Around 70 linguists have launched an appeal against gendering in public broadcasting (ÖRR). The “so-called gender-appropriate language” is ideologically motivated, disregards valid spelling norms and produces “social unrest and that in times in which numerous social tendencies towards division can be observed anyway,” says the call, about which the “world” reported at the weekend.

The signatories call for “a critical re-evaluation of language use in the ÖRR on a linguistic basis”. Gendering has increased significantly there since 2020.

The starting point of this language practice is “the evaluation of the generic masculine as a discriminatory form of language, which we as linguists and philologists reject”. Words like “the person” and “man” could refer to people of any gender.

From the point of view of the scientists, gender leads to a “pronounced sexualization of language, i.e. to a permanent emphasis on gender differences”. With a view to the desired goal of gender equality, it is therefore dysfunctional.

In addition, the signatories state that the Council for German Orthography pointed out in March 2021 that special gender characters such as gender asterisks, colons or underscores “do not correspond to the official set of rules, since these forms make comprehensibility, clarity and legal certainty of terms and affect texts”. Disregarding the valid spelling rules is not compatible with the broadcaster’s educational mandate as formulated in the Interstate Media Treaty.

The language use of the ÖRR is a benchmark for millions of viewers, listeners and readers. From this arises the obligation for the broadcasters “to orientate themselves in texts and formulations to applicable language norms and to deal with the cultural asset language in a compliant, responsible and ideology-free manner”, according to the scientists: inside.