The German Language Will Be Simplified in 2016
[Authorial advisory: It is strongly suggested that you read this article until its very end and trust your intuition.]
Due to many complaints about German being too difficult to learn, the German Institute for Efficiency in International Relations (Bundesinstitut für Effizient in internationalen Relationen, short: BIER) has initiated an Initiative to improve the learnability of German. A commission consisting of renowned experts has already published some very promising suggestions. Among others...
###sorry for being late for April 1 :-)
As soon as I read that the acronym was "Bier" I pretty much got it. But you know, German already went through at least one round of simplification (mostly in spelling) in the 20th century, although not as drastic as this "article" proposes, naturally, and also I read a few months ago that Portuguese is undergoing a (slight) spelling revision / standardization. Finally, reading up on Danish (since I have fallen in love with this quirky little language) I learned that up until (?)1948ish (I forget the exact year) they also capitalized all nouns, but just decided to stop, so I don't see why TPTB in the German speaking countries couldn't decide to make a similar change (not that I'm advocating this change, I'm just saying that it's not too far-fetched for a community of speakers of any language to agree to reforms in spelling and usage. Oh, and for grammar, I just read an article the past week or so which said that Swedish is officially adopting a gender-neutral singular third person pronoun (I believe it is "hen", but do correct me if my memory is off) which could mean either he or she. (Sort of how we in English have taken "they" and gradually changed it to a neutral singular pronoun. ("I don't know the name of the person who delivered the package, but they sure came and went fast.")
Tsk, the joke is nice but the name of that fake institute makes it so obvious (and I don't mean the acronym!)... They could have at least tried to use correct German when making up a German institute xD
The adjective is "effizient", the noun "die Effizienz" and you wouldn't use "Relationen" that way in German either.
Actually... Öcher Platt (the Ripuarian dialect spoken in Aachen) already has just one case that's linked with the article "dor"! Like in "Dor Honk beijß dor Ööscher in dor Beijn'." (Der Hund beißt den Aachener in das Bein... At least, that's what I'd consider the right translation but I don't speak the dialect myself so far)
I am so stupid. I didn't even get that it was a joke until I read the comments here. i was so confused on how a person just got up and changed a whole language. btw, how did they get all the countries on board for the spelling changes, like the rule about double "s"? The dialects are quite different in some ways.
Actually, they didn't get them all on board in the end, Viola. Only some countries adopted all of the changes. The Swiss had already dropped the ess-tet apparently, and some of the other German Zone countries did not like all the changes.
Ah. This is how dialects get started...
In 1956, China began the first round of symbol simplification, and has continued to reform their language ever since:
Although linguists think the idea of reforming a language to make it more efficient, less confusing, and more marketable...is just "crazy talk", global economies do not care. Money flows towards the least resistant and the most user-friendly economies, which includes language usage....just saying.
It should be simplified. At the end of the day there is no reason for a lot of the grammatical rules in German. Languages should seek to be easy to learn, convey meaning precisely, and be efficient. German cases and conjugation are ridiculous and serve no real purpose. After all English phased out grammatical gender back in the middle ages.
I will point out, though, that English having had phased out gender and case (with the exception of pronouns), it has still managed to end up being one of the hardest languages to learn. Along with dropping gender, it also dropped consistent spelling and pronunciation rules, and adopted a lot of very inconsistent irregular verbs.
As far as purpose, however, you might review https://www.duolingo.com/skill/de/Accusative-Case. It makes a good argument for case, that being the flexibility of sentence word order. From the POV of, say, a poet or writer, this affords quite a few options for self-expression, not being limited to the SVO (subject-verb-object) word ordering of English.
Declensions of nouns, adjectives, and other words add more information to the meaning of the words being conveyed. I agree with you that it does make for a somewhat longer learning curve in these areas, but it could also make the language more understandable and precise in the long run.