In Washington State, dairymen, freshmen and even penmanship could soon be things of the past.
Over the past six years, state officials have engaged in the onerous task of changing the language used in the state’s copious body of laws, including thousands of words and phrases, many written more than a century ago when the idea of women working on police forces or on fishing boats was not a consideration.
That process is slated to draw to a close this year. So while the state has already welcomed “firefighters,” “clergy” and “police officers” into its lexicon, “ombuds” in place of “ombudsman” and “security guards” instead of “watchmen,” appear to be next, along with “dairy farmers” instead of “dairymen,” “first-year students” instead of “freshmen,” and “handwriting” instead of “penmanship.”
“Some people would say ’oh, it’s not a big thing, do you really have to go through the process of changing the language,’” said Seattle Councilmember Sally Clark, who was one of the catalysts for the change. “But language matters. It’s how we signal a level of respect for each other.”
這個進程預定在今年結束。目前，該州法律中已經修改了「消防員」（firefighters）、「神職人員」（clergy）、「警察」（police officers）等詞，下一步將是修改「監察官」（用ombuds取代ombudsman）和「警衛」（用security guards取代watchmen）等詞，隨後則是「酪農場工人」（用dairy farmers取代 dairymen），「大一新生」（用first-year students取代 freshmen）與「書法」（handwriting取代 penmanship）。