When I grew up in South London in the 1950s and 1960s my school insisted that because I was studying English language and literature for my “O” levels, I would need a dictionary.
The book which then became a part of my daily life and, subsequently, my education was “The Oxford English Dictionary”.
However, looking at the world around me now, with its various attitudes and the political correctness that abounds everywhere, I think, without a doubt, a new dictionary is needed. The one who removed a whole bunch of unnecessary words and phrases that no longer apply to the world we live in now.
When I was a kid I was taught that if you were sitting on a train or a bus and a female member had to get up because there were no empty seats then the men had to get up. get up and offer their seat to the lady.
If I was walking down a street with a companion, it was my job to walk on the outside of the sidewalk, thus protecting the lady from traffic hazards or just protecting her from splashing puddles caused by passing cars. I was taught to always open doors for women and to help by carrying any heavy packages they might have.
There was one word for all of these actions, and that very descriptive word was “Chivalry.”
However, we now live in a world where many people now strongly oppose if you dare to call them men and women, boys and girls, and certainly not men and women. Unfortunately, this means that the word “Chivalry” and the way of life and actions that this great word describes will no longer be needed in the new modern dictionary.
In addition to ‘Chivalry’, we can also remove ‘Courtesy’ and ‘Respect’ from this new dictionary. I see little sign of either these days.
We can also remove the word “Gentleman” from the new dictionary, as I am informed that the use of this word apparently takes away a person’s right to freedom of sexuality by calling it a descriptive term. Maybe I’m too old to understand this modern world, but too old or not, I don’t have to like it.
When I was little, political correctness did not exist. You simply and “politely” said exactly what you “honestly” meant, and if in the process you accidentally upset someone else, then that was sad, but people have always understood that everyone has a right to their own. own opinion on anything and everything.
You didn’t purposely go out and hurt another person’s feelings, but if you did, people got it and you both moved on with your life. I fear that in this modern world of political correctness you will no longer be able to say what you want about anything in case you want to or unintentionally offend someone else.
I was visiting Istanbul a few years ago and our guide, while walking through the giant mosque known as “Hagia Sophia”, proudly explained that originally built as a Christian church in the 6th century , it now proudly reflects the religious changes that have taken place in the region over the centuries, with the inclusion of minarets and inscriptions from Islam as well as the lavish mosaics of Christianity.
She was really proud of the fact that the Turkish constitution includes religious freedom within its framework. Sadly, the same can no longer be said of the UK, which was once described as a Christian country, but it is now because the UK is now ‘politically correct’.
For example, you try to go to a store in the UK in December to buy a box of Christmas cards showing a nativity scene on the front. This is practically impossible because showing or even just mentioning Christ on a Christmas card could, we are told, offend people of other faiths.
The clue is surely in the title, that is to say the Christmas cards. What happened to freedom of faith and freedom of speech in modern UK? I have to be honest and say that I much prefer the words that are found in the old-fashioned dictionary that I grew up with, where political correctness had never been understood, and where we were not heard. only learned to spell a lot of words, but what they really meant.
My school taught us another word that seems to play no role in our modern world. This word is ‘moral’. Unfortunately, I’m afraid it won’t surprise me that some people these days may even ask “what is morality?”
The dictionary I referred to at the beginning of this article describes morality as “standards of behavior incorporating the principles of good and bad”. I try to respect and believe in these âold-fashioned moralsâ and even though I don’t succeed all the time, at least I have been taught the difference between right and wrong.
Looking around these days, I wonder if âmoralâ is another word that should be taken out of the modern dictionary.
My high school since the age of eleven was Eltham Green School in south London which unfortunately no longer exists, but at the time the school was divided into eight houses, each house being based on one of the initial letters of ELTHAM GS. These eight houses have been named: Effort, Loyalty, Truth, Honesty, Ambition, Modesty, Generosity and Sincerity.
Not only are these the names of the houses, but they have been taught to be the goals and objectives of every student in the school. We have all learned to strive in life through Endeavor, to be loyal to your friends, family and employer. We have been taught that we should always be truthful and honest in all aspects of our life.
We have all been taught to have Ambition in life but, at the same time, to always be Modest in our successes. Being generous has been taught to be the norm and to be expected, and whatever you end up doing with your life, we have all learned to be sincere in everything we have done and said.
I have never forgotten the eight houses and the eight-word school motto they formed, but I’m afraid what I see in the modern world around me seems to indicate that these eight words, as well as the others that I mentioned would not be part of the new modern dictionary.
By Trevor Holman
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Trevor Holman has lived in the Algarve for 20 years. A former session musician, publicity manager and justice of the peace, Trevor has written four stage musicals, over 100 songs and published eight of his novels to date, including the hit series âAlgarve Crime Thrillerâ.