Is it normal to hate a language?

"How to learn to hate your language"

And the decline in the Sorbian language is, in his opinion, a result of everyday discrimination by the Germans.

The employee of the Sorbian Institute in Bautzen (Görlitz) was a guest at the Wendish Museum in Cottbus on Wednesday evening to present his provocative book "How to learn to hate your language". According to this, Germans and Sorbs / Wends have been living together in Lusatia for around a millennium - nicely next to each other. "In Sunday speeches, Lusatia is always portrayed as so peaceful and bicultural," says Walde. But the resentment of the Germans towards the minority persisted in the middle of society - and is cultivated, for example, through school books.

The geography textbook for Brandenburg's fifth and sixth graders from 2004 contains the following passage: “In some villages, it's not just older people who speak a language we don't understand. “The minority is represented as a homogeneous species that paints Easter eggs - pure folklore, claims Walde. A serious dispute between majority and minority in Lusatia has been missing for centuries.

After epochs of oppression - for example through Bismarck's ban on the Sorbian language in schools or the prohibition of Sorbian organizations by the National Socialists - the minority has been officially recognized since the GDR era.

“But only formally,” as Walde emphasizes. He brings current examples of everyday racism, for example from a nursing home in Upper Lusatia. There are work instructions there, according to which speaking in Sorbian is prohibited if German employees are in the room. Also derogatory comments and contemptuous spray slogans on Sorbian institutions and street signs are the order of the day. The deep roots of prejudices, coupled with the non-violent nature of the minority, led to this coexistence full of resentment. "Anyone who is discriminated against because of their language," says Walde, "directs their hatred against themselves, against their own language, which is not recognized in everyday life." The "Nemcowar", the German speaker, was born. "These are Sorbs who vigorously fight Sorbian in everyday life because it is not recognized," said Walde. The Sorbian writer Arno {scaron} t Muka coined the term in the 19th century. “We have to get involved,” he demands. The common living space, the common history must be recognized and told. "Otherwise the Sorbian language will die," says Walde. And everything that came after that would actually be just folklore.

The book "How to hate your language" has been published by Domowina-Verlag and costs 19.90 euros.