Catholics usually give up sweets, meet or alcohol during Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday, but a German organization has come up with a somewhat different fasting suggestion: clean language.
Don't say it if you can't say it well
On Wednesday, the Carnival parties are over and fasting starts in earnest - welcome to Lent. Now an organization that promotes language purification called Deutsche Sprachwelt has begun a campaign to have 40 days of "clean" language, urging people to give up foreign words in addition to alcohol.
This abandonment of "fast-food" speech will give each individual a chance, until Easter, the opportunity to sharpen one's awareness of the subtleties of the language," said Thomas Paulwitz, the editor of the association's newsletter.
Chocolate, but hopefully not bad speech, will be back come Easter
"Many people during Lent give up their beloved habits in the spirit of abstinence, in order to sharpen and deepen their feelings about life," he said. "They fast, give up alcohol, television and blasphemous speech. We believe purifying speech will have just as positive an effect."
Seduced by foreign words
Paulwitz calls attention to the "little devils" that people are seduced by, for example, the hyperbole people use to put themselves into a better light. He rails against the inclusion of foreign words such as "event, fun, happy" and at words such as "mega, super, hyper."
Professor Hans-Manfred Niedetzky, head of the Association for the Care of Language refers to the Apostle Paulus who warned: "Who knows how many languages there are in the world and nothing is without language. If I can't make sense of the sounds, then I am for the speaker a stranger as he is for me."
"This bible verse should be learned by heart by all," said Niedetyky. "Especially so by those using designations such as 'Jesus house' or 'linking knowledge' or 'smartsourcing'. Such expressions of foreign gluttony should be turned back from our language because they hurt our comprehension."