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Can't blame German kids

Any lingophile like me will have to fight nausea and general displeasure when hearing kids speak these days. Computers, games, electronic toys (incl. cellphones) have wreaked havoc with a lot of languages, the least of which must be English.

German, on the other hand, has been hit really damn hard. The poor kids in school these days have to struggle to keep up with changing requirements (thank you, German language reform). Add to that all the buzzwords and other crap the media pump into our polluted language space and the outcome is horrific. I've sat together with some kids today to discuss a possible field trip and it was frightening to find them struggle to form complete sentences when things couldn't be abbreviated in the style of computer/media-parlance.

If only those kids had something to hold on to, or to look up to; some display of how to speak/write German correctly, things would be all good. But out politicians can't speak the language themselves anymore and make dumb errors, and the industry seems to have run out of German speakers altogether. This is not a snide remark against foreigners working in Germany, it's a snide remark against Germans not upholding the least bit of pride of a nation by not letting its language deteriorate.

There are many more of these, and every single occurrence speaks of such dumbfoddled idiocy that I can't decide whether to cry or laugh in each case. At the very least I feel disgusted that people who cannot express themselves are given the means to do so.

Language is alive, of course; it's bound to change and it would be unnatural if it did not. However, if the only noticeable trend is dumbification, I wonder whether we shouldn't be putting caps on the entire entertainment industry and make it a requirement for anyone wanting to consume alcohol or speak publicly (or both) to have read and understood two works by each of Schiller, Lessing, Brecht, and Goethe.

PS: I can heartily recommend the German Zwiebelfisch Kolumne (Spiegel Magazin) to anyone interested in the German language, its pitfalls, and the errors made by the most of its speakers. Curiously, Amazon.de will tell you that "people who have bought my book have also bought books by Bastian Sick, the author of this column" (whose book I can heartily recommend).