Do you feel included by English?

Language matters.  Our language not only gives us a way to express our thoughts, but also shapes the way we think.

Language is evolving all the time as we come to understand new realities. For example, words like “blog”, “jeggings” and “paywall” didn’t even exist 20 years ago.

Here’s another way that language is changing.

Many years ago, when I was a little girl, it was common for books to use “he” (him, his) as the default pronoun. It was understood that “he” could be referring to everyone, male or female.  I grew up with this and didn’t think it was a big deal until I encountered a few text books that included the feminine pronoun as well as the masculine- and I was amazed at how wonderful and life-changing that felt. I have always been a lover of books and gradually I was seeing me being represented in them.

We need to see ourselves reflected in the world around us- in print and on screen.

But now we are more aware that using gender pronouns he and/or she still excludes some individuals. Lately, there has been an effort to make language more inclusive by making it gender neutral. I was really interested in this article for people who write for business. It gives easily-implemented suggestions in English or French to help eliminate gender references entirely and thus include everyone. I like it! What about you?

Image credit: Presenter Media

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