German Language Association

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German Language Association
legal form non-profit registered association
founding November 12, 1997
Seat Dortmund ( coordinates: 51 ° 29 ′ 26 ″  N , 7 ° 24 ′ 12.1 ″  E )
main emphasis Preservation and promotion of German as an independent cultural language
Chair Walter Kramer
Members 36,000 (2019)

The registered German language association (VDS) is a German language association based in Dortmund . It was founded in 1997. The club counts claims to 36,000 members (June 2019). The chairman of the association has been the economic and social statistician Walter Krämer .

Club goal

The association was founded as the Association for the Preservation of the German Language (VWDS) and renamed Association German Language in April 2000 .

“The association pursues the goal of preserving and promoting the German language as an independent cultural language.” It primarily takes action against “ Denglisch ”, but does not reject the adoption of foreign words from English if they fill a gap. In the language policy guidelines of the association it says: “We do not demand that German should be kept free of English foreign words or 'protected' from them. Like many other languages ​​in Europe, German is a mixed language. The vocabulary of German is enriched by words and phrases from other languages. "

The association newspaper Sprachnachrichten has been published in the autumn of 2008 in a reformed spelling . Basically, the association sees spelling rules as less important for the German language: "The many anglicisms cause their phonetic and written image to shake much more permanently than a few unsuccessful spelling rules."

Membership structure

According to its own information, the association has 36,000 members (June 2019), mostly men aged 45 and over, often with academic training in technical, scientific and legal professions. There are numerous celebrities among the members. The VDS has published a selection on its homepage.

Also legal persons can be members of the club. Some local authorities have taken advantage of this opportunity . Mühlhausen / Thuringia was the first city to join the association in 2005 . The cities of Gotha , Rastatt , Landshut and Trossingen as well as the districts of Sömmerda and Harburg followed (as of 2010).


Regional groups

In Germany the association is organized in numerous independent regional groups. They send delegates to an annual delegate assembly that elects the eleven-member board. The association is represented on all continents abroad, but not in Austria and Switzerland, because there are independent language associations there that work together with the VDS. The association has had a branch in Denmark since 2011.

The Cologne group, which also feels connected to the Cologne dialect , has been awarding the Teacher Welsch Language Prize since 2004 , which the Cologne a cappella group Wise Guys received in 2006 . Other winners are Die Sendung mit der Maus (2009) and the Cologne music group Höhner (2011). The Hamburg regional group awards the Elbe Swan Order annually .

Working groups

In the last ten years, the association has expanded its subject areas significantly beyond language maintenance. For this purpose, numerous working groups have been set up with a focus on language policy issues such as German in politics , German in administration and business , German in science , training and schools, and contemporary German .

Club newspaper

The German Language Association publishes, among other things, the quarterly association newspaper Sprachnachrichten , which, according to its own information, had a circulation of 30,000 copies in June 2019 (45,000 in 2013). It has also been available online since 2002 and in newsagents from 2009.

Scientific Advisory Board

In linguistic issues the association is an association founded in 1999 "Scientific Advisory Board " to the side, made up of mainly linguists and by the German studies Roland Duhamel ( University of Antwerp is passed). Not all of the nine members of the advisory board are members of the association.


The association is financed mainly through its membership fees and donations, mostly from the circle of members, as well as through income from book sales and the like. He has tried several times in vain to raise public funds.



Language fan of the year

The German Language Association annually awards the negative prize “ Sprachpanscher of the year ” to institutions and people who use a lot of Anglicisms or Denglish in public language .

German Language Culture Prize

Together with the Eberhard Schöck Foundation , the VDS annually awards the German Language Culture Prize , one of the most highly endowed language prizes in German-speaking countries.

"Headline of the Year"

Since 2010, the German Language Association has been awarding the undoped “Headline of the Year” award. According to his own statement, two characteristics should be taken into account: summarizing the essence of a contribution in a few words, as well as the creative use of wordplay richness, which the German language has no less than others.

