• Germany's news in English

'Denglisch is for losers, it has to stop'

The Local · 7 Jan 2014, 08:44

Published: 07 Jan 2014 08:44 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

For years the German language has been overwhelmed with a flood of unnecessary and ugly English words and expressions – an advert for yoghurt talks about getting that weekend feeling a television channel runs a Kiddie Contest.

Us Germans do power walking wear outdoor jackets and beach wear, while putting on anti-ageing cream and style our hair.

Deutsche Bahn is perhaps the worst of all offenders with its tickets, service point and McClean.

Some people find it cool but others – the majority of Germans – are annoyed about the superfluous use of English junk and see it as showing contempt for their language.

It is absurd and undignified to replace German words such as Leibwächter, Karte and Fahrrad with bodyguard, card and bike.

This Anglicization of the German language has been accompanied with the global expansion of the American way of life, behind which stands the economic and political power of the USA.

It has changed many countries and their languages and Germany is no different. A lack of loyalty to their language on behalf of some Germans and a readiness to pander to English have, more than anywhere else, led to a mixing of the languages – Denglisch.

We want to counter the Anglicization of German and remind people about the beauty and value of their mother tongue. We want to protect and develop our language. The ability to invent new words and to describe new objects should not stop.

Our society, which has 35,000 members, is not against foreign words being used in German - even English ones. We have no objection to using fair, interview, trainer, doping and slang.

We do not hate foreign words. Most of our board members speak foreign languages and two of our members probably speak better English than any American. One was a pilot for a US airline.

We have nothing anything against German importing words from other languages. A third of all German words are imported.

What we do have a problem with is this attempt to use Denglisch to impress others. People intentionally avoid German words even though they could use it. It is an attempt to suck up to others. That annoys us.

We have a problem with words such as event, highlight, shooting star, outfit which are used to glorify the everyday and the banal. This drivel shuts off many Germans, who do not know these English words, from their own language.

I am often asked for a statement on a certain subject. I tell those who ask that I do not give statements. If they asked me using a German word it would be a different matter. I will give an Aussage.

There is almost always a suitable German word which works and fits with what people want to say.

Story continues below…

Take the word highlight. I once counted 30 ways to say highlight in German yet they have all been replaced with one English word.

To counter Denglisch we write to firms guilty of using it, pick a “winner” each year for our language adulterator award and celebrate our annual German Language Day.

Germans who can’t speak English use Denglisch to prance about and say look, I can speak English too. This has to stop. 

Professor Walter Krämer is the founder of the Verein Deutsche Sprache and teaches at the Technical University in Dortmund. 

READ MORE: Let's drop the Angst about Anglicisms

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Germans think they're fit, but they're really couch potatoes
Photo: DPA.

There's been an increase in the number of Germans who define themselves as "fit", but their lifestyle choices don't quite match this self-perception.

10 fascinating facts you never knew about German beer
Tennis coach Boris Becker and his wife Lilly at Oktoberfest 2016 in Munich. Photo: DPA

From malt and monks to Radlers and rivalries, the story of German beer is as rich and wonderful as its selection.

Intensive farming 'endangers a third of German species'
Photo: DPA

There are 32,000 species of animal, plant and mushroom life native to Germany. Due to intensive farming methods, one in every three of these is endangered, a new report shows.

German hospital uses therapy to 'treat' paedophiles
A poster from the campaigne "Don't offend", which offers therapy to paedophiles. The sign reads "Do you love kids more than you'd prefer? There's help." Photo: DB Scholz & Friends / DPA.

A unique German initiative is offering therapy to paedophiles to control their urges, with the aim of getting them help before they offend.

Minister: 'no tolerance' for clowns after chainsaw attack
Photo: DPA

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière has called for a zero-tolerance approach to 'killer clowns' after a series of attacks culminating in two teenagers being chased by a clown wielding a chainsaw.

Baby who was auctioned on eBay taken away from father
Photo: DPA.

A German court ruled on Thursday that a man who put his one-month-old baby up for sale on the online auction platform eBay should only be allowed contact with the child under supervision.

Portugal's ruling party calls German minister 'pyromaniac'
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. Photo: DPA.

The head of Portugal's ruling Socialists called German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble a "pyromaniac" on Thursday after he criticized Lisbon for reversing course on austerity.

These are Germany's top ten universities
The new library of Freiburg University. Photo: Jörgens.mi / Wikimedia Commons

These are the best universities in all of Germany - at least according to one ranking.

Introducing Swabians - 'the Scots of Germany'
Photo: DPA

These Southern Germans have quite a reputation in the rest of the country.

Woman sues dentist over job rejection for headscarf
Photo: DPA

A dentist in Stuttgart is being taken to court by a woman whom he rejected for a job as his assistant on the basis that she wears a Muslim headscarf.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd