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Hypercorrection (more rarely: hypercorrection , also hyperurbanism ) is a phenomenon in sociolinguistics . Hypercorrection occurs when speakers adapt their use of language to a language variety that is regarded as exemplary and thereby make a change that goes beyond the model - which is a mistake from the perspective of the correct language norm . Hypercorrection is typically observed in those who are socially upwardly motivated and who try to adapt to the language used by higher classes , which is perceived as the norm . It is a form of over-generalization .

From the point of view of language pedagogy , hypercorrection is one of the so-called interference phenomena and is considered there independently of the “higher” or “lower” language norms and between any languages.

Examples in German

  • Apfricose . Explanation: Spokesman north of the Speyer line , who knows that Appel means apple in High German .
  • Church instead of cherry , history instead of history (in Helmut Kohl's quote of the “mantle of history”), technical instead of technical . Explanation: Rhine or Moselle-Franconian speaker who knows that there is a distinction between ch and sch in standard German .
  • Küschentich instead of kitchen table or Greek instead of Greek , corrects twice in the wrong direction, thus swapping ch and sch and can occur in the Moselle-Franconian language area, in the Rhineland and in Upper Saxon dialects.
  • Prüter instead of brothers , swaps so-called “hard” and “soft” consonants (b / p, d / t, sometimes also g / k), which occurs especially in Franconia and Saxony when the speaker tries to pronounce standard German.
  • Drugs instead of drugstores . Explanation: Wrong analogy formation with Low German speakers who know that the Low German ending -rie becomes High German -rei , as in bakery, confectionery, slachterie . Similarly, the meadow becomes a sage with some Alemannic speakers.
  • Pronunciation and spelling of weird or hideous with g at the end instead of sch or ch , because the speaker believes that sch or ch is colloquial language.
  • Pferdinand instead of Ferdinand for North German speakers who omit the pounding sound for peach or horse .
  • Gesus my confidence often sang the faithful in the Rhineland, because they knew that many of her as J spoken consonants in standard German on G loud.

Hypercorrection can also occur when learning a foreign language . The sound [w] ( labialized voiced velar approximant ) does not occur in German and is often reproduced by German English learners as [v] (as in the German winter ). It happens that speakers are aware of this and - when trying to correct their pronunciation - also speak [w] where English actually requires a [v] (e.g. in victim, valley, Vancouver ). Another comparatively common example is the pronunciation of the name of the British monarch Elizabeth II with the th sound not only at the end, but also in the middle instead of the sibilant “z”.

See also


  • William Labov: Hyper-correctness of the lower middle class as a factor in language change. In: William Labov: Language in a Social Context. Description and explanation of the structural and social significance of language variation. Volume 2. Ed. Norbert Dittmar and Bert-Olaf Rieck. Scriptor, Königstein 1978, pp. 129-146. ISBN 3-589-20576-8 . (English 1966)
  • William Labov: Sociolinguistic Patterns . Blackwell, Oxford 1972.
  • Joshua Blau : On Pseudo-Corrections in Some Semitic Languages . Jerusalem, Israel Academy of Sciences , 1970.

Web links

Wiktionary: Hypercorrection  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Helmut Glück (Ed.): Metzler-Lexikon Sprach . 4th edition; Verlag JB Metzler, Stuttgart and Weimar, 2010, ISBN 3-476-02335-4
  2. See for example Ernst Burgschmidt, Dieter Götz: “ Contrastive Phonology German - English and Dialect Interference. “In: Linguistik und Didaktik 11, 1972, pages 209 to 225.
  3. Idiolect. Retrieved July 28, 2020 .