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What is Inclusive Language

What is Inclusive Language?
 
 PTS promotes the use of inclusive language in both writing and speaking. It is used in a variety of contexts:

Worship – in prayers, sermons and hymns 

Classroom – in lectures, discussions and readings 

Academic Work – papers, presentations, and debates 

Informal Discussions – at meals, at meetings, in dorms and in apartments 

Language is the primary means by which people express their thoughts.  Many Christians strive to eliminate language that can be interpreted to exclude or disparage members of racial or ethnic groups; likewise, they try to not alienate or hurt people by using language that excludes by sex or gender. Attention to inclusive language impacts theological imagination and heightens awareness of the images that shape our thoughts and speech.

English does not have gender-neutral pronouns for all types of pronouns. In the past, the English words “man” and “mankind” were used to refer to humanity as a group, and the word “he” was used to refer to a hypothetical person when making up an example. Many people today feel excluded by the words “man” and “he” due to their more restrictive common usage for a male individual. In other words, the common usage of these words has changed, so you can alienate someone if you use these words when you intend their older meaning.

In older literature, you will likely see these words and should recognize that the author may not have meant a group of males or that men were the only ones who counted. Conversely, some authors of the past may have intended to use the pronouns exclusively to refer to males in their writing, and it is the reader’s task to distinguish these cases with reference to issues of time, culture, and perceived intent.

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