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Ramsauer mans ramparts against English

The Local · 29 Dec 2010, 09:35

Published: 29 Dec 2010 09:35 GMT+01:00

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Ramsauer told daily Tagesspiegel on Wednesday that the growing number of Anglicisms in daily use in Germany had the effect of excluding a large chunk of the population.

The minister, who belongs to the Christian Social Union – the Bavarian sister party to Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats – described his year-long efforts to rid the German language of Anglicisms as a “success.”

Under Ramsauer’s direction, terms such as “ticket,” “laptop,” and “flipchart” have been phased out of use in the Transport Ministry and replaced with Fahrscheinen, Klapprechnern, and Tafelschreibblock.

He is now calling on cabinet colleagues to follow his example. His campaign so far had generated “thousands of letters and phone calls” offering “100 percent support.”

That had made him realise that more needed to be done.

“Listen to what people are saying. And now I know what their needs, worries and problems are. What I’ve done, really, is to address them.”

Story continues below…

Ramsauer said he had also been persuaded by the moves by rail operator Deutsche Bahn to remove English terms from usage. Deutsche Bahn boss Rüdiger Grube was a “pragmatic and reliable man who in each respect has straightened things out in his company – including in this one.”

The Local/dw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:56 December 29, 2010 by twisted
I have no problem with excluding English from the German language, but if English IS going to be used in ads and in other forms, at least get it right. Some of the ways I have see English used it just plain stupid. What the hell does "Come in and find out" mean? And some of crap written on articles of clothing is even worse. Is something wrong with having a shirt that is plain without writing on it? Does idiotic writing make it "cool?" Thanks for your time.
10:00 December 29, 2010 by tallady
Understandable,,I would not like to read signs in the USA, that are mixed language.

Although a study done many years ago ,pointed out that misspelled words or words of different origin draw more attention than a sign written in perfect text does.

but those German words like Fahrscheinen, Klapprechnern, and Tafelschreibblock. are rather long,(:>
11:07 December 29, 2010 by slawek
I think Germany has more serious problems than Anglicisms. Take the refusal of learning foreign languages as an example. Pointing out more than one foreign language in your CV might get you into more trouble than be of any use. It's simply not considered as intelligent but rather stigmatizes you as one of those problem immigrants.
11:18 December 29, 2010 by coleman2001
It is not the old farts (like myself) who determine the course a language takes but the young. They hear songs in English all the time and remember the words. The young are visiting countries around the world where English is the common first or second language. As mentioned above the IT industry is universally based on English. My advice to Herr Ramsauer is to give it up, let the German language develop as it will.
11:33 December 29, 2010 by mixxim
Was the original English brought over by Angles and Saxonsa bit of Latin, French, Norman....? At least define wich words come from Germany.

At least we do not have Doppeloberliegendenockenwellen!
11:37 December 29, 2010 by freechoice
Why are there 2 languages?

German words and English are brothers and sisters.

They should merge and become a new EU official language
12:04 December 29, 2010 by Mr Tourist
Ok, for the most part German is spoke only in Switzerland, Austria and Germany. And within this limited scope it is spoken in such various ways they cannot be understood by one another. Schwabian, Bavarian, Austrian, Saxon, Schweizer Deutsch has subtitles on televison so Germans can understand it as examples.

I happen to find it all very interesting and charming! I in fact have been learning German for about a year and a half and am getting "well as good as you can in a year and a half"

However, English and German are sister languages when you gpo back in history and if at this point in history English is gaining popularity due to a global influence. Then let it happen naturally, and some "and to use a very American English Slang Word" Douchebag, we stole it from the French" is not going to stop it.
12:18 December 29, 2010 by lordkorner
me thinks the man should spend more time improving the infrastructure here in Berlin
12:19 December 29, 2010 by michael4096
And a Mädchen is(t) neuter.
Is! And, should be! If you are thinking in sexual rather than linguistic terms. Linguistically, its irrelevant.

The general issue illustrates an interesting difference in cultures: the German words are all functional descriptions whereas the English words are all marketing fluff. If you have never heard a word before, you have a better idea of whether you might want something with the German word than with the English but the English is generally shorter.
12:57 December 29, 2010 by Al uk
I thought i had somehow clicked onto the website of the Sun when i first saw the headline :-)
13:33 December 29, 2010 by Mr Tourist
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is an English word, not too trendy though!

German may be an endangered language but I think it is a great language. As I learn new words they almost always sound more logical than the English version.
14:29 December 29, 2010 by hanskarl
Is this guy any relation to Ramstein?? ;-)
14:58 December 29, 2010 by lordkorner
Oh yes ,some more Dinglish please....,i find it very handy.
15:47 December 29, 2010 by cklb
If anyone ever wonders what "engine" means in good old style German, it's not motor, but Explosionsknalltreibling. Only problem is that "explosion" might be an anglicism already.... So I went to the "Selbstfahrlingstrasse" with my "Selbstfahrling" that was powered by a "Explosionsknalltreibling".
16:35 December 29, 2010 by Tinker Bell
I, as an American living in Germany welcome the use of English. Has anyone been to the US lately? Spanish seems to be the "local language", even Nashville TN had a recient vote to add Spanish as a common language. Keep English in Germany, it's a dying language in America.
17:06 December 29, 2010 by deutschamer
Please don't be like the French, who are language nazis. So what if the language picks up some english words.

