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Historische Texte der DDR aus der Perspektive des linguistic turn

Historical texts of the GDR from the perspective of the linguistic turn
[journal article]

Jarausch, Konrad H.

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Abstract "Though the second German state existed only four decades, it was well on its way to developing an odd language of its own, not immediately understandable to a Western audience. Inspired by the linguistic turn, this article attempted to analyze the effect of this separation of speech on historical research. To begin with, GDR publications used a different vocabulary which was characterized by a kind of double-speak, a noticeable difference between official declarations and personal communications. There was a clean hierarchy with political pronouncements in the lead, ideological transmission texts in the middle and actual daily usage following behind. The SED version of Marxism-Leninism created a new master narrative of German history, led by the working class and culminating in the creation of the GDR which had the effect of creating a public norm. This mixture of ideology, Soviet phrases and party-speak constrained methodological innovation and also led to the swift disappearance of this style after 1989." (author's abstract)
Keywords German Democratic Republic (GDR); GDR research; language; language change; historical analysis; science of history; text; text analysis; communication; Socialist Unity Party of Germany (GDR); Marxism-Leninism; narrative; ideology; linguistics; impact; dictatorship; Weltanschauung; political influence; discourse; rhetoric
Classification General History; Science of Literature, Linguistics
Method historical; theory application
Document language German
Publication Year 2012
Page/Pages p. 229-248
Journal Historical Social Research, Supplement (2012) 24
Issue topic Contemporary history as transatlantic project: the German problem 1960-2010
ISSN 0172-6404
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works