The Ministry of Human Resources has published a 13-page document for its press department containing a list of 200-plus words that should not be used in press conferences, and offering alternatives. Words such as “stadium”, “poor” and “reform” are advised not to be used, so as to ensure “uniform communication”.
“The Ministry of Human Resources advises its workers not to use certain everyday words,” VS.hu wrote on February 18. “The Ministry announced that this was important in developing universal communication.” At first, only a few words leaked out, such as “pregnant”, “stadium” and “poor”.
Of course, the whole document was soon published online. Some of the words seem completely harmless, with a practical and stylistic reason for being “replaced”, but some rethought words take an orwellian turn, while there are some errors in the document (indigent, for example, occurs twice, once as being possible to be used, and once advised to be used).
According to the ministry, the list helps make everyday communication more effective for colleagues. And it shows government thinking. For example, if one says that a woman is “terhes” (exact meaning: carrying a burden) it is not equal to “expecting” or “pregnant”, or if we talk about cripples instead of disabled people.
Some words that recently took on a pejorative tone are also advised against. Instead of “stadium”, “roofed sports facility” is recommended.
When asked if there would be sanctions against those people who do not follow the recommendations, the ministry said the list is considered more as a guideline than a set of rules, therefore the emphasis is not on the consequences.
The debate of what to call pregnant women in official documents has already occurred before, when Minister for Human Resources Zoltán Balog talked about rewording the healthcare laws in this regard.