Germans told to ‘brain up’/Verwirrende Anglizismen

Soeben erreicht mich folgendes (erschienen in der FAZ am 21.2.2004):

bq. Aus einem Leserbrief in der FAZ (von einem Prof. Dr. Dieter Mindt, Berlin):
“Bundesministerin Edelgard Bulmahn (studierte Anglistin) verkündet allenthalben: ‘Brain up! Deutschland sucht seine Spitzenuniversitäten.’ Eine Suche in großen Datenmengen des britischen und amerikanischen Englisch hat nur ein einziges Vorkommen der Verbindung von ‘brain’ mit ‘up’ ergeben. Die Fundstelle aus dem British National Corpus lautet: ‘He’s got no brain up here.'”

bq. From a reader’s letter to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, from Professor Dr. Dieter Mindt, Berlin: ‘Federal Minister Edelgard Bulmahn (who studied English at university) is announcing everywhere: ‘Brain up! Deutschland sucht seine Spitzenuniversitäten.’ (‘[Incomprehensible English embellishment] German is looking for its top universities’). I searched British and U.S. English corpora and found only one example of “brain” together with “up”. It was in the British National Corpus and read: “He’s got no brain up here.”‘

Zur teilweise Entlastung der Ministerin: es gibt sehr wohl “brain up” im britischen Englisch. Collins English Dictionary gibt es im Sinne von ‘den Lehrplan geistig anspruchsvoller machen’, allerdings nur mit Objekt. Ich verstehe immer noch nicht, was Frau Bulmahn sagen will, kann es also nicht ins Englische übersetzen. Die Suche sollte aber nach ‘brain’ und ‘up’ mit ein paar Wörtern dazwischen sein.

Collins English Dictionary does give ‘brain up’: to make more intellectually demanding or sophisticated: We need to brain up the curriculum. However, it is a transitive verb and takes an object. So the minister’s use of the term is still quite mysterious.

I think I’ve come to this topic rather late: see ‘Brain up? Shut up!’

Incidentally, the reference to top universities relates to the current ideas about creating universities in Germany more like the Ivy League or Oxbridge, free to design their own programmes and funded privately.

6 thoughts on “Germans told to ‘brain up’/Verwirrende Anglizismen

  1. >>Incidentally, the reference to top universities relates to the current ideas about creating universities in Germany more like the Ivy League or Oxbridge, free to design their own programmes and funded privately.

  2. Strange,isn’t it? I can only assume the politicians in both countries want to divert attention from some problems and give the impression that something is being done.

  3. Margaret Marks reports on an odd phrase used by German Federal Minister Edelgard Bulmahn: “Brain up! Deutschland sucht seine Spitzenuniversitäten,” or as Margaret renders it ‘[Incomprehensible English embellishment] German is looking for its top univer…

  4. Margaret Marks of Transblawg, who brought us news of the unappealing term “brain up,” has a further report on quasi-English words as used in Germany. If you think you know what Bodybag means, you’re probably wrong….

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