Prize winners:

Anglicism Index

The association has been publishing an " Anglicisms Index" (previously: "Anglicisms List") since 2002 , which appears both on its website and in annual new editions in book form, in 2019 under the title The Anglicisms Index: German instead of Denglish , published by Achim Elfers . It is a text-based, alphabetically ordered monolingual dictionary with English loanwords in German, which aims to encourage people to use “German words” instead of anglicisms. In addition to the anglicisms itself, the index contains a rating according to the categories "complementary", "differentiating" and "suppressing" as well as recommended substitute words. The index is based on the dictionary of superfluous Anglicisms by Reiner Pogarell and Markus Schröder, first published in 1999 .

"German Language Day"

In 2001, the association introduced the “Day of the German Language” campaign, which takes place in September every year, to draw attention to the state of the German language.

"German into the Basic Law"

In September 2005, on the occasion of the 5th day of the German language, the association called for a signature campaign for an amendment to the Basic Law "The language of the Federal Republic is German". A working group was set up for this in the same year.

In January 2011, the VDS, together with the Association for German Cultural Relations Abroad (VDA) and the Bild newspaper, made a new foray into “German into the Basic Law”. 46,000 signatures were received for the initiative, which were handed over to the President of the Bundestag . Shortly afterwards, the VDS and VDA submitted an online petition to the German Bundestag to include German in the Basic Law, which was followed by 5,165 online signatories.

Petition "Put an end to gender nonsense!"

On March 6, 2019, the VDS started a petition with a text drafted by the journalist Wolf Schneider entitled “No more gender nonsense!”, With which to “resist” the “destructive interventions in the“ motivated by the striving for more gender equality ” German language "was called. Co-initiators were the writer Monika Maron , the first chairman of the VDS Walter Krämer and the teacher association functionary Josef Kraus . The signatories included celebrities, writers, scientists as well as ex-diplomats and ex-Bundesbank directors, lawyers and entrepreneurs. As of November 4, 2019, the association had 74,185 signatures. Krämer explained the motives for the petition in an interview with the Neue Zürcher Zeitung : It has nothing to do with equality . He accuses supporters of gender language four mistakes and believes in a preventive effect of the appeal for politics. Under the heading “Against gender terror in the German language”, the association offers “argumentation packages”.

The linguist and signatory of the petition Josef Bayer wrote in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung that “as a rule, there are no linguists who promote the gender language project”, although the proposals come primarily from the universities. "If you listened to it even a little, linguistics could bring the wrong track of supposedly gender-sensitive language to light more easily than any other discipline." The "gender language" has nothing to do with natural language change, but is "a little reform put on from the outside". Apart from a lot of stylistic and aesthetic derailments, it will not produce anything positive and certainly nothing progressive.

The writer Katja Lange-Müller justified her signing with the fact that she had weighed up what was more important, “the matter, i.e. our language, or the (fact) matter that we as first signatories had to fear from various medial 'mushroom growers 'Immediately to be deported into one dark corner, where we would then have to be ashamed of ourselves ”. She asks the question of whether it is about (gender) justice or, “in one camp as in the other, about being right? How just can a person be and how just their language? ”Her conclusion:“ If we act more justly, this will probably soon have repercussions on our language, which is constantly changing; conversely, no shoe becomes out of it, neither the shoe nor the shoe (s) ”.


Johan Schloemann wrote in the Süddeutsche Zeitung : “For historical reasons, Germany does not have a central language academy. The Duden editorial team, the Darmstadt Academy for Language and Poetry , the Mannheim Institute for the German Language and the Council for German Spelling share this task with one another without excessive presumption . The linguistically conservative VDS regularly encounters the normative gap left by these institutions. Some of its members may seriously care about our language, which in itself is not reactionary, but more necessary than ever. But with calls against 'gender nonsense' you are by no means just getting close to the CDU chairman, who sees 'the most tense people in the world' at work, but into the orbit of the AfD, which is instrumentalizing this issue emotionally. "

