This is rather fleeing the stable door after the horse has bolted – the European Parliament has decided that the Eve of Brexit, that most glorious moment in our recent history, is the time to start censoring the English language. You know, that language that they’re all threatening to stop using because we’ve decided to take our ball and money back and go home? The specific thing they’re complaining about being something that doesn’t even happen in those other lesser tongues that they tend to babble, the use of “man” to indicate peeps.
But this is what they’re saying in whatever pidgin or creole it is they like to use at home:
Politically correct European Parliament urges end to words like ‘man-made’, ‘mankind’ and ‘layman’
Layman actually has a real reason for existing, it coming from one who is not a priest. As women were not able to be so – Dr Johnson having it right here about dogs on hind legs – then man is the correct appellation. But to stop with the pendantry:
The European Parliament is attempting to stamp out the use of words such as “mankind” and “manpower” and have them replaced with more gender neutral terms such as “humanity” and “staff”. Officials and MEPs in the parliament, which has seats in Brussels and Strasbourg, have been sent a guidebook on using gender-neutral language in communications, EU legislation and interpretation. It calls on them to avoid the “generic use of man”. “Gender-neutral or gender-inclusive language is more than a matter of political correctness,” the guidebook reads, “Language powerfully reflects and influences attitudes, behaviour and perceptions.”
As it happens for a language to be an official one a country has to declare that it is the official language of that country. And everyone only gets to pick one. Eire, for obvious political reasons, has chosen Erse – Irish Gaelic – and upon our exit there is no one who will still have English as the declared official language. Thus English stops being an official EU language despite it being the only one which people have in common.
Thus official advice of how the EU institutions should use English is more than a little redundant.
But, this being the EU, of course it’s worse than that. For all the other varied degenerations of the ancestral Germanic, all the impenetrable argots of debased Latin, they have entirely different rules about gender and words. They make many more distinctions than our loved and lovely tongue. The advice is somewhere, for all those forms of jabbering incomprehensibly, between irrelevant and ludicrous.
And yet the European Parliament decides to spend what is still your and my money on such advice. Thank The Lord we’re leaving come March 29, eh?