Amok Mama: The greatest lie of our age



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Oh fuck you're right

Okay then I take it all back if she believes in dyslexia. JOKE. I still think she's a fucking bitch. I think someone with half a heart would've written: "Natürlich muss es total schwer sein, wenn man unter Legasthenie leidet, aber viellleicht sind eine gewisse Anzahl der Leute, die das behaupten, falsch diagnostiert worden." If she wasn't a total fucking bitch that is the kind of thing she would've written.

Also anybody who cannnot use spell-check MUST have a Lernbehinderung, sorry. So she just wants to throw people out of uni so her job is easier. I stand by my original diagnosis: she is a meaningless coward and a total bitch and also she's a bit fucking lazy.

Jacinta more than 6 years ago

Legasthenie im Konjunktiv

"Immer häufiger wird dies auch mit der Belehrung verbunden, dass es eine Krankheit gebe, die sich Legasthenie nennt."

"I'm not a hundredth as good at German grammar as her but when I believe a Krankheit exists, I don't talk about it in the Konjunktiv."

The reason for using the Konjunktiv is purely grammatical, it has nothing to do with her (dis)belief in Legasthenie. If you are interested in Zitieren in indirekter Rede, you can read about it here:

David Lehmann more than 6 years ago

Honest mistakes and laziness

"The important matter is that even if an author thinks s/he is using a spell checker it may not be the case in a specific instance. Therefore my assumption is that it is an honest mistake, not laziness."

I guess you are right with this assertion; it is an honest mistake and spell-checkers can stop working with huge or corrupted files.

At the same time I call it laziness or carelessness if you submit your Hausarbeit, die in einem Bachelor-Seminar in der Regel etwa 12 bis 15 Seiten umfasst, WITHOUT checking for spelling and grammar mistakes, logical flaws in reasoning etc. Copying parts of text into a clean, small document for doing the spell-check is an easy thing to do.

By the way, only you and Jacinta (no one else) talk about "stupid" and "stupidity", and HB didn't write anything about "dumm" or "Dummheit".

David Lehmann more than 6 years ago

Subject Shmubject

"At the same time I call it laziness or carelessness if you submit your Hausarbeit, die in einem Bachelor-Seminar in der Regel etwa 12 bis 15 Seiten umfasst, WITHOUT checking for spelling and grammar mistakes, logical flaws in reasoning etc. Copying parts of text into a clean, small document for doing the spell-check is an easy thing to do."

Laziness or carelessness? I'd actually call it STUPID to hand in your assignments WITHOUT checking first :-P
But I doubt this actually happens as often as HB claims it does. She simply indulges in her confirmation bias. I've been looking at language in practice for more than ten years and I haven't noticed any worsening in average competence, inside or outside university. Neither has any of the linguists I am in contact with.

Maybe HB doesn't use the actual word Dummheit but it clear from her text that she's calling into question the students' mental capacity. At the same time she doesn't seem to have a very good grasp of how and why mistakes happen. E.g. she claims that mistaking wieder/wider is an especially unforgivable atrocity whereas from a linguistic standpoint it is perfectly understandable for mistakes to happen at this point specifically.

Rants like HB's are a cheap and transparent attempt to inflate one's own competence by denigrating the others'. Which is of course easier than elevating oneself by actually doing/saying something competent. But if one does so one should make sure that the hot air is enough to blow away the smell of bullshit...

Markus Schäfer more than 6 years ago

Really not clear in the article she believes dyslexia exists

We're not told what per cent of German first year uni students are spelling inadequately, but she seems very het up about it and überzeugt davon that it is more than ever before, huh. So I am saying she thinks of all her German students, some 40% are too bad at spelling for her to be able to bear to do her job without wincing in disgust and pain and stuff, yeah. Of this 40% she says:

Das Lesen solcher Arbeiten ist nicht nur nicht erfreulich. Es ist eine Zumutung. Dabei handelt es sich fast ausnahmslos um Studenten, deren Muttersprache Deutsch ist. Oftmals ist es sogar so, dass ausländische Erasmus-Studenten die deutsche Grammatik besser beherrschen als ihre deutschen Kommilitonen. Wird dieser Missstand laut artikuliert, sieht man sich zumeist sofort dem Vorwurf ausgesetzt, man sei zu streng und dürfe die armen Studenten (oder, um es gemäß der grassierenden Partizipienseuche zu formulieren, die politisch angeblich korrekt, sprachlogisch jedoch falsch ist: die „Studierenden“) nicht überfordern. Immer häufiger wird dies auch mit der Belehrung verbunden, dass es eine Krankheit gebe, die sich Legasthenie nennt.

So she CERTAINLY thinks that if not a clear majority then a sizeable minority of people who have dyslexia are pretending to themselves. She is also not too bothered about people who have dyslexia who might be upset by what she has written. I am not a native speaker, but the sentence "Immer häufiger wird dies auch mit der Belehrung verbunden, dass es eine Krankheit gebe, die sich Windpocken nennt" doesn't make much sense. I really think you are defending her coz I called her a bitch but I think if she read this article she would do a Cruella Deville type laugh and go "Ha ha ha! So glad your stupid dipshit mother was ashamed of her spelling! Would that more German first uni students would shame themselves half as much! Ha ha ha! Are there tablets you can take to ytop yourself being so weak and lazy and stupid?"

