Saturday, May 21

Yes, the language does not care about the historical conditions. Precisely for this reason it must be adapted.

  • Eli Knøsen

    Director of the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud

Language activists with a politically correct mindset have exaggerated notions about the language’s opportunities to influence reality, wrote Finn-Erik Vinje (pictured) in Aftenposten. Here he gets answers.

The fight is not about drinkingglass which is actually made of plastic. Rather, let us focus on words that disempower people.

Debate
This is a debate post. Opinions in the text are at the writer’s expense.

“Language activists with a politically correct mindset have exaggerated notions about the language’s opportunities to influence reality,” wrote Professor Emeritus Finn-Erik Vinje in Aftenposten on 30 December.

Like other human inventions, our language is developed in line with the times we live in.

Some of the changes are due to basic respect for those the language is aimed at.

Let me therefore say something about why word choice is important from the point of view of the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud.

Must be displayed in the language

We are already aware of the introduction of gender-neutral professional titles. For some, this is pointless. But the word choices are not without significance, like the Language Council has pointed out. And if change in titles can contribute a more diverse professional life, language is important.

Language also has a great significance related to how we understand someone’s ability to function. People with, for example, impaired vision, who use a wheelchair, or who have psychosocial challenges, have long been deprived of a full opportunity to participate in society.

Here, the ability to function has legitimized society’s discrimination. Some are understood as dangerous, vulnerable or worthless.

We must distinguish between the individual and functional variations on the one hand, and the obstacles and attitudes that exclude from participation, on the other.

The shift must also be expressed in the language. Then we must establish a picture of reality that those concerned recognize themselves in.

Disempowers people

It is allowed to disagree on how the language develops, and we must facilitate an open debate. The fight is not about that one timinutters pause is called a freequarter, or that a drinkglass is made of plastic.

Rather, let us focus on words that disempower people.

One can, for example, claim that there is nothing wrong with calling someone “crippled” or “invalid” (which from English means “without value”). But for most people, this is fortunately an expression that is unacceptable to use. Because they have used both reason and language to help.


Reference-www.aftenposten.no

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