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As Anglizismus refers to a linguistic expression , which from the English into another language has been incorporated. This affects all areas of a language system , from sound to form theory , syntax , semantics to vocabulary, as well as the areas of language use and language level (technical language, everyday language, slang and others).

If the adoption is accepted by the language community, the terms are adopted as foreign and loan words or as a new meaning of a word or as a new sentence construction. In the course of the generation change, both this valuation and the use of Anglicisms can change. Especially in youth language, many expressions disappear again with the next generation, as they are no longer perceived as new and reserved for young people.

The term Anglicism includes all English language varieties ; Influences especially from British English are also called Britishisms and those from American English Americanisms .

Anglicisms in the German language


In German, Anglicisms appear most frequently on the lexical level . One can differentiate between the following phenomena:

  • Borrowing of words : Adoption of English lexemes , which are adapted to different degrees to the sound, writing and grammar system of the receiving language. For example, the majority “die Killer” and the genitive “des Internet” are considered to have been adapted to the German inflection system. Further changes such as cuts also occur, for example in fesch from engl. fashionable .
  • Loan translations : One-to-one translations of the components of the foreign word, such as brainwashing → "brainwashing".
  • Loan transfers : Translation of the idea behind the formation of the foreign word, for example skyscraper → "Skyscraper" (not "Himmelskratzer", as would be expected with a loan translation).
  • Loan meanings : Takeover of the range of meanings of the foreign word, of which partial meanings can already be found in a German word, for example German "Held" in the sense of "theater hero", the takeover from the range of meanings of hero .
  • Pseudo-Anglicisms : Word creations within a language community other than English with English language elements, including in German mobile phones , basecaps or service points . Often such words or groups of words also exist in English, but with a different meaning ( false friend ). The word oldtimer, for example, designates an old car (English: vintage car, veteran car or classic car ) in German as pseudo- Anglicism , while in English it generally describes an old person (comparable to our jokingly used “oldie”).

Further takeover phenomena can be seen at other language levels:

  • Lehnsyntax : Use of English syntax , which is not common in German.
  • Form formation : Another form of Anglicism is the adoption of English conjugation forms when using originally English verbs in German sentences. The past participle of verbs is sometimes formed with the ending -ed : printed. The same ending then penetrates - probably because of the similarity to the German ending -et - occasionally in the present tense formation : er printed.
  • Spelling and punctuation : use of English instead of German letters; for example:
    • Use of English transcription from non-Latin scripts (such as Cyrillic or Arabic ),
    • Spelling with c in loan words from the Greek instead of the kappa there, so Holocaust instead of Holocaust .
    • The use of the English commas for the anglicisms. In English, for example, there are no commas before that - (that-) and other subordinate clauses, but within main clauses e.g. B. at the beginning of a sentence after adverbials . The clear classification as Anglicism is difficult.
    • Spaces in compound words ( Industrial Museum ), perhaps again increasing use of hyphens ( Industrial Museum ).
  • Pronunciation of non-English words or names in English (through German), for example the French words Pointe , Relais and Revirement , the first syllable of the words journalist and journalism (with d in front, recognized by the Duden because of its frequency) or the Flemish place name Waterloo . This also includes the English pronunciation of the abbreviation IT for information technology , even on German radio and television.
  • Misunderstanding a spoken French word as an English one: "She has a fable [instead of a soft spot ] for the nation." Likewise: "Charles Darwin is said to have had a fable for earthworms."
  • Formulations that used to be considered unidiomatic such as: "I think" instead of "I mean / believe / assume"; “That's right” instead of “That's true / applies”; “Have a good time!” Instead of “Have fun!”.

Number and frequency

Linguistic studies by the University of Bamberg use material from the newspaper Die Welt to determine an increase in Anglicisms in the German language. So from 1994 to 2004 the use of Anglicisms increased

  • doubled for nouns ,
  • the number of verbs also increased,
  • and adjectives have become more frequent, but also die quickly from.

