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Politica e lingue

BERLIN COURT RULES AGAINST TEACHING NEW GERMAN GRAMMAR

BERLIN COURT RULES AGAINST TEACHING NEW GERMAN GRAMMAR

BERLIN (AP) _ A BERLIN STATE COURT ON FRIDAY RULED AGAINST TEACHING NEW GERMAN GRAMMAR, ON A COMPLAINT BY A FATHER THAT HIS AND HIS CHILDREN’S BASIC RIGHTS WERE BEING VIOLATED.
BERLIN CULTURE OFFICIALS SAID THEY WILL TAKE THE CASE TO THE FEDERAL ADMINISTRATIVE COURT FOR A NEW RULING. IT WAS NOT CLEAR WHEN THAT MIGHT TAKE PLACE.
THE PLAINTIFF’S LAWYER, ROLF GROESCHNER, ARGUED THAT THE NEW GRAMMAR WAS A FORM OF “DRESS RULES FOR THINKING,” THAT WOULD NORMALLY ONLY BE ORDERED BY AN “AUTHORITARIAN STATE.”
TEACHING THE NEW GRAMMAR VIOLATED THE BASIC RIGHTS OF THE CLIENT’S CHILDREN AND THE FATHER’S CHOICE ON HOW TO RAISE THEM, GROESCHNER SAID.
THE FIVE-JUDGE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT RULED IN FAVOR OF THE PLAINTIFF AND STIPULATED THAT NEW GRAMMAR MAY NOT BE TAUGHT IN ANY CLASSES HIS CHILDREN ATTEND.
CONTROVERSY OVER THE ISSUE STARTED AFTER CULTURE OFFICIALS FROM EUROPE’S THREE GERMAN-SPEAKING COUNTRIES, AUSTRIA, GERMANY AND SWITZERLAND, AGREED ON JULY 1, 1996 TO THE GRAMMAR REFORMS.
THE NEW RULES ARE DESIGNED TO MODERNIZE SPELLING AND GRAMMAR, INCLUDING HYPHENATION. COMMA RULES WOULD BE CUT FROM 52 TO NINE, AND THE TIME-HONORED GERMAN LETTER FOR A DOUBLE “S” _ WHICH LOOKS ROUGHLY LIKE A B – WOULD VANISH.
BERLIN SCHOOL REPRESENTATIVES HAD ARGUED THAT THE CHANGES BEING INTRODUCED IN FIRST GRADE CLASSES OF THE CITY’S SCHOOLS SINCE THE 1996-97 SCHOOL YEAR, WERE NOT SO EXTENSIVE THAT THEY VIOLATED ANYONE’S BASIC RIGHTS.
SCHOOLS SPOKESWOMAN ALMUTH DRAEGER SAID THAT OF 1,470 WORDS TAUGHT PUPILS IN THE FIRST FOUR YEARS, ONLY THE SPELLING OF 32 HAD CHANGED, AND USE OF TRADITIONAL GRAMMAR WAS NOT YET COUNTED AS A MISTAKE.
THE NEW RULES WERE TO TAKE EFFECT AUG. 1, 1998, HOWEVER, MANY SCHOOLS OPTED TO START TEACHING THEM EARLY.
GERMAN PUBLISHERS, WHO RUSHED TO PUT OUT TEXT BOOKS WITH THE NEW GRAMMAR, HAVE SAID THEY STAND TO LOSE 350 MILLION MARKS (DLRS 203.3 MILLION) IF THE PLAN ISN’T IMPLEMENTED.
THE LATEST CASE WAS THE 24TH FILED IN GERMAN STATE ADMINISTRATIVE COURTS THIS YEAR BY PARENTS AND OTHERS OPPOSING THE NEW GRAMMAR.
WHILE MOST OF THE COMPLAINTS WERE REJECTED IN CLOSED COURT RULINGS, THE BERLIN CASE WAS THE FIRST OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, AND THE EIGHTH IN WHICH A COURT RULED IN FAVOR OF A PLAINTIFF.
AMONG THE MORE PROMINENT OPPOSING THE NEW GRAMMAR ARE GERMAN AUTHORS GUENTER GRASS AND SIEGFRIED LENZ. THE GOETHE INSTITUTE, AN INTERNATIONALLY KNOW SCHOOL FOR THE GERMAN LANGUAGE, HAS ALSO SAID IT IS BOYCOTTING THE NEW RULES.
14 NOV 97

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