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UK charity hopes to 'decolonise' English vocabulary






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The English language has been evolving for centuries. Conversations from the Middle Ages would be difficult to understand today. The meaning of vocabulary is always changing. The charity Oxfam has issued a guide proposing more changes. Oxfam wants to "decolonise" English, which it considers to be, "the language of a colonising nation". It said English needs to change "to decolonise our ways of working and shift power". Its 92-page "Inclusive Language Guide" advises charity workers on the use of language "to feel empowered to be inclusive in their work".

Oxfam began in 1942 to try to reduce poverty. It operates in 80 countries. It says English is the dominant language used by its workers in former British colonies. It issued its guide "to support people who have to work and communicate in the English language as part of a colonial legacy". The guide focuses on inclusivity for the disabled, the LGBTQIA+ community, migrants, refugees, and others. It suggested changes like avoiding "colonial" phrases such as "mankind". It said this word could be viewed as being patriarchal as "it is often misunderstood as only referring to men".

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