The Influence of Prevailing Ideology on Definitions in Duden Monolingual Dictionaries From the Third Reich Through the Reunification

Lecture | November 14 | 12:10-1:30 p.m. | B-4 Dwinelle Hall

 Laura Sacia Bonicatto, Lecturer, Department of German, UC Berkeley

 Berkeley Language Center

Since 1880, the Duden dictionary has set the official standard for orthography and language use in German-speaking countries. Over the course of 138 years, there have been 27 editions of the Duden, including 7 separate editions that were published during Germany’s split into the East German GDR and the West German FRG. Since the publication of the first Duden, German-speaking countries have undergone dramatic ideological changes that have had a profound effect on prescribed language use. In this talk, I examine a number of key terms related to social order and marginalized communities in Duden editions ranging from 1934 through 1996, including editions published during the National Socialist regime, within capitalist FRG, within socialist GDR, and in Germany after the reunification. The study illuminates how the shifting value systems impact the definitions and prescribed use of these terms, and attest to the important role that language use can play in reinforcing societal attitudes and in bringing forth change.

 vrodic@berkeley.edu, elyseanneritchey@berkeley.edu, 510-877-4002 x19