I've just taken what she has said at face value. That's all. She said it. I'm not a hundredth as good at German grammar as her but when I believe a Krankheit exists, I don't talk about it in the Konjunktiv.

more than 6 years ago

I think you should check with Hannah Bethke whether it's about bad spellers or people being too lazy to use spell-checkers

I think you are defending her heartlessness way more than she would wish to be defended tbh:

1) "Besonders beliebt scheint in diesem Semester auch das „ie“ zu sein. Regelmäßig muss ich lesen: „Wiederstand“, „Wiederspruch“, „wiederspiegeln“. Werden in deutschen Schulen keine Diktate mehr geschrieben?" NOWT TO DO WITH SPEL-CHECK DOLLS

2)Ich will mich nicht einreihen in den Chor derer, die den Untergang des Abendlandes heraufbeschwören; wenngleich es zur Bestätigung dieser kulturpessimistischen These sicher lohnenswert wäre, eine Umfrage unter Studenten zu machen, wer von ihnen überhaupt noch weiß, was das Abendland eigentlich ist - und wie man es schreibt. NOWT TO DO WITH SPELL-CHECK also you can smell her contempt.

3)Es werden vielmehr auch Fehler gemacht, mit denen man nicht einmal einen Hauptschulabschluss kriegen dürfte - und da hilft auch nicht der Hinweis auf die flächendeckende Verwirrung, die die unsägliche Rechtschreibreform hervorgerufen hat: Ein „Beispiel hier führ“ schreibt einer, „ein Probartes Mittel“ eine andere, „vermeidlich“ (die Autorin meint: vermeintlich), „Vorrausetzung“, „wiederrum“, „Kommulitionen“ (gemeint ist: Kommilitonen) - der Kreativität der Rechtschreibfehler sind keine Grenzen gesetzt.

She really isn't talking about laziness, she is shitting on people she thinks are stupid, and yeah, I think she's really cruel about it. I think she's a cruel person who shouldn't be teaching. When you teach, you have to want to make people more than they are. She wants to squash people.

Jacinta Nandi more than 6 years ago

Razor and Spellchecker Mysteries

"Actually, extrapolating the author's personality, mental capacity OR work ethic seems to me a weaker (simpler) assumption than assuming a document-size-dependent spell-checker, which I have never heard of."

Knowing what I do about mental language processing and manual dexterity, when I apply Occam's Razor I treat most true errors (as opposed to instances of ambiguity) as random occurances (Flüchtigkeitsfehler). I only draw further conclusions if I have many different texts by the same author to analyze and even then the conclusion is never (or rather hasn't been yet) "stupidity" or "laziness". There are actually good reasons for most common errors which allow insights into the mental processes and system of language use IF taken seriously.

Regarding document size and spell checking: I've had spell checkers shut down silently because of document size and other reasons, especially if the docs are edited on a variety of different computers. WHich is not that uncommon if you consider the option of using tablets, laptops and desktop PCs in conjunction. The important matter is that even if an author thinks s/he is using a spell checker it may not be the case in a specific instance. Therefore my assumption is that it is an honest mistake, not laziness.

I find it especially unfair to accuse students of laziness/stupidity when I regularly have to read error-filled documents or emails by professors, bosses, managers etc. who pass the responsibility of correcting them down the hierarchy or just ignore it entirely.

Markus Schäfer more than 6 years ago

Of course she knows there is dyslexia,

it's really silly to claim the opposite. What she says is that dyslexia is not the reason for tons of spelling mistakes. Quite probably, the reason is that they don't care to use the spell-checker.

The other point she addresses is the inability of students to articulate in a clear manner. This is in my opinion much more severe.

"if we threw out all the bad spellers": Again, it's not about bad spellers, it's about students that are too lazy to use the spell-checker.

"heartless bastards like Bethke", "I don't think I judged anyone anymore than she did." Oh my God, are you out of your mind? You are so mean, I can't believe it.

"because she thinks people who can't spell aren't truly human" OmG, you really don't get it, do you? Again, it's not about people who can't spell, it's about students that are to lazy to use the spell-checker. Is it possible that you refuse to see it?

David Lehmann more than 6 years ago

No edit button

If you don't believe in dyslexia you shouldn't be allowed to teach

Jacinta Nandi more than 6 years ago

In a truly fair society we wouldn't have toilet cleaners would we just robots

I think it is the opposite of what a teacher is meant to do, which is to help people learn, i.e. grow, isn't it, writing bitchy articles sneering at the existence of learning difficulties and grassing up your students. If things are as bad as she says they are then the contempt in this article should be replaced with real panic and she shouldn't quote actual mistakes.

But of course things aren't even half as bad as she says they are. Not even a tenth. She's just a snooty cow and I know I was a bit mean and a bit wild and a bit judgemental, but fucking hell, man. She is seriously seriously seriously lacking in empathy. I actually think people who don't believe in the existence of dyslexia should be allowed to teach and I also think papers should be marked anonymously. And I think they should go through Germans schools and unis and everyone who thinks dyslexia is an "excuse" for being stupid should be forced to do extra training. Let's suppose 10% of people diagnosed with dyslexia are these fake whingey losers Bethke thinks they are. The ill consequences of them being treated as if they have dyslexia are FAR LESS than the consequences of the 90% of people who really have dyslexia being told by heartless bastards like Bethke and crew that they're just stupid and they should pull their socks up and accept that they are stupid and get out of uni. I mean, it doesn't make sense anyways, if things are as bad as she says they are then all the unis would have to close down if we threw out all the bad spellers coz she makes it sound like there is literally nobody in German unis who can spell properly.