In the linguistic world, the call met with some sharp criticism. The linguist Thomas Niehr told Deutschlandfunk : “Paternalism is being criticized and I cannot recognize this paternalism.” On the occasion of the petition, Henning Lobin , Director of the Leibniz Institute for German Language, wrote : “The association often reports in press releases , Actions and events on this topic and use your own position to fuel the debate as much as possible. Language is depicted as the pure body of an innocent being who is 'disfigured', 'twisted' or 'raped' by his opponents and who has to be manly protected. "

The linguist Helga Kotthoff criticized: “The appeal only promotes hyperradical pros and cons. There is no differentiation whatsoever. ” Anatol Stefanowitsch said the appeal leads“ back to the past at full throttle ”. The undersigned are "predominantly older people who see their language habits violated". Like Kotthoff, he is critical of the direction of the association: "The German Language Association is increasingly showing a reactionary view of the world and is looking for links to right-wing populist discussions."

Tobias Wenzel summarized culture in a cultural press review from the features on Deutschlandfunk Kultur : First, the appeal of the VDS attracted criticism, then its critics. The journalist Thomas Schmid quoted by him saw in Die Welt the “musty wind of bondage” blowing with the “discourse sheriffs”. Tiny minorities are able to impose their point of view on the majority, the institutions and the state. The “progressive intelligentsia” should - instead of accusing the signatories, known as progressive, of being “useful idiots of the AfD” - why writers, intellectuals and scientists who were always open to the new and the change, who did not stand still like and appreciate experiments, to join forces at once to put a stop to the genderization of language.

Criticism from linguists

Opinions in linguistics about the VDS are divided. On the one hand, he has individual linguists on his scientific advisory board. On the other hand, the VDS is considered a linguistic purist association. “According to its own statements, the VDS does not want to be counted among the language purists. […] Has clearly shown, however, that the VDS is a linguistic purist association. ”This view is shared by numerous linguists. In 2002 Thomas Niehr was of the opinion that the VDS ignored “fundamental knowledge and distinctions in linguistics”.

In an open letter in 2016, a group of 37 well-known linguists criticized the association's attitude as "a prime example of intolerant, unenlightened linguistic purism" and that the VDS repeatedly served nationalist tendencies. You accused the association of being hostile to science, that it pursues a kind of language policy that is not the job of linguists.

The linguistics describes the German language by the association criticized phenomena almost always as phenomena of language change . Language change had shaped the form of language as it is known today; For many centuries the regulation of language by normative institutions had been a marginal phenomenon, and language developed largely independently. The laws of language change and language economy (production and reception economy ; that is, the least possible effort for the speaker and for the listener) played a role, but also social aspects. Languages ​​have been changed again and again by the fact that other languages ​​enjoyed high social prestige; in the case of German, this happened last in the 18th and 19th centuries through French, which resulted in numerous loanwords in German.

In the 20th century, English took over this role from French, especially after 1945. However, through general distribution via the mass media, much more and broader sections of the population were reached than in previous centuries. This has led to the fact that the current development of technical languages ​​in German is often viewed as problematic, especially from the non-linguistic side, since in many modern areas of communication the development of the German vocabulary is only taking place to a limited extent with native language means.

In 2011, Thomas Niehr wrote that the association's “aggressive purism with a national focus” was particularly evident in the voice messages . It is often pointed out that the German language is just as threatened as German culture. The threat and extinction scenarios contained "a political component in which the Germans (unlike other peoples) are portrayed as particularly submissive and not very self-confident".


The VDS has been a partner association in the Federal Association of Medium-Sized Enterprises (BVMW) since 2003 .

In 2009 the association joined the European Movement Germany network .

The Theodor Fontane Society , the Swiss language group German and the registered association German honorary office are given as further memberships . In total, the VDS refers to 13 partner organizations and 45 organizations that are themselves corporate members of the VDS.


In 2005, the language rescue club left Bautzen / Oberlausitz e. V. the association after eight years of membership; the VDS lists him today as a partner organization. In 2006, 20 people, most of whom had previously worked in the VDS, founded the “Aktion Deutsche Sprache” in Hanover.

