German Academy for Language and Poetry

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The German Academy for Language and Poetry (DASD) was founded on August 28, 1949 , the 200th birthday of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe , in the Paulskirche in Frankfurt and is based in Darmstadt . It is an association of writers and scholars who have set themselves the task of maintaining, representing and promoting German literature and language . The academy is particularly well-known for its annual Georg Büchner Prize .


The German Academy for Language and Poetry is a registered association , about 90% of which is financed by public funds.

In January 2016, its 190 members were elected for life. According to the Academy, there were 191 members in December 2019 after new appointments.

The organs of the German Academy for Language and Poetry are:

All areas of literature and language are represented in the academy; poets, dramatists, storytellers, essayists, translators, historians, philosophers and other scholars who publish in German can be appointed. The Germanist Ernst Osterkamp has been President of the Academy since October 2017.

List of Presidents of the Academy

1950–1952: Rudolf Pechel (1882–1961)
1952–1953: Bruno Snell (1896–1986) (acting)
1953–1963: Hermann Kasack (1896–1966)
1963–1966: Hanns Wilhelm Eppelsheimer (1890–1972)
1966–1972: Gerhard Storz (1898–1983)
1972–1975: Karl Krolow (1915–1999)
1975–1982: Peter de Mendelssohn (1908–1982)
1982–1996: Herbert Heckmann (1930–1999) (1982–1984 executive)
1996–2002: Christian Meier (* 1929)
2002–2011: Klaus Reichert (* 1938)
2011–2017: Heinrich Detering (* 1959)
2017–: Ernst Osterkamp (* 1950)

List of honorary presidents

1952–1961: Rudolf Pechel (1882–1961)
1953–1962: Rudolf Alexander Schröder (1878–1962)
1963–1966: Hermann Kasack (1896–1966)
1963–1966: Kasimir Edschmid (1890–1966)
1976–1986: Bruno Snell (1896–1986)
1979–1983: Gerhard Storz (1898–1983)
1981–1989: Dolf Sternberger (1907–1989)
since 2011: Klaus Reichert (* 1938)



Two conferences of the academy, one in spring and one in autumn, serve to deal with current topics in language and literature, on which public events take place. While the autumn conferences are always held in Darmstadt, the seat of the academy, the spring conferences take place in different locations in Germany and abroad.


The Academy awards five prizes each year. During the spring conference, these will be the Johann Heinrich Voss Prize for Translation and the Friedrich Gundolf Prize for communicating German culture abroad .

The Georg Büchner Prize , Germany's most prestigious literary prize , as well as the Johann Heinrich Merck Prize for literary criticism and essay and the Sigmund Freud Prize for scientific prose will be awarded during the autumn conference.

For each of the five prizes there is a committee within the academy that suggests the candidates, and a jury consisting of the extended presidium , the president, the vice-president and the advisory councils of the academy decides on their value .


In a series of publications published by the Academy, part of the contemporary literature that was suppressed and persecuted between 1933 and 1945 is made available as an appreciation and also to overcome the interruption in literary tradition caused by National Socialism . Forgotten or not yet discovered works by Oskar Loerke , Gertrud Kolmar and Alfred Mombert were made accessible to the public.

In its yearbooks , which have been published since 1954 , the Academy publishes the lectures and presentations given at the conferences, the speeches of the award winners and their laudators as well as obituaries for deceased and self-presentations of newly elected members ( lit .: How they see themselves. Inaugural speeches ... ).

The winning answers to the questions from 1964 to 2000 regularly competitions to problems of language, literature and society were in the series of price writings published.

The series of publications on poetry and language has been published since 1984 and is intended to provide a forum for young, critical authors in particular .

Initiatives and projects

In 2008, for example, the Academy joined the “Books for Iraq” initiative and called for support for a book collection. In spring 2010, the German Academy and the Union of German Academies of Sciences announced a joint project that will in future accompany the observation of language development with a regular “Report on the State of the German Language”. In 2013 the first report appeared as an anthology with the title “Reichtum und Armut der Deutschen Sprache”.

Spelling reform

Since 1996 the academy has been working intensively on the spelling reform , which it was very critical of. The then president of the academy, Christian Meier , represented their point of view, among other things, in the hearing of the Federal Constitutional Court on the spelling reform on May 12, 1998. Meier pointed out the parallels between the spelling reform of 1996 and the planned reform of the Reich Minister of Education Bernhard Rust of 1944, which - had it been carried out - so far would have been "the only deeper intervention by the state in the German spelling". For documentation purposes, the academy carried out a study ( lit .: Spelling reform and National Socialism ).

