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Germany

German States Back Spelling Reform

While several German publishers recently rejected the country's six-year-old spelling reform, a clear majority of states intend to stick to the change in schools, according to a news report.

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The new rules will become mandatory in schools next year

Christian Wulff probably won't be too happy when he reads Focus newsmagazine on Monday. That's because a majority of state premiers seem set on rejecting the Lower Saxonian premier's call to throw out the German spelling reform and return to the old rules.

Several weeks ago, Wulff had proposed to do so, saying that most Germans had been confused by the new rules and were not accepting them. He requested that he and his colleagues would discuss the matter at their next meeting on Oct. 7.

But it looks like he might only get support from two other states: While the premiers of the western state of Saarland and the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt side with Wulff, 13 other premiers oppose switching back to the old orthography, according to the magazine.

As a result, premiers are likely to confirm August 2005 as the time when German students will be required to write according to the new rules. So far, the old spelling has still been acceptable as well.

The conference of German state education ministers meanwhile plans to announce a new "Council on Orthography" in September. The group of experts is meant to monitor German spelling and adjust the rules accordingly.

Representatives from Austria and Switzerland, where the new rules have also been introduced, are expected to participate in the council as well.

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