Similar clubs in other languages


See also


  • Jörg Kilian, Thomas Niehr , Jürgen Schiewe : Language criticism: approaches and methods of critical language observation. 2nd, revised and updated edition. De Gruyter, Berlin 2016, ISBN 978-3-11-040181-3 , pp. 90–93: Section Current representatives and tendencies in lay linguistic language and style criticism: The German Language Association.
  • Karoline Wirth: The German Language Association: Background, development, work and organization of a German language association. Doctoral thesis University of Bamberg 2009. University of Bamberg Press, Bamberg 2010, ISBN 978-3-923507-65-8 ( PDF download on ).
  • Thomas Niehr : Linguistic Notes on a Popular Anglicism Critique. Or: From the search for the more appropriate German expression, which is necessarily unsuccessful. In: Sprachreport. No. 4, 2002, pp. 4–10 (extended version of the article as PDF: 185 kB on ).
  • Markus Nussbaumer: Comment on: The future of the German language. A polemic. Edited by Helmut Glück and Walter Krämer. Ernst Klett Schulbuchverlag, Leipzig 2000. In: Journal for Germanistic Linguistics. No. 1, 2003, pp. 109-118.
  • Falco Pfalzgraf: Efforts to introduce a language protection law since German unification. In: German Life and Letters. No. 4, 2008, pp. 451-469.
  • Falco Pfalzgraf: Neopurism in Germany after the fall of the Wall. Lang, Frankfurt / M. u. a. 2006, ISBN 978-3-631-54854-7 , pp. 68–91: Chapter The German Language Association (VDS).
  • Anja Stukenbrock: For love of the mother tongue? The VDS and the foreign-word-purist discourse tradition. In: aptum - magazine for language criticism and language culture. No. 3, 2005, pp. 220-247.