I don't think I judged anyone anymore than she did. That tablets line was pure hate in a jar. She didn't think anyone would get mad about it because she thinks people who can't spell aren't truly human?

Jacinta Nandi more than 6 years ago

Occam's Judge

I thought you would not be a judge in a truly fair society because I had the impression that your judgement is not the highest and fairest possible.

Occam's razor suggests to take explanation with the weakest assumption.

"When I notice a typo I prefer to apply Occam's razor instead of extrapolating the author's personality, mental capacity and/or work ethic from that occurance."

Actually, extrapolating the author's personality, mental capacity OR work ethic seems to me a weaker (simpler) assumption than assuming a document-size-dependent spell-checker, which I have never heard of.

David Lehmann more than 6 years ago

How much is too much?

"Reading a text that is full of spelling and grammar mistakes can be a very cumbersome task; sometimes it will not be clear what the message is. This is simply not acceptable at a university."

I agree that it can be cumbersome but how many mistakes does it take for it to be so? In my experience the amount of mistakes a text can take before being cumbersome is much higher than the amount needed to summon the Rechtschreibpolizei. The latter usually is not interested in textual clarity at all.

Regarding what is acceptable in university: Actually much of the scientific literature I read for my studies (even in linguistics) contains spelling mistakes, sometimes in huge numbers. This has never kept me from engaging with the content of the texts. I also work as an editor for university textbooks and I know from experience that even the smartest people sometimes are bad at spelling. Interestingly no one would even think of calling the professors who violate the rules of spellling and grammar "stupid" or "lazy".

Form my work in editing and on my own dissertation I also know that spell checkers do not in fact always work reliably, especially with larger documents.
When I notice a typo I prefer to apply Occam's razor instead of extrapolating the author's personality, mental capacity and/or work ethic from that occurance.

Markus Schäfer more than 6 years ago

I would be a BRILLIANT judge!

I would make all the rapists and murderers do serious serious serious jail time and I would let all the Schwarzfahrers off, in fact I'd give all the Schwarzfahrers some food vouchers and a free U-Bahn Jahreskarte. I would be such a great judge, that would be such an excellent job. I would LOVE to be a judge or Kunsttherapeutin. That must be really fun too.

I just cannot believe the line that we are at an all-time low, precisely because of what you say re: spell-checking. We cannot as a whole be spelling worse than we were 10, 15, 20, 50, 100 years ago. That means, for me, that she's got an agenda and for me that agenda is lording it up over people who can't spell as well as she can.

Jacinta Nandi more than 6 years ago

In a truly fair society

[Rechtschreibung über alles]

I hope you feel better after your rant. Partly you are right. But I think you have missed an important point: It is not only about knowing how to write and intimidating the ones that don't know. It is very easy (really very easy) to correct about 90% of these spelling mistakes by using the spell-checker and the grammar-checker can correct at least some of the grammar mistakes. If you don't use it, this means that you are lazy or don't care. (Funny enough, Hannah Bethke also made at least two language mistakes.)

Reading a text that is full of spelling and grammar mistakes can be a very cumbersome task; sometimes it will not be clear what the message is. This is simply not acceptable at a university.

I don't think HB would be a Toilettenfrau in a truly fair society. And I don't know what JN would be (probably not a judge).

Now I hope there are not too many mistakes in my text.

David Lehmann more than 6 years ago

Rechtschreib uber alles

I have a degree in German and English linguistics and am about to finish my doctorate and I have to agree with Jacinta. The people moaning about the state of the German Rechtschreibung are usually not really interested in language at all, they rather want to lord it over anyone others. Most often they themselves are stuck in a set of antiquated rules for correct language that they have arbitrarily declared as a standard for all. Everyone who does not adhere to their rules is stupid and worthless.

The same people are often strictly opposed to any attempts at gaining unbiased data about those alleged "Rechtschreibmuffel". It's their way or thbe highway - everybody has to accept their view of the rules but they would never budge even an iota because that would mean venturing into unclear territory where they would suddenly be on par with the former targets of their ridicule and ire.

Needless to say if you confront these Avatars of Rechtchreibung with scientifically backed linguistic data which contradicts their views they just stick their fingers in their ears, go LALALA and run away.

Markus Schäfer more than 6 years ago

People always do that I no rite spelling znot importent joke

And I kind of think the joke shoots itself in the foot igzackly BECAUSE a) I can understand what you've written and b) even Hannah Bethke isn't claiming that people are writing their papers in txtspk, streetslang or a cheeky mixture of the two.

Have you read Trainspotting? It was as hard to read as your comment. I'm not saying essays should be written like that, I'm just saying. It was really fucking hard to read.

