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IKEA Poland publishes lexicon to foster empathy in everyday speech

Instead of a tome about Swedish stugas or the origin of meatballs, IKEA Poland has published a Lexicon of Good Language. It's a guide promoting inclusive language and challenging harmful and exclusionary rhetoric in everyday communication. The lexicon was created with seven NGOs as part of IKEA's ongoing #ChangingTheNarrative campaign. Each section focuses on language related to different groups vulnerable to discrimination: people with disabilities, the LGBT+ community, national and ethnic minorities, refugees, younger and older people.

The Lexicon of Good Language was designed to be accessible and easy to understand. Each chapter lists which words are discouraged and why, along with suggested alternatives. By sharing the document as a free download, IKEA aims to inspire people to check whether they're being unintentionally hurtful, and to rethink which terms and phrases they incorporate into casual conversations and workplace interactions.

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IKEA's Lexicon of Good Language emerges amid growing political polarization and increasingly vitriolic discourse surrounding marginalized communities. As far-right parties gain traction across Europe and beyond, their rhetoric often fuels divisiveness and emboldens hate speech targeting vulnerable groups. IKEA's guide serves as a robust countermeasure — a tool for fostering empathy, respect and inclusion.