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Majority of Germans say their language is 'degenerating'

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Majority of Germans say their language is 'degenerating'
A German children's bible from 1738. Photo: DPA

Some 65 percent of Germans believe their language is constantly "degenerating," according to a survey released by the German Language Council and the Society for the German Language on Friday.

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Age played a large roll in how positively poll participants viewed changes in the German language. Eighteen percent of the younger participants said they found German richer and more vibrant than ever. One-third of those polled said German vocabulary is bigger than in the past and that computers have increased the amount of reading and writing people do each day.

"Complaints about degenerating language have been around since ancient Greece and Egypt, mainly from older generations," said head of the Society for the German Language Rudolf Hoberg, adding that the poll, conducted in April and including 1,820 participants, was the most comprehensive of its kind for the last decade.

"Every language changes over time," Hoberg said. Language laws to "rescue the German language" aren't necessary, he said, adding that "most people" still haven't come to terms with the grammar and spelling language reform that the German-speaking countries began implementing in 1996.

Just 9 percent of those polled said they were happy with the the so-called Rechtschreibreform.

Many complained, however, that the influence of other languages is increasing while the emphasis on proper diction at home, in schools, and in the media has been steadily reduced.

Germans have grown accustomed to an increased use of English words like "kid," "event," and "meeting," though some 39 percent (mainly older) poll participants said they found it annoying.

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