3.1 Critique of language norms (Sprachnormenkritik) in German

  • Ekkehard Felder (Autor/in)
  • Horst Schwinn (Autor/in)
  • Katharina Jacob (Autor/in)
  • Svenja Ritter (Übersetzer/in)
  • Beatrix Busse (Übersetzer/in)
  • Ruth Möhlig-Falke (Übersetzer/in)

Identifier (Dateien)


Language norms and language standardisation processes are closely linked to language reflection and language criticism, being either linguistically described or evaluated from both academic (linguistic) and non-academic perspectives. In the 1980s, the process of language standardisation began to be investigated and described as part of a newly for- med linguistic subfield – Sprachnormenkritik (critique of language norms). The historical perspective shows, however, that intellectual circles had started to reflect upon and criticise language norms and language standardisation processes much earlier and continue to do so to the present day. Since the beginning of the 21st century, linguists have aimed at first describing language norms and language standardisation processes and then evaluating them based on linguistic criteria. This article applies a concept of critique of language norms that spans a continuum of metalinguistic utterances ranging from cautious deliberation of alternative expressions to clearly defined positions on ‘good’ or ‘bad’ language use, including both the academic (linguistic) and non-academic perspectives. Critique of language norms is thus understood here as a reflection on language norms and language standardisation in which criteria are expressed explicitly (by more or less descriptive or evaluative metalinguistic comments), or realised implicitly.


language reflection, language norms, language criticism (descriptive/evaluative), linguistically founded language criticism, conflicting language norms