I mean, obviously I stick to the rules of spelling. Even when FB-chatting I spell everything pretty orthodoxly. There's a few mistakes I like to make: igzackly, awright, snot & coz. I'm sure there's a few more. But generally I spell things as you are meant to spell them in the dictionary. My problem with the article isn't that I disagree with the concept of standardized spelling, my problem was with the idea that people who are unable to reproduce standard spellings when writing independently are in some way lazy, disrespectful or, even, slightly evil and with the Überlegenheit with which these people were condemned. What would it hurt people to try to imagine for two seconds, three seconds, maybe, what it is like to not be able to spell? It wouldn't hurt. It wouldn't hurt one ickle bit

Jacinta Nandi more than 6 years ago


a metacriticism regardi8ng criticism of misusung languadjes? tthairs bad languaje and bad nollege of language, sometime thei eksist in the same porson at the same tim. but basicly your rite, fuzzyng about speling is just plein stoopid. go fugg speling!

jabgoe more than 6 years ago

The ability bit was a quote

I should've done quote marks. I'll admit that. Quote marks would've been better.

Jacinta more than 6 years ago

Over-availabilty of tertiary education

This isn't even A Thing in Germany, is it? People still learn trades etc ("Ausbildungen"). I think it's hard enough to get into German unis - in no other western country are the children of immigrants or Trinkerfamilien less likely to get into uni than here. The UN says so. So I think standards are high enough, really. What exactly would be achieved by making it even harder? Nothing, huh, Hannah Bethke would just have slightly less work to do.

And we only stuff so many kids into uni in the UK coz we don't have any skilled jobs left and we've got such high youth unemployment. Oder? It's basically just a Beschäftigungsmaßnahme. And the standards are a lot lower, it's almost impossible to fail a degree in the UK. If we got rid of unis, we'd have loads of unemployed kids roaming the streets, that's all.

It's my birthday today! I feel in love with everyone. I even feel like saying sorry to HB, not for saying fuck you, but for saying she'd be the first to die when aliens attacked etc.

It's "convincing" not convince. I'm really not saying that to be a cunt, I'm really just pointing it out so you see that everyone makes mistakes, nobody's writing perfectly,nobody, and you can look at people's spelling mistakes and say "This mistake means this person is a dickhead" or you can, basically, choose not to. I bet you any money Bethke's text got copy-edited. There's no way it didn't. She's just choosing something to look down on people for. It's really silly. But it's my birthday so I forgive her for it. Almost. I bet she looks back at this text when she is on her death bed and the proliferation of spell-check means that spelling mistakes basically don't exist anymore and she'll feel like a right twat.

Jacinta more than 6 years ago


Is anybody else allowed to participate in this discussion (or are you having some kind of proxy lovers' tiff?)

I attended a pretty average school. My spelling was not good. I learned how to use a dictionary, read good literature--and tried to write coherently and correctly at university. I wanted

a) my arguments to be convince. Good spelling and grammar will help put arguments across whereas stumbling over inconsistencies such as citing two 'abilities' (see below) with different prepositions (to and of) and then referring to these abilities in the singular will tend to annoy and thus detract from cogency.

b) good grades. Direct result of consistency in executing a). Didn't always work, but certainly helped.

Never mind the spelling. Read the article, please. The author is making a point about the over-availbaility of tertiary education. Why shouldn't students have to make an effort to prove that they're worth the time and effort invested in their future?

comprehensive kid more than 6 years ago

Nope, I still don't care that much about spelling. How many more times would you like me to put this in writing?

It's amazing to see that you still focus on the spelling "issue", while I try to point out that it's not what the text is about,

The text is discussed quite clearly, and as far as I can see, without perceivable bitchiness, here:
They also point out that the issue in the text is not the spelling...

And the reason why I'm writing here is summarized here:

You're welcome.

Karim more than 6 years ago

I think

- Abitur, which is actually called "Hochschulreife", meaning "general qualification for university entrance", is supposed to educate people well enough to visit an university.
- This includes the ability to express oneself clearly.
- This includes the ability of using a word processor

I think most people have this ability, I think most of Hannah Bethke's students have this ability, To be honest, I think all of them have, I bet her article got copy-edited, I bet they changed at least three or four letters here and there, you know. That's what copy-editors do. I think the truth is she is lording it up over them because she is a fairly unintelligent person in general, and correct spelling is something she holds close to her chest, desperately, slightly forlornly. Also, I think I've made this point clearly enough.

"Reality might be slightly different from what you expect, but somehow, right now, you manage only to see/read what you would like too" It's would like to, not would like too. I don't think getting one letter wrong discounts you as a person. That's all I'm saying. It's really not a very controversial point. My mum wrote me a letter during the Afghanistan war where she wrote "Tony Blair is justifying himself because he knows he is wrong" it made me laugh at the time but I know you know I am right. Nobody spells perfectly, everyone does their best, and the only people who feel smug about spelling better than dyslexics are people who've never analysed anything, not language, not our Klassengesellschaft, and also, not themselves.

Jacinta Nandi more than 6 years ago

It's also not about dyslexics

Just to be sure, I just read the article again, and it does not say that dyslexics are morons, but that the term dyslexics is used too freely by parents and teachers, not unlike ADHS.

Please confirm that you can at least see the difference in the statements I used, if you can't bother to read the article itself calmly.

Close-mindedness does not win arguments.

