LTI – LINGUA TERTII IMPERII: NOTIZBUCH EINES PHILOLOGEN (1947) is a
Victor Klemperer , Professor of
Literature at the Dresden
University of Technology . The title, half in
Latin and half in German
, translates to "THE LANGUAGE OF THE THIRD REICH: A PHILOLOGIST\'S
NOTEBOOK"; the book is published in English translation as THE
LANGUAGE OF THE THIRD REICH.
* 1 Content
* 2 Examples
* 2.1 Recurrent words
* 2.2 Euphemisms (Schleierwörter)
* 2.3 Recurrent expressions and motives
* 2.4 Prefixes
* 2.5 Neologisms
* 3 In film
* 4 See also
* 5 References
* 6 External links
Lingua Tertii Imperii studies the way that
Nazi propaganda altered
German language to inculcate people with National Socialist ideas.
The book was written under the form of personal notes which Klemperer
wrote in his diary, especially from the rise of the Nazi regime in
1933, and even more after 1935, when Klemperer, stripped of his
academic title because he was Jewish (under the
Nuremberg Laws ), had
to work in a factory. His diary became a notebook in which he noted
and commented on the linguistic relativity of the German used by Nazi
officials, ordinary citizens, and even fellow Jews. Klemperer wrote
the book, based on his notes, in 1945–1946.
LTI demonstrates changes in the
German language in most of the
population. In contrast, the text also emphasizes the idea that
resistance to oppression begins by questioning the constant use of
buzzwords . Both the book and its author unexpectedly survived the
war. LTI was first published in 1947 in Germany.
It underlines odd constructions of words intended to give a
"scientific" or neutral aspect to otherwise heavily engaged
discourses, as well as significant every-day behaviour.
Klemperer notes that much of the Nazi language involved appropriating
old words and adapting their meaning, rather than making new ones.
Among the examples he recorded of propagandistic language use were the
* Artfremd ("Alien to the species")
* Ewig ("Eternal") E.gr.: der ewige Jude (the eternal
Jew ); das
ewige Deutschland (the eternal Germany)
Fanatical / Fanaticism (used in a particularly
strongly positively connotated for the "good" side, and strongly
negatively connotated for the "bad" side)
* Evakuierung ("evacuation"): deportation
* Holen ("pick up"): arrest
* Konzertlager ("concert camp"): concentration camp
* Krise ("crisis"): defeat
Sonderbehandlung ("special treatment"): murder
* Verschärfte Vernehmung ("enhanced interrogation "): torture
RECURRENT EXPRESSIONS AND MOTIVES
* the war "imposed" onto a peace-loving
Führer (France and the
United Kingdom did declare war on Germany, but only after the invasion
of Poland .)
* the "incommensurable hate" of the Jews – an example of Orwellian
ambiguity: the Jews have an "incommensurable hate" of the Third Reich
(aggressive or conspiratorial), but the German people have an
"incommensurable hate" of the Jews (spontaneous and legitimate).
* Examples taken from Victor Klemperer's diaries: January 1, 1935
– language tertii imperii: Lutze's New Year message to the SA...Our
"fanatical will" twice in a non-pejorative sense. Emphasis on
believing without understanding. (1) "fanatical engagement of the SA,"
(2) "fanatical sense of commitment." Nov 24, 1936 – On the language
of the Third Reich:...The Fuhrer must be followed blindly, blindly!
They do not need to explain anything at all, since they are
accountable to no one. Today it occurred to me: Never has the tension
between human power and powerlessness, human knowledge and human
stupidity been so overwhelmingly great as now. May 23, 1938 – The
aim of education in the Third Reich and of the language of the Third
Reich, is to expand the popular stratum in everyone to such an extent
that the thinking stratum is suffocated. August 29, 1939 –
Lingua...there is no longer any talk of Bolshevists, but instead of
the Russian people. December 31, 1940 – language tertii imperii: In
Hitler's New Year Order of the Day to the troops again the "victories
of unparalleled dimensions," again the American superlative, "The year
of 1941 will see the accomplishment of the greatest victory in our
* Groß- ("grand")
* Volk(s)- ("Volk = people, Volks = of or for the people (prefix)").
Volksgemeinschaft designated the racially pure community of nations.
Volkswagen is an example of a term which has outlived the Third Reich.
* Welt- ("world", as in
Weltanschauung , "intuition/view of the
world"): this was quite a rare, specific and cultured term before the
Third Reich, but became an everyday word. It came to designate the
instinctive understanding of complex geo-political problems by the
Nazis, which allowed them to openly begin invasions, twist facts or
violate human rights, in the name of a higher ideal and in accordance
to their theory of the world.
* arisieren ("to aryanise ")
* aufnorden ("to nordicise up", make more Nordic ).
* entjuden ("to de-Jew"). Conversely, after the war, a strong trend
of Entnazifizierung ("denazification ") took place.
* Untermenschentum ("sub-humanity", from
* Language Does Not Lie (La langue ne ment pas), a 2003 documentary
film based on Klemperer's book, directed by Stan Neumann
Glossary of Nazi Germany