“Lerne Ostdeutsch!” (Learn the East German language!) Myth and reality about an East German language
journal contributionposted on 02.06.2017, 02:15 by Mummert, Stefan
This paper outlines the issues surrounding the debate about a characteristically East German language. Comparisons will be drawn between previous research and my own linguistic data. It will be demonstrated that the official, ideological language as prescribed by the socialist government of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany), had some impact on semi-official communication, but almost no impact on private language use, which was hardly different from the West. However, a number of lexical items have acquired and retained a specifically East German emotional component. It will also be argued that some research and reflections on language in East Germany are in fact reflections on society and social and political developments, in the tradition of “Sprachpflege” and language criticism.