Karim more than 6 years ago

That's not what her article is about

Her article is suggesting that spelling the word Vorraussetzung with two R's is such a heinous crime that reading papers with this spelling mistake in is a Zumutung for poor Hannah Bethke. I mean, you're having a go at me for not having read her article and yet at no point in her article does she acknowledge that some people who can't spell might be fairly articulate but bad spellers.

I don't know why you're defending her so much. You spell hobby with an -ie. I think that's a totally normal mistake to make, coz it's hobbies in the plural, she thinks you shouldn't be allowed near a university.

Jacinta Nandi more than 6 years ago

Let's try it the other way

Can you agree with the following statements:

- Abitur, which is actually called "Hochschulreife", meaning "general qualification for university entrance", is supposed to educate people well enough to visit an university.
- This includes the ability to express oneself clearly.
- This includes the ability of using a word processor.

If you agree with this, you are basically agreeing with Hannah. And no, you lost all high ground you might have had when you asked for her to be shot. So, calm down, and apologize.

Karim more than 6 years ago


One more time: IT'S NOT ABOUT THE SPELLING! IT'S ABOUT EXPRESSION! There is a difference. And it's not about your spelling or expression, or that of your mom, or of that of your ex-boyfriend.

Also once more: Try paying more attention. Reality might be slightly different from what you expect, but somehow, right now, you manage only to see/read what you would like too, instead of the actual content.

Karim more than 6 years ago

Also how will schools get better by her sniggering at dyslexics?

Even if she's right and dyslexia is just a made-up excuse "I'm not dumb, I'm lernbehindert!" do you really believe anybody - anyone - any one single fucking person alive - is going to get better at spelling coz their High School teacher reads this hatchet job & then goes into school & says to them: "Actually, you're not lernbehindert, you're just really fucking stupid, some professor says so in the F.A.Z."

I just think it is a lie to pretend that people who complain about bad spelling - when they're as vitriolic as this article is - actually want standards to improve. And some of the mistakes she complains about are incredibly tiny. And I don't believe her about the Groß/Kleinschreibung, just sometimes people get confused about whether Kotzen's a noun or a verb.

Jacinta more than 6 years ago

Oh c'mon Karim

She enjoyed every moment of writing this, you know that and I now that. And unless she's been grading papers all over Germany for the past fifty years, her personal experience isn't scientific proof of standards slipping generally which is what she is implying by writing this article, Sprachnotstand usw. I'd like to see some scientific evidence of standards having slipped in general. There isn't any, there's just a thousand smug articles declaring a new Sprachnotstand year after year after year.

Jacinta Nandi more than 6 years ago

And I don't care for your BMI

Congratulations on finally writing something that has something to do with Hannah's article, and not just off-topic ranting, and not insulting! Took a while, though! Still, what she said is: Schools should be better. Since she is actually grading papers and you aren't, I'll trust her opinion rather than yours. Because "I don't think so" is just not a very convincing argument.

And no, looking down on people is not enjoyable - It makes only poor conversation. Nonetheless, pointing out that things could be better should be allowed to, without getting death threats.

Karim more than 6 years ago

No, I don't mind you calling me fat

I just think it's a bit irrelevant.

Yeah I know it was about students. And I don't believe first-year-uni are writing worse than they used to, nor do I believe that Hannah Bethke sat down and thought "What can I do to make my first-year-uni students write better?" I think she sat down and wrote a bitchy article, and thought that the people she was sneering and sniggering at would be too ashamed to defend themselves.

I don't think I've said anything meaner than her comment about how maybe they've invented pills against dyslexia. I really don't. And I think you're just so angry because you think educated/intelligent people have the right to sneer at and laugh at uneducated/unintelligent people, because they are intrinsically better, like, morally better.

I hate myself for writing this, but I have a 2:1 B.A degree from Exeter Uni in French & German. It was a piece of piss, I hardly ever went to lectures, I can't speak French, I enjoyed the philosophy stuff but I didn't really learn anything. Standards in the UK are a lot lower than in Germany, huh. I have a lot of respect for university learning and everything, I really do. I just don't believe her, and I just think at one point in her article she could've written the words "It is hard, though." Instead it's just sneering. Her whole article is just one sneer.

And if it's true they're doing the work on the computer, then it's a made-up sneer, too.

Jacinta Nandi more than 6 years ago

Dude, chill

It's about people inside universities. Not about everybody else. People go to universities to get degrees that are supposed to certify a certain level of education. Hannah says that the standards for these people, and FOR THESE PEOPLE ONLY, should be, and stay high. What Hannah's article is not about:
* How anybody else should use the German language
* How people attending university should use the German language outside of university
* How well non-native speakers should be able to speak or write German, specifically outside an university.

And no, the work Hannah mentions is, in almost all cases, done on computers. This is not about tests written in class, but about multi-week assignments people get to do at home.

From what I'm reading (you're struggling with the concept of "doctor" vs. "physician"), you haven't had the opportunity (yet?) to visit an university. I would highly recommend it, though, since I could really help with your reading comprehension and argumentative skills. And even if you think otherwise, this is probably the least condescending thing I wrote here: Reading and arguing properly is hard, and can take a long while to learn, and more so if one is prone to get angry quickly.

And I really don't care about your weight, but from the article above I gathered that you would enjoy an insult or two, as you seem to be good at dealing them out. Since it appears that you don't cope that well with receiving them, try to think, or at least chill, before you write.

