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No more nanny and chief doctor

I recently wrote a piece about the "Red Dot Actions" by radical "students".

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No more nanny and chief doctor

I recently wrote a piece about the "Red Dot Actions" by radical "students". This enraged some readers (readers?). I shouldn't use "the wrong grammar of the left-leaning parts of society, i.e. gender language", a gentleman instructed me. Now again, non-German expressions like “gender language” get me excited, not to mention the verb “gender”. It's about writing as gender-neutral as possible - so that as many as possible can feel included when they are included.

And yes, I know the difference between grammatical and biological gender. I was a German teacher. But it is no coincidence that when I was young there was no male equivalent for housewife and nanny, cleaning lady or nurse: professions that ultimately consisted of making life easier for men. Soldiers and pilots, politicians and managers, bus drivers and chief physicians were of course male. The language also reflects reality. And luckily that's changing.

Now I'm neither a friend of "citizens", which most politicians grind down to "citizens and citizens", nor even more of gender stars and hiccups. They are cumbersome and only signal the user's desire to be politically correct. (By the way, why the English non-word “woke” is used for this in German is just as incomprehensible to me as the use of the foreign word “gender”, especially with a hard “G”.)

However, there are ways of speaking and writing in a non-discriminatory manner without violating the rules of the German language, and participial formation is one of them. In the reform school I attended, people had been talking about the “community of teachers and learners” since the 1920s, and it wasn’t the use of the noun present participle that was wrong, but the mendacity of the word “community”. The apprentice has long since been replaced by the apprentice or apprentices, and the Japanese-style abbreviation of "apprentice(s)" doesn't bother anyone. If there are women, you can talk about the team instead of the team, instead of the employees, you can talk about the workforce, instead of the bosses, you can talk about management - or the executives.

"The Lovers" is the name of a beautiful poem by Bertolt Brecht; "The angry feels pain, the hater does not," Aristotle knew; the "community of believers" sounds better, more active, more definite than the "community of believers". There are many possibilities in the substantive present participle.

"The limits of my language are the limits of my world," said Ludwig Wittgenstein. If so, the limits of my language must expand with the limits of my world. In 1911, 4.9 percent of the student body was female; today it is 50.2 percent. If the term "student" involuntarily suggests someone without a uterus at first, the term should change. In short, I think “students” are OK, and if a few “leftists” like it, all the better. I have completely different problems with them.

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