What does the German Public know about Linguistics and who taught them?

Ilse Achilles (Independent Journalist)

The German market is flooded with books on language. Books like: Der Dativ ist dem Genitiv sein Tod by Bastian Sick have gone on to become bestsellers, leading the charts for months.

The interest in the German language may indicate that linguistics is a hot topic in Germany, but the reality is that Germans are more interested in grammatical accuracy as a value judgement about individuals. Germans worry intensely about 'correct German', they fear the decay of the German language and are particularly afraid that heavy borrowing from English is changing the character of the language. The discussions around German thus focus on correct German words, case, verb forms and spelling, since the German population is convinced that mastering correct German proves their sophistication. A professor who is unable to place commas properly is considered a failure.

This presentation provides an overview of the contemporary 'language scene' in Germany. Questions about who influences the public's understanding of the German language, who benefits from this and how this can be improved will be discussed.