I would seriously consider issuing a public apology before you get sued, though. And more so since you still haven't grasped the content of the article...

Kairm more than 6 years ago

It's hobby not hobbie dolls, seeing as how you think spelling's so important

Look at this video: Look at what he says at Minute 4:3, in that Thomas Moore play which people believe was written by Shakespeare the word sheriff is written in six different ways in three lines. How can you say spelling is getting worse? I think it's a really annoying thing to say and yeah, I do think it's slightly evil. I think it's a slightly evil way of looking at the world, to say that at this point in history, where we have higher literacy than ever before, a few people writing Vorraussetzung is an actual threat to Hannah Bethke's happiness.

I don't think what I wrote was any bitchier than what she did. She has literally never sat down and wondered what it is like to not be as wonderful at spelling as she is. I think she should. I think Germany would be a better place if middle-class Germans finally finally FINALLY realized that not everyone is as wonderful as the are.

I don't believe in these people who write Vorraussetzung on their PC's and they see the squiggle and they don't correct it. I think it must be people writing by hand, maybe they do tests by hands or something? If they're not doing any written tests in German unis anymore, then she made it up to feel better about herself.

PS: I have a BMI which is like on the border of Normalbereich/Übergewichtig but I also have no respect for ppl who think that thin people are cleverer than fat ppl, don't be weird Karim. Nobody thinks that, you're just being silly

PS2: I really think my anger is justified. She doesn't see these ppl who can't spell as human. Someone has to stick up for them, illiterate as they are, if they stood up for themselves she wouldn't be able to decipher the meaning of the alphabet spaghetti they spewed up in their comments. I don't think she's ever been confronted with actual anger. She's a bully, and she's used to sitting about with other people who are good at spelling and sniggering at people who aren't as clever as her. She should actually wake up and realize how hurtful her snobbery is. I also meant what I said about her not being particularly intelligent.

PS3: I did read it. I just didn't read it slowly. Every time I read it slowly, I got even angrier about another shitty thing she'd written.

Jacinta Nandi more than 6 years ago


You admit to not having read the article before writing this rant and insulting other people based on perceived bitchiness? Using actual, instead of perceived, insults/death threats? I believe that you could get sued (successfully) for some of the stuff you wrote on facebook. Is this how you determine worthiness of your fight?

It turns out (one of my points) that the losers (your word) actually have free dictionaries in their word processors and chose not to use them (As you may know, nobody uses typewriters anymore).

But let me propose some solutions:
- Get a grip, and be ashamed of yourself!
- Get a new hobbie and/or job.

On a side note, I hope that you'll get fat as well!

Karim more than 6 years ago

Reading problems

Okay, so I don't read properly in German, coz I read too quickly and I skim over the texts so then I just understand the bitchiness and not the logic of the arguments. However, I also think German people sometimes cloak bitchiness with logic.

I do not believe that any more Abitur-students are spelling Vorraussetzung steada Voraussetzung than 5, 10, 5 years ago. However, imagine if it were true, what are Bethke's solutions? She doesn't mention any solution apart from the fact that reading these badly spelt words is a thing she can't bear to do - that's not a solution. This really annoyed me about the article. She could've been all like, let's give these losers free dictionaries.

Also: imagine if she's right, and dyslexia doesn't exist, it's just a fantasy stupid people make up to console themselves for being bad at spelling. How can she feel vitriol towards these people making up this desperate lie (leaving aside the fact that fucking doctors believe that dyslexia exists for a moment, yeah, she's right and it doesn't exist and the people are lying to themselves coz they can't bear the truth: that they're stupid)? How can she feel superior and satisfied about that fact?

I am a bitch, but I'm a bitch to people who are worthy of the fight, huh. I don't go around kicking tramps in the eye and stuff.

Also, my mum's really skinny, she's really ill and she's really skinny. But it's not coz she's ill that Hannah Bethke's snobbery annoyed me, it's just the spelling thing. I don't think it would be an insult, though, if my mum were fat. I think women are allowed to be thin or fat or tall or short, have any colour hair. I erm. That insult doesn't hurt me, it just kind of fills me with despair that people think it would. But still. That's the kind of person who defends Bethke's spelling snobbery. Bit comforting, really.

Jacinta more than 6 years ago


I really like the warning below the comment text box that says "Comments are automatically posted but will deleted if they are not on-topic and/or abusive.".

Maybe a responsible grown-up at exberliner can remove Jacintas article from this page, then!

Karim more than 6 years ago

Jacinta Nandi may be able to write succinctly, but reading: not so much

I'd really like to expand on my previous comment, and add a few insults to the discussion:

Jacinta read (allegedly) an article that states that people having a German Abitur, which is supposed to prepare them for attending university. The article also states that this criterion is not met by many of the people the author teaches at university.

Both points are not contested by Jacinta. Or, I think, not even mentioned in this article. Which leads me to the conclusion that Jacinta has (obviously) no issues bringing her points across using written words, but might be a much better person if she had reading comprehension skills only half as good as her writing.

Until this changes, Jacinta is probably just one, very big, bitch.