In addition, the Academy's spelling commission analyzed various editions of the Dudens and published a compromise proposal as a contribution to the reform discussion ( Lit .: On the reform of German spelling. A compromise proposal. ). She thus participated in the discussion with the Intergovernmental Commission. In 2004 the Intergovernmental Commission was dissolved by the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs and a “ Council for German Spelling ” was set up in its place . The Academy has two seats on this council.


In 2002 the German Academy for Language and Poetry published its statement on the debate about the increasing influence of English on the German language :

Conclusion 1:
The integrative power of the German language is great enough to cope with the influence of English , especially since the share of English vocabulary in our lexicons of the entire language is less than 5 percent. A large number of English words that appear in changing contexts quickly disappear and turn out to be ephemera.
Conclusion 2:
The use of German in science, business, politics and culture requires public attention and reflection . Compared to the universal language English, it must be our interest to assert and develop German as much as possible. In parallel with corresponding efforts in France and Poland, Italy and Sweden, great importance must be attached to preserving
multilingualism .

  - Uwe Pörksen : Science speaks English?

See also


(Series of publications)

  • Poetry and Language: Series of publications by the German Academy for Language and Poetry. Hanser, Munich / Vienna 1984 ff., ZDB -ID 252452-1 .
  • Yearbook. German Academy for Language and Poetry. Wallstein, Göttingen 1953 ff., ISSN  0070-3923 .
  • Publications of the German Academy for Language and Poetry Darmstadt. 1954 ff. Schneider, Heidelberg / Darmstadt 1954–1989 / Luchterhand, Frankfurt am Main 1988–1993 / Wallstein, Göttingen 1993 ff., ZDB ID 504305-0 .
  • Literary Germany. Newspaper of the German Academy for Language and Poetry. Heidelberg 1950-1951, ZDB -ID 202653-3 .
  • New literary world. Newspaper of the German Academy for Language and Poetry. Montana, Darmstadt / Zurich 1952–1953, ZDB -ID 202652-1 .
  • Valerio The booklet series of the German Academy for Language and Poetry. Wallstein, Göttingen 2005 ff., ZDB -ID 2196180-3 .


  • Dieter Sulzer, Hildegard Dieke, Ingrid Kussmaul, Michael Assmann: The Georg Büchner Prize. 1951-1987. A documentation. Piper, Munich / Zurich 1987, ISBN 3-492-03166-8 .
  • Michael Assmann (Ed.): How you see yourself. Inaugural speeches by the members in front of the College of the Deutsche Akademie. With an essay by Hans-Martin Gauger . Wallstein-Verlag, Göttingen 1999, ISBN 3-89244-328-9 .
  • Michael Assmann, Herbert Heckmann (ed.): Between criticism and confidence. 50 years of the German Academy for Language and Poetry. Wallstein-Verlag, Göttingen 1999, ISBN 3-89244-343-2 .
  • German Academy for Language and Poetry (Ed.): On the reform of the German spelling. A compromise proposal. 2nd, revised edition. Wallstein-Verlag, Göttingen 2003, ISBN 3-89244-655-5 .
  • Hanno Birken-Bertsch, Reinhard Markner (Ed.): Spelling reform and National Socialism. A chapter from the political history of the German language. Wallstein-Verlag, Göttingen 2000, ISBN 3-89244-450-1 .
  • Hanno Birken-Bertsch, Reinhard Markner: writing and speech, orthography and spelling. Traditional lines of the spelling reform (1944/1996). In: New Rundschau . 2000, ISSN  0028-3347 , pp. 112-124.
  • Uwe Pörksen : Science speaks English? Attempt to determine the location (=  Valerio . No. 1 ). Wallstein, Göttingen 2005, ISBN 3-89244-978-3 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Press release of the Academy about elections from November 2015
  2. Sprachakademie takes on four new members , from December 13, 2019, accessed January 21, 2020
  3. Uwe Pörksen : Science speaks English? Attempt to determine the location (=  Valerio . No. 1 ). Wallstein, Göttingen 2005, ISBN 3-89244-978-3 .

Coordinates: 49 ° 52 ′ 32.9 ″  N , 8 ° 40 ′ 3.1 ″  E