The history of standardizing written German speaks volumes about the relationship of the people of the "land of thinkers and poets" with their beloved language. For more than 150 years, any attempt to alter the written language, seen as the embodiment of the German cultural tradition, was met with skepticism or outright revolts. While pedagogues and linguists sought to streamline orthography rules to simplify written language acquisition for learners of all social backgrounds, prominent poets saw themselves as the gatekeepers of the German cultural heritage insisting, "Man vergreift sich nicht an der Mutter. Man spielt nicht mit dem Körper, der einen gezeugt hat" (Durs Grünbein). Marking the tenth anniversary of the German orthography reform taking effect, this article explains the cultural significance of attempts to standardize written German by reading the history of standardization parallel to German history. (FF; in German)


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pp. 307-326
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