Denglish makes the Guardian

Yesterday, the Guardian had an article by Ben Aris entitled War of Words about the growth of Denglish in Germany and the complaints about it.

bq. Fed up with the language of Goethe being corrupted with additions such as “die kiddies” and “der call centre”, Germany’s politicians are proposing to ban civil servants from using “Denglish” – German mixed with English – in the workplace.

I’m not sure exactly who is behind this proposal. It seems to refer to the same story as an Ananova report of September 2nd.

The Word Spy defines Denglish. The Verein Deutsche Sprache (German) has carried out tests in various industries and for example has a table of office furniture manufacturers and their slogans in descending order of loyalty to German.

I picked this Guardian article up last night, but I have since seen it’s been blogged by PapaScott (an American in Hamburg) and others.

2 thoughts on “Denglish makes the Guardian

  1. I think the Verein Deutsche Sprache were hilarious — if they didn’t actually mean it. I think their goal is almost laudable (“keep our language pure”), but (as extremists do by definition) they are overdoing it.

    There simply is no commonly accepted & understandable “German” word for, e.g. Homepage: “Startseite” or “Heimatseite” just sound pathetic.

    But then, this movement is nothing new, really. Many proposed “German” alternatives to (then) French or Latin/Greek borrowings are now universally accepted (Bahnsteig, Fahrkarte, Schaffner, Gehsteig, Geldbörse, Fernsprecher, the list goes on). Perhaps future generations will gladly accept “Blitzruf” instead of hotline, and “Mutterplatine” instead of motherboard; but then again, they might not.

  2. Yes, I remember this long history from lectures on the history of the German language – if only I’d paid more attention!
    I agree with you about the VDS. There was a VDS story widely blogged at the end of August – Der Spiegel has it at http://www.spiegel.de/kultur/gesellschaft/0,1518,263697,00.html
    It was suggested to me, but I didn’t report it because I thought it was rather silly. They give the impression of being more interested in making a noise than having serious discussions.

    But surely Homepage is a problem? I nearly always have to translate Homepage into English as ‘web site’, because that’s what most Germans use it to mean. I see a lot of people use ‘Start’ rather than ‘Home’ on their sites, but I have no way of knowing what I would use if I were writing German. I would have thought the term Homepage had become ambiguous (although not ‘Home’ in a list of links).

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