Feb. 29, 2024

People and Politics | Resisting English -- Why the German Language Needs Rescuing

Published May 14, 2023, 6:20 p.m. by Courtney

Why the German language needs rescuing

The German language is in danger of being overwhelmed by English, according to a new study.

The study, by the German language Society (Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache), found that English words are increasingly creeping into everyday German conversation, to the point where the two languages are starting to merge.

The society's president, Walter Krämer, warned that the trend could lead to the German language becoming "a kind of pidgin English".

"The English language is exerting an irresistible attractive force on German," Krämer said.

He added that the trend was particularly evident among young people, who are more likely to use English words and phrases in everyday conversation.

The study found that English words are often used to replace German words that are perceived to be more difficult or complicated.

For example, the English word "cool" is commonly used instead of the German word "geil".

Other common English words used in German include "handy" (mobile phone), "chat" (chatting) and "kid" (child).

The study also found that many Germans are unaware of the meaning of some English words that they use.

For example, the English word "blog" is often used by Germans to mean "online diary", even though the word actually refers to a specific type of website.

The trend is not restricted to Germany.

A similar phenomenon is occurring in other German-speaking countries, such as Austria and Switzerland.

It is also happening in other languages, such as French and Spanish.

The German language Society is calling for more efforts to be made to promote the German language, both in Germany and abroad.

It is also calling on the German government to do more to protect the German language from the encroachment of English.

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on Berlin's busy shopping mile decor

pastand on there's English everywhere

you look

Germans who don't speak English must be

feeling pretty confused and according to

statistics they're 1/3 of the population

the advertising industry doesn't seem to

care the assumption is that the

important target audiences can speak

English and they're not too worried

about everyone else the German ad

campaign for smart cars for example uses

the same slogan as the US campaign open

your mind similar for slogan is open

your mind it's always a moot point

whether the target audience actually

understands the message the company's

trying to convey in this respect it's up

to the companies to decide how they

structure their advertising campaigns

which language they use in what form it

takes this is the prerogative of the

companies but many German politicians

like Wolfgang Bernsen disagree they

don't want to see large sections of the

population simply excluded he's a big

fan of the German language and thinks

it's time for Germany to start resisting

the spread of English throughout every

sector of society to put it mildly

I think it's arrogant to concentrate on

just a few target groups the business

community needs to cultivate certain

linguistic standards it's part of its

responsibility to ensure the public is

informed and understands what's going on

in their own country Alf Josh Lawson

Beyond and to simply ignore this is

unfair any classic contravenes the


many major companies accept the

criticism Porsche for example was named

guardian of the German language 2008

because the company supposedly sticks to

German only but a quick look at the

Porsche website tells a different story

it's riddled with English from

references to investor relations and

corporate governance and even a Porsche

Travel Club no wonder many Germans are



the Chancellor experienced the problem

firsthand at a recent school visit I

recently paid a visit to school in

Westphalia and the teachers proudly

presented me with what they called the

assessment reports for the students it

was quite a surprise so we sat down and

tried to figure out what the German

equivalent would be needless to say

there is a perfectly acceptable German

equivalent Merkel told her audience the

English invasion needs to be stopped if

we want her language to remain robust in

the 21st century then we should tell the

business community that it's good to use

German in their dealings otherwise

students of the German language will

think it consists largely of anglicisms

and there'll be a serious danger that

they simply won't bother continuing with

their studies of course politicians are

especially annoyed when state-owned

companies such as Deutsche Bahn start

using anglicisms

the German rail network still belongs to

the state and receives taxpayers money

so the least it can do is speak their

language if it's outside right now we're

talking with Deutsche Bahn and we hope

to reach agreement otherwise German

consumers will continue to be confused

they don't know that MacLean means

toilet and if nothing is done it we will

have to introduce new legislations in

fact German is the most widely spoken

language in the EU 100 million people in

Europe speak German and there are 120

million German native speakers around

the world starts this a bit of pride and

tradition would do us all good and scoot

language is what we use to communicate

language is what we use to navigate the

world and we are better off doing this

by using our own language than a foreign



for now Germans have little choice but

to keep guessing they may be relieved to

know that some anglicisms are confusing

even to native speakers what on earth is

a divided dissection



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