Academic EFL / Denglisch für Akademiker

Spiegel Online has an article by Pascal Fischer headed Sprache der Wissenschaft: Say it in broken English. This deals with the curious phenomenon that in many German universities, Germans have to submit work in English, to be marked by other Germans.

I can remember once being approached by a group of students doing an MA or something in English. Of course, it would have been too expensive for them to have their work revised by a professional translator. And one wonders whether the marker(s) would have noticed any difference. There was a particularly amusing reference to the V sign as a sign of success or happiness – the writer had only heard of the Churchillian Victory, not the other V sign.

The article quotes Ralph Mocikat, a professor of molecular biology at Munich University, who says there are national conferences held in English with no non-German participants, and internal seminars and everyday lab discussions held in English.

Colleagues from eastern Central Europe are unhappy when they are not allowed to speak German. The word ‘cancer’ is used in German instead of ‘Krebs’, because it is ‘a scientific term’.

There is a reference to ‘academic pidgin English’.

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