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Inclusive Language Guidelines

One of the most important rules of human interaction in the modern world is respect between each other. We have to appreciate the dignity of people who surround us and be careful in our actions and words. Everybody knows about the crucial meaning of sayings; they can cause moral damage or even have a devastating effect on a person. People are responsible for what they say not only because of morality, but also from the legislative point of view.

Discrimination and its influence

Discriminatory language is the result of unequal racial and gender position. This is how people in society show or hatred from past and up to the present. The role of a woman has been diminished, which influenced the process of language development. The existence of slavery significantly affected the course of history; the notion of inclusive language has appeared relatively recently. Some people haven’t got used to it yet and can unintentionally apply discriminatory words or phrases, but this does not mean that we may overlook such cases. Non-inclusive language degrades human dignity and can hurt someone’s feelings. It is not always possible to notice its’ negative effect on society; people begin to take stereotyped phrases as a norm, and in such a way, disrespectful attitude towards some persons affirms. People who do not take responsibility for own sayings risk to be brought to justice, as any form of discrimination is punished by law.

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What is inclusive language?

Fortunately, world community pays due regard to the issue of human equality. Now you can find many different inclusive language definitions, but the meaning is the same: they define the way to speak politely and avoid expressions which reflect discrimination, prejudice, and stereotypical thinking. It creates conditions for the positive attitude to the international diversity and equal treatment of people from different social backgrounds. This is an indispensable condition of tolerant relationships between members of society.

Indigenous Australians and inclusive language

Aboriginal Australians is the term which defines the race of Australia continent. However, the term Aboriginal also has more meanings, which identify indigenous people of other countries. Sometimes it is used in relation to any indigenous inhabitants. This term with a capital “A” applies to inborn Australian, and small “a” could be appropriate for general usage, but offensive for identifying native Australians. Such denominations as “full-blooded”, “trueborn”, “pureblooded”, “half-blooded, aborigines, part-aborigine” appeared in the course of history, and now they do not belong to examples of inclusive language.

Inclusive generalizations

Everybody tends to be proud of their origin, language and culture. We protect what we consider to be our native, so if somebody expresses disrespect or indifference to our nationality, our feelings can be hurt. People often use the term “Asian” for citizens of China, Japan, India etc. This is also the way of showing impolite attitude towards ethnic and cultural peculiarities. It does not mean that people have to study as much as possible about different countries, but if you often contact with representatives of some culture, take some time and learn more about it.

Language and sexual orientation

People used to have a false idea about persons of different sexual orientation; they thought it is illness or strange behaviour and had a hostile attitude to sexual minorities. Unfortunately, even now the last encounter some problems in socialisation. Although their rights are extended now, people’s unwillingness to accept the fact about the different sexuality is demonstrated in language in the first place. Such words as “husband” and “wife” are not appropriate to use, if we do not know about the sexual orientation of the couple and gender of partners.

Language and gender

Patriarchal development of society influenced language; unrecognised individual traditionally was determined as a male person. Women did not have the right to vote, study, participate in the social activity; now all people are equal, so established traditions should be changed. Men also can feel the negative impact of an entrenched idea concerning gender roles; for instance, language does not have a male equivalent for “housewife” or “nurse”. We shall use terms which neutralise gender identity in professions. As well, such compliments for women as “you have a man’s mind”, “it is impressive that a woman can be such a smart manager” are offensive, because they demean women’s characteristics, skills, and abilities.

Disabilities and inclusive language

First of all, we have to pay attention to a personality; character traits, the way of thinking, preferences play the crucial role in relationships and socialisation, and physical disability should not be taken as the top priority. Besides, words which stress health or physical condition problems can hurt a person badly. “The disabled”, “incapacitated”, “the blind”, “able-bodied”, “mentally retarded” have to be replaced with such inclusive language examples, as “people with disabilities”, “person who is blind”, “people without disabilities”, “person with learning difficulties”. Also, nobody has to be the object of compassion, so avoid such words as “suffered”, “afflicted”, “struck down”. The term “victim” should be used prudently, in exceptional cases.

Language and age

Person’s age becomes an object of our prejudice regularly. We do not respect children and teenagers; in turn, young people do not listen to the opinion of those who are much older. Such an attitude is reflected in speech. Terms “the old” “aged” etc. push people’s individuality back, emphasising their age. Such words as “girl”, “boy”, “kids” are excessively familiar and allowed in limited social networks, such as family or friends. Instead of these expressions, you may use inclusive language example “mature aged”, “seniors”, “young people”, and “younger person”.

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