Karim more than 6 years ago


the comments are surprisingly hateful (Jacinta Nandi wants her to be shot, others call her a cunt, a nazi - the full program)
Hey folks, it´s only about the use of the german language, of a quite complicated language - and by someone who seemingly loves the precise and well-set words. It´s not about rape, war, nukes...would you commenters regain your cool, bitte. Save the death-wishes for someone who deserves it. And even there - more love is always ok.

JC more than 6 years ago

Fuck you, Jacinta


The issues raised in Hannah's text are:
- People going to uni may not be able to express themselves clearly (which is an issue)
- People going to uni are not able to use motherfucking spellcheckers in 2014 and should be ashamed of themselves.

Both issues are not related to your mom. Also, I hope that your mom is fat.


Karim more than 6 years ago

Karim's mom

Fuck fuck fuck fuckady fuck fuck fuck.

Doesn't hurt anybody.

Cartman more than 6 years ago

Exberliner need not be a mechanical one-way portal.

Something creepy I have noticed about the comments side of the Exberliner; one does not have the option of editing one's comments. I make so many silly mistakes in my comments, grammatic and plain, typical typos and the sad thing is, re-reading my comments after submitting and picking all those silly errors that I can't do anything about.

Please, provide the 'edit' button/option.

Thank you!

Ganja more than 6 years ago

I think the silliest/most mendacious bit

is this idea that people have got worse at spelling. People are writing more and better than ever before. The lower classes are writing more, the middle classes are writing more. And I can't believe that there weren't any kids in 1984 or 1964 or 1944 or even 1924 who thought it was spelt Vorraussetzung. I just can't believe it. And if there really were less (fewer) people, it wouldn't be THAT much really wouldn't be. And we're certainly writing lots better and even spelling much better than we were in the 19th Century, not that I really think good spelling is important - I think it's necessary, but not important - however we are spelling in a much more uniform way than we were in the 19th or 18th Century, anyone can see that.

Jacinta Nandi more than 6 years ago

"meritocratic? metricratic? meriotractic?"

"I think if Germany were a truly meritocratic society people like her would have to work a lot harder to achieve the things they achieve" Going by her smugness, a given or achieved or learned characteristic itself, it is more like 'maronettecratic' if you are wondering!

Yeah, I think 'meritocratic' is an existing word; so, no, you haven't invented it and for that, no Nobel Prize for, well, wordsmith for you! Schade!

But I like the passion with which you wrote the article and it's evident in all your subsequent comments.

I guess Hannah Bethke and any specie of her ilk from planet unknown wouldn't bother reading my comments because, according to her linguistic purity propaganda, they wouldn't pass her platinum standard. They would come off to her as so poorly written that she would instantly and involuntarily puke over them; that's the best honour she could give them.

These are really obnoxious types!

Ganja more than 6 years ago

Can no longer reply to comments, this is for Duh

Like people used to say "pleasanter" or "handsomer" and nobody does now and everyone accepts this change, everyone accepts all the changes that have happened and yet the changes which are happening are seen as corrupting and menacing - see Studierende. Like as if Studierende is especially less logical than Studenten, it's so crazy.....I also think the whole paranoia about Denglisch is a bit mad. Like we got the word drink from the Saxons (am guessing yeah) so what does it matter if they have Getränk and Drink and we have drink and beverage?

more than 6 years ago

MJ Corrigan asks "If it's not, why do you have editors at ExBerliner?"

Here's my two cents!

Editors' primary role at any publication is primarily not to ensure language purity but making sure the content, the publication itself and its authors/columnists toy the publication/editorial line; usually defined and given to them by those who write them cheques and pay their handsome salaries who are often, incidentally or not, owners of the political establishment with its front men/women you often see, the politicians.

Ask yourself this, could the Exberliner ever possibly run a piece, no matter how well articulated and grammatically correct it might be if, a) it did not fit or; b) violated the editorial purpose or briefing that would otherwise compromise their future funding or their masters?

My honest guess is that Exberliner would, as indeed would any major newspaper publication, rather run a half-arsed, poorly articulated piece if it served their editorial purpose or if it tickled their masters', the cheque writers, armpit into writing even a big cheque next time.

Ganja being a little blunt... more than 6 years ago

"it hasn't occurred to them to go and become butchers or something"

"become butchers" you mean become animal slaughters?
Let's supposed Hannah Bethke has chosen her occupation as, the butcher, ie, animal slaughter, but alas, no she did not, she chose to go to university to get an 'education', to get 'educated' on all the ways and techniques of 'education' so she could 'educate' others; so she was taught and perhaps learnt structured ways of doing certain things but nonetheless a very narrowly defined parameter of education, of learning; like grammar, which is about structure and cares less about content.
So, Hannah Bethke, after having gone through that indoctrination phase in her, she came off at the other end of the indoctrination process with a giant fucking chip on her shoulder; that's, a fucking degree or two or even worse, a fucking Phd (Pull him/her Down), a qualification but Hannah Bethke, chose to become a butcher, a slaughterer, not of animals but of people's character, their aspirations, butchering them with her half educated-limited knowledge fangs-fitted tongue.

Makes one wonder why we call people who slaughter animals, butchers and those who slaughter human beings, murderers. Couldn’t we just make it a lot simpler and have one word for these people; call them butchers. After all, animals or people, it is slaughter!

