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figure of speech – about troubled language

a project by
Svenja David

Impulses for Dealing with Historically Troubled Language

Language is the foundation of our interaction. Therefore, we choose our words with care. Well, sometimes better, sometimes worse. I guess the other one knows what I mean. Or doesn’t he:she?
As communicators we decide on our choice of words, but some expressions transport stowaways that we do not always realize. If no one notices, it doesn’t matter anyway. Or does it?

My project deals with the revision of historically stressed expressions in everyday language. Numerous expressions such as »Sonderbehandlung« (special treatment), »Umvolkung« (re-population) or »entartet« (degenerate) are still regularly used in our everyday lives and have gained public attention increasingly due to populist developments. The aim of my project is to create awareness of the use of selected terms by disclosing their past. The thoughtless use of terms with a Nazi background can lead to the normalization of anti democratic thought patterns and the trivialization of crimes in history. Everyone should be able to form an opinion and make a choice whether to use such expressions in everyday life or not.


Special thanks go to MA Jan Uckelmann, MA Kathrin Schulte and MEd Christoph Beeke, who supported me with their comprehensive expertise in history and didactics.