English language has been evolving for centuries, if not for millennia. Conversations from Middle Ages would be almost unrecognisable today. In particular, the use and meaning of vocabulary is in constant flux. British charity Oxfam has issued guide that further pushes for changes in how language is used, especially by charity workers. Oxfam wants to "decolonise" English, which it considers to be, " language of colonising nation". It said English needs to change "in order to decolonise our ways of working and shift power". Oxfam has issued 92-page "Inclusive Language Guide" to advise employees on use of language "to support everyone to feel empowered to be inclusive in their work".
Oxfam was founded in 1942 to help alleviate global poverty. It now operates in more than 80 countries worldwide. Its new guide recognises reality that English is dominant language used by charity workers in former British colonies. Oxfam said: "This guide aims to support people who have to work and communicate in English language as part of this colonial legacy." guide focuses on inclusivity for disabled, LGBTQIA+ community, migrants, refugees, and others. Suggested language changes include avoiding "colonial" phrases like "headquarters" and "mankind". It said latter word could be viewed as being patriarchal as "it is often misunderstood as only referring to men".