watch out, exact and systematic in selecting and naming the variables for his or her fashions, these writing or speaking about what to do to cease the COVID-19 virus have to be cautious and systematic in selecting the phrases for his or her messages!  Widespread sense is just not sufficient – public well being and linguistic communication expertise are wanted.”

Impressed from this editorial, we requested our followers in twitter the next query:

Phrases matter! Social versus spatial distancing

We received just a few attention-grabbing replies. Some customers knowledgeable us about completely different phrases utilized in completely different international locations, for example Finland…

Phrases matter! Social versus spatial distancing

…and Italy

Phrases matter! Social versus spatial distancing

A follower expressed concern concerning the nature of the time period “social distancing”

Phrases matter! Social versus spatial distancing

Whereas others raised points about what the time period may means for folks in numerous conditions

Phrases matter! Social versus spatial distancing

or raised considerations about penalties for well being outcomes

Phrases matter! Social versus spatial distancing

We additionally received a helpful suggestion!

Phrases matter! Social versus spatial distancing

Let’s maintain the dialogue going! How is “social distancing” interpreted the place you’re? Are there some other phrases used domestically? How can we promote social closeness?

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