In German

Here you will find the abstracts of the articles published in the Online Handbook. These articles discuss concepts that are inductively deduced from linguistic cultures and include fundamental language-critical topics such as “language criticism and language norms”, “language criticism and standardization” as well as “language criticism and language purism”. You may access the comparative articles reflecting these topics by means of language comparisons and cultural comparisons (for German, English, French, Italian, and Croatian) via the tab “language criticism in European comparison”.


Recent article:

Linguistic purism and language criticism in German

Abstract. Linguistic purism is a form of language criticism. Its primary objective is to ‘keep the language pure’. Keeping the language pure first of all refers to the rejection of foreign-language influences, especially in lexis, but attempts to develop a norm as well as the advancement of a standard or national language are also part of linguistic purism. Linguistic purism can be promoted by individuals as well as by institutions. First attempts at trying to keep the German language pure date back to language societies in the 17th century. From a diachronic perspective, purism has focused on different aspects of language and its usage. What all puristic efforts have in common is that they are usually linked to a rise in national sentiment. Despite institutional efforts – and contrary to other languages – purism is not part of the German language policy and thus not government-controlled.

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Standardisation and language criticism in German

Abstract. Standardisation is mainly discussed in relation to language history, language variation and sociolinguistics. Investigations of the role of standardisation in German language criticism are as yet a desideratum. However, individual aspects of standardisation are sometimes consulted for the explanation or evaluation of language criticism in German. This article describes forms of language reflexion and language criticism as regulatory aspects for orienting orality and literacy to norms. First, authorities and institutions guiding the process of standardisation are discussed (e. g. church, nobility, bourgeoisie, scholars, linguistic societies, publications, or rhetorical and stylistic principles). Second, domains that were to be standardised are mentioned (e. g. lexis, syntax). In addition to the historical perspective, this article looks at current issues about standardisation in correlation with language criticism.

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Critique of language norms (Sprachnormenkritik) in German

Abstract. Language norms and language standardisation processes are closely linked to language reflection and language criticism, being either linguistically described or evaluated from both academic (linguistic) and non-academic perspectives. In the 1980s, the process of language standardisation began to be investigated and described as part of a newly formed linguistic subfield – Sprachnormenkritik (critique of language norms). The historical perspective shows, however, that intellectual circles had started to reflect upon and criticise language norms and language standardisation processes much earlier and continue to do so to the present day. Since the beginning of the 21st century, linguists have aimed at first describing language norms and language standardisation processes and then evaluating them based on linguistic criteria. This article applies a concept of critique of language norms that spans a continuum of metalinguistic utterances ranging from cautious deliberation of alternative expressions to clearly defined positions on ‘good’ or ‘bad’ language use, including both the academic (linguistic) and non-academic perspectives. Critique of language norms is thus understood here as a reflection on language norms and language standardisation in which criteria are expressed explicitly (by more or less descriptive or evaluative metalinguistic comments), or realised implicitly.

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Click here to read the article “Critique of language norms in European perspective”