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"Politically motivated language distortions and supposedly inclusive 'Newspeak'"

In the CDU, initiatives against the use of gender-sensitive language are increasing.

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"Politically motivated language distortions and supposedly inclusive 'Newspeak'"

In the CDU, initiatives against the use of gender-sensitive language are increasing. In the past few months, the state associations of Hamburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania had initially demanded that special gender characters no longer be used in schools in their federal states. As the "Bild" newspaper reports, the Hamburg CDU wants to submit a motion at the next federal party conference that would prohibit authorities, schools, universities and other state institutions from using "grammatically incorrect gender language".

Schleswig-Holstein's Minister of Education, Karin Prien, has repeatedly stated that the schools in her federal state are not permitted to use special gender characters, but that the official rules of the German spelling council should be followed. The parliamentary group in Thuringia demands that gendering be banned in state authorities, while colleagues in Saxony generally reject the use of gender language.

The CDU national chairman Friedrich Merz is above all the gender-equitable language in the public broadcasters a thorn in the side. In a guest article for the "Badische Latest News", Merz recently denied the speakers, commentators and moderators of the broadcasters the right "to deviate from the generally accepted rules of use of the German language". The journalists of public service broadcasting have a role model function and are committed to the principles of balanced and understandable reporting.

The representatives of the fee-financed broadcasters are bound by the guidelines of the Council for German spelling, which "explicitly did not include gender asterisks and other elements of a 'gender-fair' language" in its set of rules.

The Economic Council of the CDU now supports this Merz initiative with arguments. "Authorities, institutions or other bodies financed by taxes or compulsory contributions must be politically neutral," said Wolfgang Steiger, Secretary General of the Economic Council, WELT. "This applies in particular to politically motivated language distortions and supposedly inclusive 'Newspeak'." If parts of the public service broadcasters are not willing "to make programs for mainstream society, but see themselves as political officers of a left-wing ideological avant-garde, they create themselves away".

Broadcasters that "pretend to be the pre-political space of the Greens, SPD and Left Party" shouldn't be surprised "that the debate about their price and their necessity is getting louder and louder."

Steiger refers to representative opinion polls, according to which the majority of Germans rejected gender language, regardless of age, level of education and gender. For the Council for German spelling, too, the disadvantages of “the politically motivated stuttering outweigh the disadvantages. The completely inconsistent and often individually fictitious gender 'rules' are not only an extremely obstacle to language acquisition for children and young people, but also for immigrants and citizens who are already struggling with text comprehension problems.”

This makes professional and social participation more difficult for those who are already particularly challenged in everyday life and who have to learn the language properly. "For the pioneers of the special character salad, maintaining their ignorance about the difference between gender and sex is obviously more important than the integration of millions of people," says Steiger.

In the schools, correct German is required of children and young people - with the exception of "other decisions by misguided German teachers", who "have already been stopped several times by the Minister of Education". According to Steiger, however, if the students were "taught the wrong German with an educational mandate" from public television, it didn't go together.

The often-cited voluntary nature of gender is also “taken ad absurdum when powerful and far-reaching institutions prescribe a status quo in everyday life”. With every glottal stop, i.e. the pause in the spoken gender asterisk, the verdict resonates between the syllables: "If you don't speak like that, you're my political enemy."

In summary, Steiger demands that schools, kindergartens and day-care centers, authorities and broadcasters “immediately desist from self-invented, unworldly language that is intended to shape children and adults”. All citizens have the right to have their taxes and contributions only pursue goals that are democratically legitimate, social consensus.

Legally, the CDU can rely on a recently published report by Hans-Jürgen Papier, the former President of the Federal Constitutional Court. In the expert report commissioned by the Theo Münch Foundation for the German Language, Papier comes to the conclusion that a state standardization of the language to make it mandatory for all citizens to use it in the private and social sphere would be a disproportionate encroachment on the general right of personality and “therefore constitutionally inadmissible". Because the actual purpose of such binding regulations would be "not the objective reason for maintaining and promoting equal rights and the enforcement of the gender-specific ban on differentiation, but rather an educational concern of the state".

The same applies to the schools. "An obligation to use gender-sensitive language in schools is ... also not to be considered appropriate with regard to the goals pursued and is therefore ... to be considered constitutionally inadmissible," says the report. This applies “at least as long as the use of gender-neutral language is not reflected in general language use”. Despite gendering in public service broadcasting and at universities, this "cannot be accepted at this point in time".

"Kick-off Politics" is WELT's daily news podcast. The most important topic analyzed by WELT editors and the dates of the day. Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music or directly via RSS feed.

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