What is correct and incorrect

„Mature people need to discern by themselves what they are doing, how they are doing it, and what it is doing to them. They must decide if it is good or not good.” – Dr. Moshé Feldenkrais

In 1902 the Federal Council issued binding „Rules for German Language Spelling” for the entire German Empire . The new spelling was introduced by decree on January 1, 1903 in the authorities and on April 1, 1903 (not a joke) in schools. It was also complied to in Austria and Switzerland.

Before 1903 everyone would write pretty much in any way they could, found fit or found pleasing. What a time to be alive!

After 1903 in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, what is correct spelling and what is incorrect spelling has been defined. And went straight up to debate. Since that time people have been arguing vigorously, heatedly, some respectful, some full of anger, on what is correct and incorrect.

I feel for every child that went through a decade (or longer) of compulsory schooling. For having had to sit quietly at the mercy of whomever was in charge of their factory-like processing at any time. I understand that this might have wiped some children’s personality clean of the ability to protest, freed the brain of quite a bit of its original creativity, destroyed dreams, and wrapped and invisible iron cast around the children’s bodies and minds. In some statistics less than 5 % of children graduate without spinal deformities. These deformities were acquired while in school. But who is measuring deformities in their feeling and thinking, in their creative abilities?

For a great many children, long before the end of their schooling process, one main, fearful question was already successfully imprinted into their brains, whatever the task at hand may be:

„Am I doing it correctly?”

Did Picasso ask this question when he painted? Did Bighead and Lil Pump check with their music teachers if the lyrics in their song Gucci Gang are correct? (Youtube flagged their mumble-jumble as age-restricted) Does Plasteed check if his dance moves are correct? Does Lil Buck worry if he uses his feet correctly?

In recent years Austrian writer Wolf Haas became very famous in German speaking countries. For his crime stories. The stories itself are great, but what is remarkable is the language he uses in his books. He omits words, cuts sentences shorts, uses spoken language in writing. This makes his writing very easy to read, and his words come alive vividly.

Technically it’s all wrong. Writing like this? He would have failed to graduate from school. But now he’s a bestselling author. That’s a bit of a problem for the system. Thus, a lot has been written about Wolf Haas’s writing. Linguists went full throttle at it. A whole bunch of academic papers have been published about his use of language.

To me Wolf Haas is a national hero. Not because of his bestselling books. I love his books. But they don’t make him a hero. Wolf Haas is a hero because he had the nerves and the guts to stand up against the schooling system. Wolf Haas is a hero because he gave millions of children, all generations to come, the permission to write in novel ways. To invent their own style of writing. No matter what the overlord teachers in charge of the processing-of-children are saying. Because they, too, read bestselling author Wolf Haas.

Btw, I certainly do check if my spelling is correct. And I do check if my movements flow well, and connect well, when I’m rolling on the floor.