When it comes to multiculturalism in Germany, the general feeling here is that it is quite the failure. And that is one of the reasons why the Berlin government wants those who wish to live here in Germany have a more thorough knowledge of the German language. The hope is that the good-old German language will be a kind of Sekundenkleger (superglue) that will somehow help hold Germany society together.

Hope is a good thing, I always say. But the German language is a very complicated one, as anyone trying to learn it will gladly tell you. And what is worse, it is one that is continually being pruned and tweaked and rejuvenated by German language “experts”. You know; language police types. Take this year’s newly-crowned Unwort (un-word) of 2006: “freiwillige Ausreise”

Although it literally means “voluntary departure” (as in leaving the country), it is actually another German bureaucrat-speak euphemism which refers to being involuntary booted out of the country. If you are an asylum-seeker who has been denied asylum, that is.

There are tons of these unfortunate, politically correct/incorrect (take your pick, they’re both) inventions out there, and they are continually being weeded out with distinction like this. Unfortunately, they only issue the un-word of the year once a year. I think we may have discovered a new Marktlücke (market niche) here, people. Four times a year sollte drin sein (should be possible). 

Maybe having language police isn’t such a bad idea after all.

Come visit me at Observing Hermann…

Be Sociable, Share!