German ministers tackle ‘gender neutral’ language in universities
- Bavarian minister Markus Söder ordered a revision of ‘gender neutral’ guidelines
- Universities Released Phrasebook on Avoiding Using Masculine and Feminine Nouns
- Masculine word forms traditionally used in German to address groups in general
German ministers have cracked down on ‘gender neutral’ language in universities as a culture war rages against the use of masculine and feminine nouns.
Last month, nine German universities, including Konstanz and Stuttgart, shared common guidelines that advised staff and students on avoiding the use of masculine and feminine forms of nouns.
However, Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder, 54, has labeled the new gender-neutral language rules at universities as ‘indoctrination’.
He has also ordered a review of the guides’ content, saying that language cannot be ‘prescribed’ and students who do not use the new terminology should not be written off.
German minister Markus Söder, 54, (pictured) has labeled the new ‘gender-neutral’ language guidelines published by universities as ‘indoctrination’
The special phrasebooks warned against using masculine word forms to refer to groups of men and women — which was traditionally used in German to address groups in general.
In conversation with the local newspaper, Augsburg General, Mr Söder, who is also the leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU), said it would be unacceptable for academics to discount students who did not adhere to the new gender conventions.
He labeled the newly published advice from universities as “indoctrination” and warned that the terminology could lead to referring to a mother and father as ‘parent one and parent two’.
“It’s not on,” he said. Bavaria is a free state, not an indoctrination state. Everyone can use language however they want, but everyone must make sure that they show sensitivity and respect in their language.’
He continued: ‘Ultimately, language is not meant to be prescribed. We can’t end up with some sort of gender law or gender violation notices.
‘You have to be able to say ‘father and mother’. You don’t have to say older one and older two. I don’t want to be approached by my children as a parent.’
He has also ordered a review of the content of guides adopted by nine German universities last month, saying that language cannot be “prescribed” and that students who do not use the new terminology should not be written off. Pictured: University of Stuttgart
German, like many other languages, has masculine and feminine forms for thousands of words, but in recent years many left-wing institutions and government agencies have begun to use hybrid terms to be “gender neutral.”
For example according to The timesVoters may be referred to as Wähler (male voters) or Wählerinnen (female voters), with the masculine, Wähler, normally used to refer to voters in general.
However, a new hybrid term, Wählende (voting persons), has been coined to address voters in general, avoiding the use of the masculine form.
The policy change in language use has been criticized by conservative groups as an ideologically driven imposition, with the German Language Association making a ‘call for resistance’ against the ‘ridiculous language structures’ and ‘gender nonsense’.
At the CSU party conference that took place in Nuremberg las weekend, 96 percent of members voted in favor of a motion condemning “politically indoctrinating, artificial excesses of gender-moralizing language acrobatics” in public bodies and educational institutions.