Johnson, Sally (2002) On the origin of linguistic norms : orthography, ideology and the constitutional challenge to the 1996 reform of German. Language in Society, 31 (4). pp. 549-576. ISSN 0047-4045
This article explores one aspect of the many public protests surrounding the 1996 reform of German orthography: the first in a series of LEGAL challenges, which was brought before the Federal Constitutional Court in May 1996. The first section begins by proposing how and why such protests can be usefully theorized in terms of Blommaert's (1999) concept of a “language ideological debate,” and then describes the historical background essential for an understanding of this legal dispute. The second section focuses on a critical analysis of the case brought against the reform, looking at the details of the challenge itself, together with the justification for its rejection by the Constitutional Court. The third section considers what this dispute can tell us about debates over the perceived origin of orthographic norms, with particular reference to the ideological relationship between individual, speech community, and (nation-)state. Finally, there is a brief summary of the way in which the matter was finally – albeit unsatisfactorily – resolved in 1998–1999.
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