Web links

Individual evidence

  • ( c ) Karoline Wirth: The German Language Association: Background, development, work and organization of a German language association. PhD University of Bamberg 2009. University of Bamberg Press, Bamberg 2010, ISBN 978-3-923507-65-8 ( online at; PDF download on; Extract in the Google Book Search).
  1. Wirth, p. 187.
  2. Wirth, p. 188.
  3. Wirth, p. 190.
  4. Wirth, pp. 192-193.
  5. Wirth, pp. 229-238.
  6. Wirth, p. 289.
  • ( v ) German Language Association (VDS): Homepage. Retrieved July 1, 2019.
  1. a b c VDS: Association.
  2. ^ VDS: Articles of Association.
  3. ^ VDS: Language Policy Guidelines.
  4. ^ VDS: Reden und Widerreden - Arguments on the German language. (No longer available online.) 2014, archived from the original on September 25, 2014 (XXIV. "The new spelling is worse than the many anglicisms."). ;
  5. ^ VDS: Known Members.
  6. ^ VDS: Elbe Swan Order.
  7. ^ VDS: working groups.
  8. VDS: Voice Messages.
  9. VDS Association Newspaper: Voice Messages. No. 57, 1/2013, p. 32 ( PDF: 5.5 MB, 32 pages ).
  10. VDS: Scientific Advisory Board. Quote: “[...] renowned linguists. Some of them, plus proven language enthusiasts outside the VDS, have formed a scientific advisory board. "
  11. ^ VDS: Headline of the year.
  12. VDS: 2013: Image "Yes, we scan!" (PDF: 28 kB, 1 p.) November 27, 2013.
  13. VDS: About the index.
  14. VDS: Thoughts on the fifth day of the German language 2005. (No longer available online.) September 30, 2005, archived from the original on April 18, 2015 (Thoughts on the fifth day of the German language 2005). ;
  15. VDS petition: No more gender nonsense! The appeal and its initial signatories. March 6, 2019.
  16. ^ VDS: argumentation packages.
  17. VDS press release: Bares Deutsch: Mittelstandsverband and VDS enter into partnership - common demand: promote the use of German in the EU. (No longer available online.) September 18, 2003, archived from the original on February 11, 2011 .;
  18. a b VDS: partner organizations of the VDS.
  • Other documents
  1. ^ Claudia Knauer: German language association now also in Denmark. (No longer available online.) In: September 8, 2011, archived from the original on December 3, 2013 ; accessed on July 1, 2019 .
  2. WDR press release: "Teacher-Welsch-Sprachpreis" for "Die Sendung mit der Maus". ( Memento from March 4, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) In: WDR press lounge. June 25, 2009, accessed July 1, 2019.
  3. Message: Höhner awarded the Teacher Welsch Language Prize. In: October 7, 2010, accessed July 1, 2019.
  4. Announcement: "Headline of the Year": "taz" awarded for a Brüderle headline. In: Spiegel Online. November 25, 2011, accessed July 1, 2019;
    Quote: “Shortly before the elections in Stuttgart, Rainer Brüderle surprised with an admission that no one had expected: The government's nuclear stop had tactical reasons. The "taz" drew the necessary conclusions - now it has been awarded for the "Headline of the Year 2011". "
  5. Message: Image declines price with thanks. In: November 28, 2013, accessed July 1, 2019.
  6. Paul-Josef Raue : "May Day" and "Leyen-Spiel": The headlines of the year. In: . December 11, 2017, accessed July 1, 2019.
  7. “Go swimming with Thomas Cook” is the headline of 2019. In: - the translator portal , December 1, 2019, accessed on March 18, 2020.
  8. Achim Elfers (Ed.): The Anglicisms Index: German instead of Denglisch. Edition 2019 . IFB Verlag Deutsche Sprache, Paderborn 2019.
  9. Reiner Pogarell, Markus Schröder (Ed.): Dictionary of superfluous Anglicisms. 1st edition. IFB-Verlag, Paderborn 1999. This dictionary has been revised and expanded several times and the 9th edition was published in 2012.
  10. ^ Announcement: Initiative for constitutional amendment: German as a language should be included in the Basic Law. In: Spiegel Online. November 9, 2010, accessed on July 1, 2019 (Bundestag President Norbert Lammert received 46,000 signatures: an initiative pleads for a constitutional amendment that establishes the German language in the Basic Law).
  11. Petition 15500: Basic Law - German as a national language in the Basic Law of November 26, 2010. German Bundestag , November 26, 2010, accessed on July 1, 2019 .
  12. a b Dorothea Hülsmeier: Gender equitable language: New appeal against the "gender nonsense" - "terribly silly". In: March 8, 2019, accessed July 1, 2019.
  13. Marc Felix Serrao interviews Walter Krämer : “The more politicians recognize that gender politics costs voters, the better”. In: March 8, 2019, accessed July 1, 2019.
  14. ^ Josef Bayer : Languages ​​always change - but never in the direction of nonsense. In: April 10, 2019, accessed July 1, 2019.
  15. Katja Lange-Müller : Dispute over gender language: It means language, not writing! In: March 13, 2019, accessed July 1, 2019.
  16. Johan Schloemann : German language: The tub is full. In: Sü March 7, 2019, accessed July 1, 2019.
