30 Nov 2017
1,000 and Fewer Unnecessary Anglicisms used in German

In my last Bloge Post I discussed the excessive use of unnecessary anglicisms in the modern German language. Due to popular demand, I will share with you more examples of this increasing trend in this Post. I will just mention some more, since there are literally thousands of them.

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If we refer to unnecessary anglicisms, then there must be some English words that are legitimate to use when no precise German equivalent is available. As examples we can mention fair and jeans, design and trend and Wonderbra. Still, newly created German words pop up progressively that could make some anglicisms no longer necessary or at least redundant. Among the “high potentials” we can mention Prallkissen for air bag, Klapprechner or Mobilrechner for Notebook and Kleinstrennwagen for cart.

Witty German creations such as relaxen, clonen, outen and stretchen fall into the category called “Denglisch,“ which is neither English nor German but a mix of both. Wikipedia gives us the following examples of these hybrids:

  • Das ist eine stylische Hose. (Das ist eine schicke, modische Hose.)
  • Der Flug wurde gecancelt. (Der Flug wurde abgesagt.)
  • Ich habe das Programm gedownloadet oder downgeloadet. (Ich habe das Programm heruntergeladen.)

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There is also a special category of anglicisms that has been fully integrated into the German language, even when German equivalents are available. As examples we have Team (Mannschaft), Blazer (sportliches Jackett), Lift (Fahrstuhl) and the international and much more practical word Mayday (internationaler Notruf im Luft- und Schiffsverkehr). Even the French word Restaurant, which has been adopted into English, is used more in German than the word Gaststätte.

So, as promised, here we have some more examples of unnecessary anglicisms:

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I can mention the politically incorrect, but extremely popular Bullshit (Bockmist), which I doubt will ever be used by German speakers with the same enthusiasm as the English version.

The association “Verein Deutsche Sprache” founded with the worthy aim of protecting the purity of the German language, has released a comprehensive and useful index of anglicisms in alphabetical order. Here is a short selection of words beginning with the letter “A“:

This association, as well as other online sites, can list more than a thousand more examples.

I don´t think that the word Ghetto Blaster (big cassette player used in public places at full volume) ever made it to the favorite list of anglicisms used in German speaking countries: perhaps because there are no ghettos around. However, people have happily adopted – and sang – the title of the almost second national anthem of Austria “I am from Austria“ without major reservations. This shows that anglicisms are here to stay. Whether they are necessary or not — that is another question.

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Quiz: Do you know what stoned, wannabe and no brainer mean in German? What about these new words: A-Blogger, astroturfing, enterbrainment and ungooglables?

Can you mention some new anglicisms that have surreptitiously become part of the German language?

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Über den Autor: Carlos Aleson ist der Leiter von i-diom, einem in Österreich ansässigen Institut, welches auf Sprach- und Kommunikationstraining spezialisiert ist.

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