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Language and German DisunityA Sociolinguistic History of East and West in Germany, 1945-2000$
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Patrick Stevenson

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780198299707

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198299707.001.0001

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Building and Unbuilding the GDR

Building and Unbuilding the GDR

(p.55) 3 Building and Unbuilding the GDR
Language and German Disunity


Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on public language use in the GDR. It is organized as follows. Section 3.1 examines the official discourse of the Socialist Unity Party as manifested in statements of various kinds. This formed the bedrock of ‘public language’ in the GDR — not the language of everyday social intercourse, but the discourse of authority and political orthodoxy which ordinary citizens would inevitably encounter, and in which they would develop at least a passive competence. Section 3.2 considers the functions and importance of the ritualization of speech events involving most members of the population (focusing on May Day and the Jugenweidhe, the secular equivalent of confirmation).

Keywords:   Jugenweidhe, language use, ritualization, Socialist Unity Party

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