Ganja wondering confusedly more than 6 years ago

I'm also with Hannah

Wait - are you saying grammatical mistakes shouldn't be corrected in case you hurt someone's feelings? "Commas are more important than human beings" is a hysterical reaction to the original article, whose basic point is that grammar is important in order to convincingly put across your argument. If it's not, why do you have editors at ExBerliner? Why not just shambolically bung everything up online if grammar and spelling aren't important?

MJ Corrigan more than 6 years ago


I'm not suggesting she shouldn't correct students' work for fear of hurting their feelings. That is not what I am suggesting at all. I think it is her job to get a red pen and squiggle over all the extra R's in the word Vorraussetzung. I think that is what her fucking job is. SHE is the one who is suggesting that that is a "Zumutung", that people who can't spell shouldn't be allowed onto university courses and that dyslexia doesn't exist as in "Immer häufiger wird dies auch mit der Belehrung verbunden, dass es eine Krankheit gebe, die sich Legasthenie nennt" and then "An deutschen Schulen und Universitäten hat eine systematische Niveaunivellierung stattgefunden, die das Ergebnis einer wachsenden Scheu ist, den Lernenden gegenüber Grenzen zu ziehen, schlechte Leistungen als solche zu benennen, Unterschiede zu sehen und zu akzeptieren, anstatt allen - ob sie dafür geeignet sind oder nicht - alles eröffnen zu wollen" and I don't think someone who is such an illogical AND unoriginal thinker should be throwing all these "You're not clever enough to be in my university" stones around. I don't think she's clever enough to be published in F.A.Z. - the article certainly isn't - and I think if Germany were a truly meritocratic society, people like her would have to work a lot harder to achieve the things they achieve and that would wipe the smug smile off of her face.

Jacinta more than 6 years ago

I might have just invented the word

meritocratic? metricratic? meriotractic? you know the word, what Blair said we were in 1998.

Jacinta Nandi more than 6 years ago

2 tings

1) lots of scientific research supports the idea that poor spellers tend to be better "big picture" thinkers than excellent spellers. a human brain trying to make sense of a larger, conceptual meaning (like the meaning of a sentence, or paragraph for example) will ignore unimportant details like whether or not the eyes are scanning one or two "r"s.

2) strange that people with no understanding of how language evolves over time can claim to be so concerned about the fate of language. there is a reason words in any language were spelled one way 400 years ago, and a different way today ("olde" vs "old" in English, for example): people don't care that much about whether there is an e at the end of a word or not. Or whether there are two "r"s in a word. Its irrelevant to the communication of meaning, which is the obvious point of words.

Duh more than 6 years ago

2 tings

Today's native speakers can't even really understand a text from 1000 years ago.

Duh more than 6 years ago

I'm with Hannah...

...on this one. Spelling is a basic skill required for participation in academic life. Accuracy and precision must count for something, oder? Or maybe these qualities are just a vestige of the patriarchy? Hannah's tone might be annoying and smug, but she's right.

Seymour Gris more than 6 years ago

"She knows she's a smug, small-minded person"

"She knows she's a smug, small-minded person"
'Smug'she might be, after all, isn't that a common characteristic of people of her ilk , you the 'educated' type with a fucking chip on their shoulder!
But 'small-minded? Did you not begin by calling her a uni lecturer? How can a universitylecturer be a 'small minded' person? Aren't these types the kind at the top of the heap called society? You know, the creme de la creme; you might even say, the juiciest of the juicy depending on your fucking perspective, although it would have to be, well, let's say, dirty. And that's another thing these unimaginative, linguistic purity, pseudo intellectuals don't get - originality!

They want and expect everyone to be confined in their narrowly defined parameters of 'right' & 'wrong' use of language(s)

Anyhow, you just given 'small minded' a whole new definition and meaning; a university lecturer whose head is far up their bottom the only best advice they have for their students is to encourage them to stick their own heads up their bottoms as the only way they can get possibly stand a fucking chance to get ahead in life. That's education for you and the kind of vomit inducing spiel you get from the 'educated' types who think they it all.

Ganja failing to mince words and failing on PC more than 6 years ago

Read the original article

She's small-minded. She's small-minded because she doesn't have the imagination to IMAGINE what it must be like to be less clever at spelling than she is, can't conceive of what it feels like to not be able to spell. She's small-minded because instead of feeling sympathy or genuine concern for people who are "less" than her, she feels only scorn and contempt. But most of all, she is small-minded because she doesn't mention ANY FUCKING SOLUTIONS. She's just moaning. They're not as clever as her, they don't know when to use capital letters and when not. I would respect her more if she said: "Let's shoot everyone who is less than me" or "Let's put vitamins in the drinking water so they get a bit cleverer" or at the very fucking least "Let's give these useless cunts some free dictionaries." But no, there's no solution, and absolutely no point to her article.

Jacinta Nandi more than 6 years ago


ADD doesn't cause bad spelling. She's accusing others of carelessness, but this is such a half-arsed article....does she really think she knows more about dyslexia and learning difficulties than a doctor? I think she just became a Dozentin because her parents are university-educated, and actually has no love for her students, subject or the concept of learning at all. I actually think that DDR thing they had where you could only go to uni if your parents hadn't would stop idiots like this going to uni just because they think they have to, just because it hasn't occurred to them to go and become butchers or something

Jacinta Nandi more than 6 years ago

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