German intellectuals call for end to gender-pronoun tyranny

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So many choices…

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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12 responses to “German intellectuals call for end to gender-pronoun tyranny

  1. Jihadists may have other ideas… and gender-confusion weirdness isn’t a good sign anyway.

  2. 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 find it amusing that there even is a group dedicated to “setting standards” in German. I spent over two years there and one thing I can attest to is that Germans rarely miss an opportunity to improve their English.

    I’m sure it is easier for native speakers, but it is a cumbersome language for introducing new words and/or ideas. The nouns are usually run-together sentences. I can’t think of a less productive enterprise than this.

    • I looked up Rüdiger Safranski, and he’s a protégé of Theodore Adorno of the Frankfurt School. Adorno is the father of “critical theory,” applying the “knowledge” of the social sciences and humanities to deconstruct Western Civilization. Michael Jones just came out with a new book on “Jewish Science,” which I believe ties psychology, the social sciences, and perversions of the humanities to organized Jewry’s relentless subversion of the host societies that gave them a home and allowed them to prosper. Meanwhile legitimate researchers provide mounds of factual evidence that these “Jewish sciences” are essentially scientific frauds whose findings are probably irreproducible bullshit.

  3. 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 craziness should be addressed strictly by their last name only, the way the military does. It is just gross that those of us who do find that for one reason or another, should be blamed for not succumbing to this new attempt to “flip off” society at large.

    • Amen Lulu! Anyone disturbed or bored enough to spend time on this effort should be plaiting mats in an institution somewhere.

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

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

  6. 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 headlong from conveying information to misinformation. This is the con, this is the bat we’re being beaten over the head with, namely, everything in the name of IDEOLOGY. Because it’s all about a “narrative,” don’t you know? The object of this game is to get us to agree with their preconceived conclusion that we are nothing but barnyard animals who happen to have two legs instead of four. We are nothing but LIVESTOCK to these pseudointellectual barbarians, who JUST CAN’T WAIT to cull us all.

    Eleanor Roosevelt—no paragon of virtue, she—said something right for once in her life: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” She was morally correct on that one. I, for one, STEADFASTLY REFUSE to grant my consent to a EUGENIC IDEOLOGY, buttressed upon a Benthamite and sociological conception of man that has its own EXTINCTION PROTOCOLS and wants us all dead. And they’re succeeding: They’ve gotten a lot of people to be dead—from the neck up! That’s the first step.

    NOT I.


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