Monday, November 13, 2006

Mind Your Language

The Department for Constitutional Affairs has produced a guide for its staff with the catchy title:- "Eliminating Inappropriate Language in the Workplace". It gives a fascinating insight into the bureaucratic mind. Now I am not obsessed with using or not using "appropriate" language, and I am quite happy to avoid giving offence, but some of the lists in the booklet are eye-opening. Expressions deemed "not acceptable" include:
Old, middle-aged, young, girl, young lady, boy, lad, young man, part-timer, the disabled, the blind, the deaf, black mark, black sheep, black list, black look, Black Monday, coloured, half-caste, West Indian, Afro-Caribbean, Chinese (used as a catch-all (sic) phrase), British (referring to whites), immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, gypsies (used negatively) Gyppos, Ethnics, Jesus Christ (used as a curse) Jesus freak, bible basher, Jewish (acceptable to some) gay (as a noun) manning the phones, manpower, policeman, chairman, spokesman, fireman, foreman, workmen, lady doctor, woman judge, male nurse, male secretary, love, pet, dear (used in a derogatory way)
This is produced for DCA staff, and is not directed at the judiciary (just as well, in my view). It's going to be difficult to hold a conversation with the girls in the office - whoops!

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Posts are pre-moderated. Please bear with us if this takes a little time, but the number of bores and obsessives was getting out of hand, as were the fake comments advertising rubbish.