Finding a Voice

Problems of Language in East German Society and Culture


Editors: Graham Jackman and Ian F. Roe
Finding a Voice explores aspects of the use and function of language in East Germany which resulted from Party control of public discourse during the period of the German Democratic Republic. A distinctive feature of the volume, which brings together essays by British and German scholars, is the wide variety of areas which are incorporated in this survey - from political and public discourse, through aspects of sociolinguistics and the teaching of German, to a spectrum of artistic forms ranging from rock music and film to poetry and the novel. In particular, the relationship between public discourse and the events of the ‘Wende' is explored in a number of contributions. Most of the works and issues considered are discussed in English here for the first time, and the volume as a whole should be of interest to scholars concerned with the GDR and with contemporary German culture, to undergraduate and postgraduate students, and also to others interested in the history and culture of Germany since 1945. Nine of the essays are in English and four in German.

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”…a solidly focused thematic anthology.” in: Monatshefte, Vol. 97, No. 2, 2005
“The organizers of the Vlotho conference and the editors of this volume are to be congratulated for producing such a coherent collection of thematically related and carefully edited papers.” in: Modern Language Review, 97.2, 2002
“… Finding a Voice is an important resource for the further work on politics of culture in the GDR.” in: Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies, Vol. XXXIX, No 1, Feb. 2003
Graham JACKMAN: Introduction: ‘Finding a Voice’ in the GDR. John SANDFORD: The Opposition that Dare not Speak its Name. Peter BARKER: From Wendish-Speaking Germans to Sorbian-Speaking Citizens of the GDR: Contradictions in the Language Policy of the SED. Ian F. ROE: The ‘Wende’ and the Overcoming of ‘Sprachlosigkeit’? Gerd ANTOS & Stefan RICHTER (unter Mitarbeit von Markus Metzger): ‘Sprachlosigkeit’ Ost? Anmerkungen aus linguistischer Sicht. Ulla FIX: ‘Sprachverwendung im Klasseninteresse’: Philosophische, sprachwissenschaftliche und sprachpraktische Äußerungen von Wissenschaftlern der DDR zum Gebrauch von Sprache im ‘Klassenkampf’. Stephen BARBOUR: Sociolinguistics in the GDR: The Study of Language in Society in East Germany. Barbara GÜGOLD: ‘Höher, schneller, weiter’: Deutsch als Fremdsprache in der DDR. Osman DURRANI: Language and Subversion in GDR Rock Music. Seán ALLAN: ‘Die Kunst braucht kein Feigenblatt’: Art and the Artist in Konrad Wolf’s Goya and Der nackte Mann auf dem Sportplatz. John P. WIECZOREK: Paul Celan and Johannes Bobrowski: Legitimacy and Language. Helen L. JONES: ‘Volkseigen ist nicht einfach ein Wort, volkseigen — das ist eine Sprengladung’: Language and Identity in Brigitte Reimann’s Die Geschwister. Astrid HERHOFFER: Vor den Worten kommt die Angst: Christa Wolfs Suche nach einer neuen Sprache. Graham JACKMAN: The Quest for a New Language: Wolfgang Hilbig’s Die Kunde von den Bäumen. Abstracts. List of Contributors.