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Germany

New German Spelling Rules to be Kept, Mostly

The controversial reform of German-language spelling will be officially accepted on August 1, 2005, according to a decision made by the premiers of Germany's 16 federal states during their annual meeting in Berlin. The 1998 spelling reform was meant to reduce the number of spelling irregularities in German, provide consistent rules for word division and compound words, and decide on the spelling of foreign words absorbed by the language. However, many people were dissatisfied with the reforms; several German authors refused to abide by the changes and one of the nation's top newspapers, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, returned to the old orthography shortly after the reform's introduction. Now an official "Spelling Council" will be created, which will include both proponents and opponents of the spelling changes. They will work together to slightly reform the original reform and as of August 1, the new spelling system will become mandatory in schools. Until now, students using the old spellings were simply reminded that they were writing words in an "outdated" fashion.

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