German Spelling Council

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The Council for German Spelling (RdR) was set up in 2004 as the successor to the Intergovernmental Commission for German Spelling of Germany , Austria , Switzerland , South Tyrol , Liechtenstein and the German-speaking Community of Belgium as the regulatory body for the spelling of the German language .

The Council's office is located at the Institute for the German Language in Mannheim . The former Bavarian Minister of Education and Culture Hans Zehetmair , who was re-elected for another term of office on March 25, 2011 , has been chairman . He was succeeded on January 1, 2017 by Josef Lange .


On the website of the Council for German Spelling, the mandate is described as follows: “The Council for German Spelling is an intergovernmental body that has been entrusted by the state authorities to preserve the uniformity of spelling in the German-speaking area and the spelling on the basis to further develop the orthographic set of rules to the essential extent. The council is thus the authoritative body in matters of German spelling and as such publishes the reference work for German spelling with the official set of rules . The Council meets at least twice a year. "


In the summer of 2004 in particular, there was again a heated debate about the meaning of the spelling reform . B. the then Prime Minister of Lower Saxony , Christian Wulff , and several journalists ( Stefan Aust from Spiegel-Verlag , Mathias Döpfner from Axel-Springer-Verlag) had publicly spoken out in favor of a return to traditional spelling . After the German Prime Minister's Conference unanimously approved the reform in November 2004, the Council for German Spelling, in which critics of the reform are also represented, was founded as the successor to the Intergovernmental Commission for German Spelling.

Founding members in Germany included Ludwig Eichinger and Norbert Richard Wolf from the Institute for German Language, Matthias Wermke from the Duden editorship, Ulrike Kaiser from the German Association of Journalists, Rudolf Hoberg from the Society for German Language, Edmund Jacoby for the German Book Trade Association, Werner Besch for the Union of German Academies of Sciences, Ludwig Eckinger for the German Association of Officials and Trade Unions and Wolfgang Fürstner for the Association of German Magazine Publishers. Horst Sitta and Peter Gallmann from Switzerland were among the founding members and in Austria Hans Haider and Helmut Zilk .


  • German is the (co-) official language (de jure or de facto) and the mother tongue of the majority of the population
  • German is a co-official official language, but not the mother tongue of the majority of the population
  • German (or a variety of German) is a legally recognized minority language (marked as a square if the geographical distribution is too thin or too small for the map scale)
  • German (or a variety of German) is spoken by a notable minority, but has no legal status
  • Member States and Territories


    The Council

    The council consists of a total of 41 members, 39 of whom are entitled to vote. 18 of them come from Germany , 9 each from Austria and Switzerland and 1 representative each from Liechtenstein , Bolzano- South Tyrol and the German-speaking Community of Belgium . Resolutions are passed with a two-thirds majority. The council was constituted on December 17, 2004. The council includes both supporters and critics of the spelling reform. In the press release of the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of October 15, 2004, its then President Doris Ahnen had expressly emphasized that the council would be "characterized by a high degree of plurality in its composition" and that it was "a fair offer, especially to the critics" . Theodor Ickler , a strict opponent of reform - representative of the PEN in the council - left the council in February 2006.

    Luxembourg , which already did not take part in the drafting of the reform, but introduced the reformed German spelling to the Luxembourg schools by government decree, only takes part in the German Spelling Council through a co-opted member without voting rights. Othon Neuens, Assistant Inspector in the Ministry of Education, stated in August 2004 that the new spelling was well accepted by Luxembourg teachers and students because of its simplifications. Unfortunately, as a “non-German-speaking country”, Luxembourg has no right to participate in the decision-making process in which direction it is now going. In contrast to this basic attitude that German and French are only "official languages" but not "national languages" (like Luxembourgish ), the Grand Duchy is a member of the Francophonie and has members in the Académie française . The Luxembourg Grand Duke also takes part in the annual meetings of the German-speaking countries .

    Correction suggestions

    Concerning the content-related details: → Innovations of the German spelling reform of 1996

    In April 2005, the Council published the first proposals for correcting the spelling reform, which dealt with spelling separately and together. So z. B. again more verbs or verbs in combination with adjectives are written together, which together have a different meaning than in isolation. For example: "canonize" according to the 1996 reform, "canonize" according to the proposals. "Get to know" can also be written together again. The spelling “sorry to do” introduced with the reform, on the other hand, has been deleted, since then only the spelling “to suffer”, which was introduced as a variant in 2004, has been used. The spelling “sorry to be sorry” used before the reform should continue to be considered incorrect. Hans Zehetmair's announcement that “writing on sick leave” should “be written down again” is wrong in that “writing off sick” has only been written together since the 1996 reform (traditional spelling: “writing sick”). In this case, the reformed spelling is retained.

    On April 12, 2005, it was also announced that, according to the decision of the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs , the "undisputed" parts of the reform should become binding in schools and authorities on August 1, 2005 in order not to unnecessarily unsettle students and teachers . These include the spelling of double s (ss) and eszett (ß) according to Heysean s spelling - for example that instead of that -, the rule for the coincidence of three identical consonants , the hyphen spelling, the capital and Lower case as well as foreign word spelling . Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia announced, however, that they would not adhere to this decision, although they had supported it themselves. Until August 2006, the transitional regulations continued to apply in these two federal states.