  17. Thomas Niehr in conversation with Gesa Ufer: Criticism of the German Language Association. Anti-gender call is too polemical. In: Deutschlandfunk Kultur. March 7, 2019, accessed July 1, 2019.
  18. Henning Lobin : The rejection of “gender language” - produced by the media. In: Scilogs. April 8, 2019, accessed July 1, 2019.
  19. Tobias Wenzel: From the feature pages: Lively debate about gender-sensitive language. In: Deutschlandfunk Kultur. March 16, 2019, accessed July 1, 2019.
  20. Thomas Schmid : When the she-wolf with the sheep ... In: March 11, 2019, accessed July 1, 2019.
  21. Falco Pfalzgraf: Neopurism in Germany after the fall of the Wall (= Austrian German - language of the present. Volume 6). Lang, Frankfurt / M. u. a. 2006, ISBN 3-631-54854-0 , p. 91.
  22. ↑ The following statements are mentioned here as examples:
    • "Due to its one-sided goal and its unscientific and unreflected approach and expression, the VDS [...] can be assigned to the negatively affected movement of foreign word purism."
      Claudia Law: The linguistic struggle for the national and cultural identity of Germany. Puristic responses in the 17th and late 20th centuries. In: mother tongue. No. 1, 2002, p. 81.
    • "In the so-called 'guidelines' of the German Language Association [...] a partial purism is represented [...]."
      Jürgen Spitzmüller: Meta-language discourses. Attitudes to Anglicisms and their scientific reception. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2005, p. 269 f.
    • “Even today there is no lack of linguistic purist societies. One of the best known is the German Language Association. ”
      Damaris Nübling , Antje Dammel u. a .: Historical linguistics of German. An introduction to the principles of language change. 2nd, revised edition. Narr, Tübingen 2008, p. 141.
    • "[...] the German language has often attracted the attention of purists. […] There is, for example, […] the Verein Deutsche Sprache […]. "
      Stephen Barbour: Defending Languages ​​and Defending Nations: Some Perspectives on the Use of 'Foreign Words' in German. In: Máire C. Davies, John L. Ford, David N. Yeandle (Eds.): 'Proper Words in Proper Places'. Studies in Lexicology and Lexicography in Honor of William Jervis Jones. Akademischer Verlag, Stuttgart 2001, p. 361.
    • "The VDS [...] had the more openly purist name Association for the Protection of the German Language [...], but after some negative press was re-named with the more neutral sounding shorter version."
      Peter Hohenhaus: Standardization, language change, resistance and the question of linguistic threat. 18th century English and present-day German. In: Andrew R. Linn, Nicola McLelland (Eds.): Standardization. Studies from the Germanic languages (= Amsterdam studies in the theory and history of linguistic sciences. Series IV. Current issues in linguistic theory. Volume 235). Benjamin, Amsterdam 2002, p. 161.
    • Manfred Görlach speaks of a "[...] puristic society, ie 'association for the preservation of the German language' (now renamed 'Verein Deutsche Sprache') [...]"
      Manfred Görlach: English in Europe. Oxford University Press, Oxford 2002, p. 17., “The Verein Deutsche Sprache, a purist institution of word-watchers […].” And: Manfred Görlach: English words abroad. John Benjamin, Amsterdam / Philadelphia 2003, p. 169.
    • Petra Braselmann is critical of “[...] Puristic language maintenance associations such as B. of the VDS […] “
      Petra Braselmann: English in the Romania. In: Rudolf Hoberg (Ed.): German - English - European. Impulses for a new language policy (= topic German. Volume 3). Dudenverlag, Mannheim 2002, p. 302.
  23. Thomas Niehr : Comments on a popular Anglicism criticism. In: October 2002, accessed on July 1, 2019 (extensive text).
  24. Open letter to the enclosure of Research & Teaching (7 | 16). 2016, p. 1 ( PDF: 98 kB, 2nd p. On
  25. ^ Co-signatory Henning Lobin : Sprach-Pegida and the German University Association. In: SciLogs . July 25, 2016, accessed July 1, 2019.
  26. Christian Efing, Rudolf Hoberg : language education and language awareness as a prerequisite of language support: The dominance of English and its consequences for the German. In: Ulrich Ammon , Gabriele Schmidt: Promotion of the German language worldwide: Proposals, approaches and concepts. De Gruyter, Berlin / Boston 2019, ISBN 978-3-11-047923-2 , p. 63.
  27. Stefan Niggemeier : The Pegidahaftigkeit the association German language. In: Übermedien . August 1, 2016, accessed July 1, 2019.
  28. Thomas Niehr in conversation with Katja Lückert: "Association of German Language": Development towards language pegida? In: August 23, 2016, accessed July 1, 2019.
  29. Thomas Niehr: From the »foreign word epidemic« to »language fraud«. Foreign word criticism yesterday and today. In: Birte Arendt, Jana Kiesendahl (eds.): Language criticism in school. V & R Unipress, Göttingen 2011, ISBN 978-3-89971-820-1 , p. 97.
  30. German language area: Homepage.
  31. ^ German honorary office: Homepage.
  32. ^ Language rescue club Bautzen / Oberlausitz: Homepage.
  33. German language campaign: Homepage.