September 27, 2009

Former ESPN Ombuds Explains Why She Was Not an “Ombudswoman”

There is not a a clear consensus regarding the usage of “Ombudsman” versus “Ombudsperson” versus “Ombuds” within the profession. In Canada, “Ombudsman” prevails. At US colleges and universities, “Ombudsperson” is common. IOA uses “Ombudsman” but has published examples of all three terms. The proponents of each label can explain and defend their rationale. Former ESPN ombudsman Le Anne Schreiber said that her decision was based in respect for the word's Swedish origins.
It was my choice to be ombudsman because it's a Swedish word. It's gender neutral. The -man ending in Swedish doesn't mean man. It means human being. And Swedes are very proud of that word — I think it's the only word other than smorgasbord that made it from Swedish to English in a big way. So I didn't want to mess with their word: ombudsman.

(ESPN Radio via dl004d.)

Related post: Linguist Finds Ombuds Usage Shifting Slowly.

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