    On June 4, 2005, the Council passed its proposal to revise the separate and combined spelling, which should largely restore the custom of traditional spelling.

    On November 25, 2005, the Council finally made proposals on word separation at the end of the line and on punctuation, which partially reversed the original reform rules from 1996. When separating words at the end of a line, for aesthetic reasons, the possibility of separating individual vowels at the beginning or end of a word has been deleted (A-bend, Bi-o) ; on the other hand, ck is still treated like ch and sch (baker, la-chen, washing) , so no longer kk separated (baker) . When it came to punctuation, it was decided, among other things, that between independent sentences, e.g. B. are connected with “and” or “or”, a comma may still be used to structure the sentence, but no longer between such subordinate clauses. Even with Infinitivgruppen is the commas not generally exempted (example: I use the Wikipedia , to inform me , this point needs to be set).

    On February 3, 2006, the Council proposed corrections to the issue of upper and lower case letters. For example, capitalization of “you” in letters and connections of the type “notice board” and “first aid” should be permitted again. The spellings “going bankrupt” and “going bankrupt” introduced with the reform of 1996 should now be written “going bankrupt” and “going bankrupt”, whereas before the reform “going bankrupt” and “going bankrupt” were written. The capitalization of times of day such as "this morning" and "tomorrow evening" introduced with the 1996 reform is to be retained.

    The Council's proposals for corrections to the various areas of spelling were unanimously adopted by the Prime Ministers of the 16 federal states at the end of March 2006 and came into force on August 1, 2006.

    On June 22, 2007, the Spelling Council met for its tenth session. No changes were made to the rules. According to the chairman of the Zehetmair council, the spelling reform is now “bagged” for the print media after the FAZ has largely adopted the rules . For the next meeting, u. a. the review of the sound-letter assignment (e.g. chamois ) is planned.

    Since the modified official regulations came into force in 2006, the Council has been monitoring the use of writing and presented its second report in December 2010. The Conference of Ministers of Education authorized the Council to make minor changes to the official dictionary on its own, so that the adaptations of a few foreign word spellings suggested in the report could be incorporated directly and are binding. The following words have been deleted: Boutique, Fassette, Kabrio [lett], Katarr, Krem, Kreme, Kupee, Maffia, Maläse, Mohär, Myrre, Scharm, Scharmant, Schikoree, Schose, Sketsch, Sutane, carve. The following words have been added: Caprice, Clementine, Crème, Schmand.

    The third report presented at the end of 2016 called for the introduction of a capital letter for the “ß” . The ẞ has been part of the official German spelling since June 29, 2017.

    Association of the same name

    One of the institutions described here is the Council for German Spelling Association, founded in Munich in 2004 . V. to distinguish.

    See also


    Olaf Krause: The advice for German spelling - a portrait. In: Der Sprachdienst , Issue 6, 2016, pp. 203-219.

    Web links

    Wiktionary: spelling advice  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

    Individual evidence

    1. Press release of the Institute for German Language from June 24, 2016: Dr. Josef Lange new chairman from January 1, 2017 ( memento from September 28, 2016 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on June 28, 2016.
    2. ^ About the Council for German Spelling , as of May 20, 2008.
    3. Press release of Axel Springer AG from August 6, 2004 ( Memento from March 11, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
    4. Council for German Spelling , Technical Journal, Technical Documentation, 2004/12.
    5. ^ Fabienne Scheer: German in Luxembourg: Positions, functions and evaluations of the German language . Narr Francke Attempto, Tuebingen, Germany 2017, ISBN 9783823380979 , p. 416.
    6. ^ Statute of the Council for German Spelling of June 17, 2005 as amended on March 30, 2015
    7. ^ Luxembourg word. August 9, 2004.
    8. ^ Francophonie: List of Members (French)
    9. - 14th meeting of German-speaking countries in Luxembourg (27.9.2017)
    10. ↑ In detail in a separate edition (PDF; 377 kB) of the magazine Sprachreport, an overview ( Memento of December 30, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) is provided by the Society for German Language
    11. Original sound from the press conference of the Spelling Council after the meeting on June 22, 2007 ( MP3 ; 47.7 MB)
    12. Transcription of the press conference of the Spelling Council after the meeting on June 22, 2007 (PDF; 36 kB)
    13. ^ Council for German Spelling (Ed.): Report on the work of the Council for German Spelling from March 2006 to October 2010 ( 2nd report of the Council ) . 2010 ( [PDF; 397 kB ; accessed on September 22, 2018]).
    14. KMK press release of December 9, 2010, section Report of the Council for German Spelling , accessed on October 28, 2016.
    15. ^ Council for German Spelling (Ed.): Update of the official dictionary in the field of foreign words . Press release . July 28, 2011 ( [PDF; 38 kB ; accessed on May 28, 2017]).
    16. ^ Council for German orthography (ed.): Third report of the Council for German orthography . Press release . December 8, 2016 ( [PDF; 95 kB ; accessed on January 18, 2017]).
    17. Council for German Spelling (Ed.): Official set of rules for German spelling updated . Press release . June 29, 2017 ( [PDF; 480 kB ; accessed on September 22, 2018]).
    18. The end of “mayonnaise”: That changes immediately with our spelling. In: June 29, 2017. Retrieved September 22, 2018 .