Denglisch explained / Pseudoenglisch

Denglisch-Deutsches Wörterbuch (via Translationfound)

This Fruchtbringendes Wörterbuch could be very useful indeed. I have more than once had to translate Denglisch into English, and first of all I had to work out what it was supposed to mean. That can be difficult. It’s a shame that many contributors don’t know whether an English term is pseudo or not.

bq. Viele Wörter sehen aus, als wären sie englischen bzw. amerikanischen Ursprungs, werden aber von Menschen mit englischer Muttersprache nicht verstanden. Beispiele für pseudoenglische Wörter sind Showmaster, Handy, Oldtimer oder – besonders peinlich – Dressman.

Actually I missed the word Talkmaster, so I added it.

Some of the entries will be genuine English; in fact, far too many of them are. But that doesn’t matter to me as long as it gives good definitions of the words I need to translate (of course, it doesn’t always give good definitions, but that’s life, I suppose. It mentions Showmaster and defines it as Gastgeber. I defined Talkmaster as Moderator).

I noticed recently that Tchibo, who now sell in Britain too, were selling a magnetic notebook-holder, and in the picture someone had written ‘Toast’ as the first word of a shopping list. I suppose this was meant to work globally, but whereas a German might write ‘Toast’ or ‘Toastbrot’ on a shopping list, a British person wouldn’t.

6 thoughts on “Denglisch explained / Pseudoenglisch

  1. I found “Away-Trikot” (Auswaerts-Trikot) interesting, as that’s only half Denglisch (away shirt being the correct word in English).

    I’m also not convinced by the translation for “arm candy” as “schmückendes Beiwerk”. I know this as a good looking person (usually young and female) going out with another person (usually male, older and rich) to public events. Kind of related to “trophy wife”.

    And that’s only for the As ;-)

  2. Armin: you’re talking about bad definitions. My problem with A starts earlier: the first two entries are pseudo-English (Abcasher, abgespaced), but the next six (from Access Counter to Add-On) are not pseudo, and Administration is a bit more complicated than they say.

    Perhaps this is the topic where the Wikipedia concept won’t work, because the more confused Germans add to it, the more useless it will become!

  3. Yes and no ;-)

    Because in a way the bad definitions can lead to pseudo-English which a native speaker would not understand if used by a German in the way they are explained in the wiki. Thinking about it, even I would be confused by some of it.

    But as we’re on the topic of pseudo-English, what’s your take on “Arguliner”? I’ve never heard that word before, my Oxford dictionary doesn’t know it, Google only finds German pages for it and doesn’t have an entry for it either.

    Should we move on to B now? ;-)

  4. Yes, and actually, the arm candy definition makes it pseudo, since it assumes only the apparent meaning.

    Arguliner is completely new to me. It does seem to be pseudo.

    I think they should give the correct English as well as the German definition. That would help keep it on track.

  5. That may well be so, but it doesn’t mean that a German would write ‘Toast’ on a shopping list meaning Melba toast, or that a German advertiser would assume that toast means Zwieback
    (although I must reject the translation of Meister Zwieback as Masterrusk).

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