I remember when I was a kid living in parts of mid west USA where there were a lot of German-Americans, I would hear things like "Ich hab das Car gefixed."
17:44 December 29, 2010 by tomjack
That just about says it all Das Laptop ha ha ha. I hope the Germans don't give any free Gift out that will teach the America's to learn real German.
18:22 December 29, 2010 by tomjack
In German Chef means boss not head cook. Mist means manure so be carefull with the body mist and the weather thing or you will be right in the thick of it all.
20:44 December 29, 2010 by wxman
In 50 years this won't matter. Everyone in Germany will be speaking Turkish.
00:13 December 30, 2010 by Prufrock2010
I wish Ramsauer would forget about being the German Henry Higgins and just do his damn job, starting with getting the DB to operate like a railroad in a first world country. I don't think he's being paid to protect the purity of the German language which, like all other languages, has already been bastardized. This is a populist stunt to appeal to the German illiterati at taxpayer expense.
01:56 December 30, 2010 by Prufrock2010
@ Bipa

Their video is called "Be Cool Speak Deutsch." Three of the four words in the title are English. How is it that Germans are so incapable of grasping irony?
07:05 December 30, 2010 by patrick kearney
I live in Munich, sadly I don´t need to speak German as almost everyone not only speaks English but wants to speak English. Not very helpful if you want to learn and practice speaking German.
08:29 December 30, 2010 by DocEllis
Oh good, another idiot with a pointless cause. As an American I am proud that we steel words from as many languages as the need dictates. Their is nothing worth faulting in being proud of ones language, one can find fault in one individual trying to force others into living by the formers standards. Simply allow people the choice. That is simple enough.

By-the-way, did anyone notice the english word STOP in the picture.

It would be good in my opinion if this burocrat found something more productive to do.

αντίο, adeus, до свидания, Goodbye, Doc
10:19 December 30, 2010 by qibusa7
Good, but why doesnt he push for the kill

1. Not bringing in any new english words into German (Windows, software, internet etc..) .

That means no IT industry in Germany.

2.Not translating/dubbind or following english movies or songs

Wow german music and movies all around (all theaters nd FM challels should shutdown)

3.Dont learn english at all

Average Germans who already look dumb and perplexed outside germanny will be now idiots.

Some Germans travelling abroad, interacting with international coleagues or even as tourists look dumb with their lack of good english. now the rest of the world call call them stupid aliens :)

Wake up till now (before globalizaton) may be Germany was growing. dont forget that all your GDP is based on exports, so Germany will be good for nothig as a secluded world.

Ofcourse NERV mix english into german language that is acceptable. But dont be duds by nowing only one language througout your life and thinking Germany is the world. REmeber in the "Popstar" show one of the contestants did not kow what "nice bottom" meant when Roby williams commented. but she is singing an english song. Ironical.
11:26 December 30, 2010 by archilochus
Anything that is a countercurrent against the strong preference of educated German persons to aggressively speak English at every possible occasion sounds good to me. I am an American who speaks German fluently and very little discernible accent, but because I am known as an American, I am very often spoken to in English (often not very good English), even when I persist in responding in fluent and competent German. In any university setting, so ubiquitous is this practice that one could almost refer to it as an obsession. Speaking German to these (native German) people is like talking to a proverbial brick wall (of English). As an enthusiastic speaker and eternal student of German, which is a language with tremendous qualities, I am interested in its preservation and nurturing. Therefore the efforts of Mr. Ramsauer are most welcome and laudable. It is a consolation to see that someone is paying attention to this trend to undermine the German language.
15:35 December 30, 2010 by GermanyBert
I know a guy whose sister was biten by a moose.
23:30 December 30, 2010 by wombat51
English is the world's main language because it doesn't get its knickers in a twist about foreign additions. They are just absorbed and added to its richness. For God's sake, don't become like the Fench!
00:53 December 31, 2010 by franconia
OK, I have alles downgeloaded . Sehr cool , OK?
01:19 December 31, 2010 by fryintl
OK, after spending 14 years in Germany, some of it in the old days before the wall came down, and then once again just after the wall came down, I am never surprised by the things that come out.

The best part of this paper is a tie between teh articles and the comments. You all, or most of you, are totally cool and I dig the comments.

I remember the days when no one wanted to speak German and it was impossible to learn to pronounce or speak German since the favorite phrase was, no problem, I speak english. THen when you left they would talk about how the Amis were everywhwere and how we should go away.

I came back and the public was trying hard to force people to speak German and not as many people were willing to openly speak english.

The movement to get rid of the English words, and not just any foreign words, seems like we have pissed soemone off and they want to get rid of any traces of us and not just foreign words that are bringing down the Muttersprecht.

So big deal right? What is next, Auslander Aus? The brits sure showed Germany by bringing home their Armed Froces earlier than planned. Soon the Americans will have to do the same. Germany will be alone once again, with no foreign troops on tehir soil, and a great decrese in their own military forces. Germans will be free to speak Turk or German and will be able to close off their borders once the EU fails completely.....

Can't wait to see the Germans vacationing in their beach areas up north andleaving Spain's rich coast which they almost outright own near Denia and Javia.

So es ist schoen gut!~!!
11:17 December 31, 2010 by Englishted
If a handy is handy.

Why isn't a mobile a Moby ?.

Because he was a whale you dick.
12:51 January 3, 2011 by ReaderX
Some Germans really are ludidites. The German language is backwards, and languages are not a static object, but rather like a breathing organism, they should be allowed to grow, change and flourish.
23:07 January 7, 2011 by Xazron1
In a Multi-cultural country, words from immigrant ( electronic and physical) resident cultures creep into the mainstay consciousness of the dominant culture, and enrich us all. As a 5th Generational German/English/Irish Australian it's great to have a mixture of 'foreign' words as part of my dominant written and spoken language..it's sort of egalitarianism in its context anyway... language evolution ..it just keeps on coming!!

Jeff Kulenkamp - originating, partly from Bremen from 1848 !!
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