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"Asian American" vs. "Asian-American," 2022 year in review

How the hyphen shifts the identity's emphasis


Associated Press stylebook 2019:


Slider text:

Slide one:

Title: "Asian American" versus "Asian-American." Note: second version of "Asian-American is hyphenated; first isn't.

Slide two:

Title: What is a hyphen?

A hyphen is "-" and is typically seen in verb:noun relationships. Basically, the first word modifies the second word. So the words before the noun modify the noun itself. Hyphens are not used to join adverb:noun phrases. Examples: user-generated, pet-friendly, closely related (unhyphenated).

Slide three:

Title: Asian American (unhyphenated)

The unhyphenated version of "Asian American" emphasizes neither the "Asian" nor "American" identity, so both identities are equally emphasized in this style choice.

Slide four:

Title: "Asian American" (hyphenated)

With the hyphen, "Asian" is modifying "American," so "Asian" would be more prominently emphasized over "American."

Slide five:

Title: Which do you prefer?

Which style choice feels more affirming to you?


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