German intellectuals call for end to gender-pronoun tyranny

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The Guardian archly reports, March 8, 2019, that in an “reactionary” open letter published by the Dortmund-based German Language Association, a group of German authors, academics and comedians are calling for a fightback against “ridiculous linguistic constructions” designed to make the German language more gender-neutral.

German Language Association, with over 36,000 members, is one of several institutions in Germany which that try to set standards on grammar and spelling.

The letter’s signatories include philosopher Rüdiger Safranski, novelist Peter Schneider, comedian Dieter Hallervorden, and the former head of Germany’s domestic intelligence Hans-Georg Maassen.

In the German language, nouns have either a male, female or neuter gender; words for mixed groups of people are traditionally based on the masculine form. If you are talking about a group of teachers, for example, you would say die Lehrer, not die Lehrerinnen.

Feminist linguists have made various proposals to make the language more inclusive, either by typographic trickery, such as LehrerInnen, Lehrer(innen) or Lehrer*innen, or by replacing them with nouns that make the gender more invisible. Those proposals have been accepted by a number of academic institutions and municipal authorities. As an example, since January this year, officials in the city of Hanover no longer use the generic noun Lehrer in their correspondence, but the more neutral Lehrende (“teaching ones”).

The protest letter, headed “An end to gender nonsense!” and published shortly before International Women’s Day, argues that the distribution of gender to generic nouns in German is too arbitrary for there to be a systemic sexist bias. As examples, in German, lions are male while giraffes are female and horses neuter. The signatories also dispute that masculine generic pronouns discourage women from entering certain professions, pointing out the fact that Germany’s constitution has 13 mentions of the “chancellor” in its masculine form “did not prevent the repeated rise of Angela Merkel to the post of chancellor”.

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~Eowyn

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German intellectuals call for end to gender-pronoun tyranny
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DanstevenbroilesWatertenderGrifAuntie Lulu Recent comment authors
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Anonymous
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Anonymous

Jihadists may have other ideas… and gender-confusion weirdness isn’t a good sign anyway.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9ohrBhhN4k

Lophatt
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Lophatt

Normally one must have a problem in order to search for a “solution”. I cannot imagine anyone seriously concerned about something as insignificant as this. How on Earth do they convince people to expend precious time and energy on nonsense? German also has verbs that change depending on age and sex as well. I suppose they could work with that. Maybe they’ll come up with an entirely new language. It seems a little late in a society that “texts” each other rather than speaks, however. German is a very old language. A lot of English is based upon it. I… Read more »

Auntie Lulu
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Auntie Lulu

I stand with the German Language Association . . . this nonsense of bastardizing the language of my country–English, is beyond ridiculous. Individuals who go along with this nonsensical effort should be shunned, those in political positions that try to enforce this ridiculous fad need to be voted out of office. Each generation wishes to put their “mark” on society–it seems that the latest gaggle of folks want confusion to reign among the people. This gives them a reason to bash those of us who do not adhere to this insanity. If nothing else, someone who is involved in such… Read more »

Grif
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Feministische Linguisten sind Idioten. Sie sollten alle ohne Nachtessen in ihre Räume geschickt werden, wie die Kinder, die mit Blödsinn spielen.

Watertender
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Watertender

I think “Schissekopf” covers it nicely…. “Arshluck” works too

Steven Broiles
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To paraphrase the odious James Carville (a creature out of “Deliverance” if there ever was one!), “It’s not the pronouns, stupid—It’s the tyranny of biology, stupid!” That sums it up for me: We’re all either male or female. Actually, that is not tautologously true: I did have a male in the car who was born deformed. He told me the name of his condition (which I cannot remember), which, thankfully, is extremely rare. (He is not a hermaphrodite). At any rate, we’re talking about less than .0001% of the population. This is the problem with “inclusive” language: We’ve been thrust… Read more »