Contrary to the general assumption that nouns are predominantly adopted during language contact , roughly the same number of words from each of these three types of speech were borrowed from English into German in the period under review, although the nouns are retained in use for longer on average.

The number of Anglicisms has increased; as well as the frequency with which they are used. If the Anglicisms are classified according to areas, it can be seen that the area of ​​“business” has grown the most, especially in marketing and sales (see Geml / Lauer, 2008). The only exception is the area of ​​"science and technology", in which a decrease by a factor of 1.6 is recorded. Overall, it can be said that the use of Anglicisms has increased by a factor of 1.7 in ten years. In contrast, the borrowing frequency has decreased compared to the period 1954–1964. This means that more anglicisms are used, but the speed of adoption has decreased. The reason for this could be a saturation process.

In a further study, a large text corpus of the present (1995-2004) with a total of 381191 lemmas was evaluated; including 13301 = 3.5% Anglicisms. The text corpus has a volume of around 10.3 million tokens (= individual word forms), including 52647 = 0.5% Anglicisms. Of the 13,301 Anglicisms, 12726 (95.68%) (48190 tokens = 91.53%) are nouns, 307 (2.30%) (1654 tokens = 3.14%) are adjectives, 255 (1.92%) (2371 Token = 4.50%) verbs and 13 (0.10%) (432 tokens = 0.82%) adverbs.

Development of Anglicisms in German

Information on when which Anglicism came into German can be obtained primarily from dictionaries of origin (= etymological dictionaries ). They have the disadvantage that they only contain a core part of the vocabulary, especially the part that is etymologically particularly interesting. The question arises whether the borrowing trend that can be found in such a dictionary is also representative for the entire language. One has to be aware of this; In the absence of other options, however, there is nothing else to do if you want to get an idea of ​​how the loan proceeds.

Körner carried out such an investigation using the example of Duden. The dictionary of origin was carried out in 2001 by recording all borrowings for which, according to this dictionary, it can be determined in which century they came from which language into German. Körner came to the following conclusion especially for the loans originating from the English:

century Number of borrowings observed Total borrowings
11. 1 1
12. 0 1
13. 0 1
14th 0 1
15th 0 1
16. 2 3
17th 10 13
18th 60 73
19th 143 216
20th 303 519

The dictionary contains 16,781 datable headings, including 5244 borrowings ( loan words and foreign words ). Among the loans are 519 datable Anglicisms. You can see that these borrowings from English start quite late and then develop a considerable dynamic. In the 20th century, Anglicisms made up 3.1% of the total vocabulary surveyed or 9.9% of borrowings.

Instead of examining the adoption of Anglicisms in German in general, one can also concentrate on their spread in special areas, such as in certain press organs. Gnatchuk carried out such a perspective using the example of the Austrian KLEINE ZEITUNG and was able to show that in this case, too, the takeover process complies with the Piotrowski law.

Adaptation to German language habits

Words that were borrowed a long time ago, in particular, have seen an adaptation of the spelling, for example biscuits compared to older cakes . In the case of Anglicisms that are mainly adopted through written communication, the pronunciation can be based on German pronunciation habits, provided that the typeface remains the same; so is Jute today in English usually [ juːtə pronounced], while older dictionaries yet pronunciation [ ʤuːt recorded].

Criticism and controversy

If the English influences are not generally accepted, for example because they are limited to a jargon or the youth language , one speaks of New German or, pejoratively, of Denglisch .

A representative survey of the comprehensibility of twelve common English advertising slogans for German customers in 2003 showed that some of the slogans were understood by less than 10% of the respondents. Eight of the twelve companies examined have changed their advertising slogans since then. In a 2008 survey by the Society for German Language, 39% of those questioned were bothered by loan words from English. The rejection was greatest in the population groups who could neither speak nor understand English (58% rejection in the group of 59-year-olds, 46% rejection in the East German respondents).

Sometimes insufficient knowledge of the English language is blamed for mixing up and replacing existing words with pseudo-Anglicisms. According to a study by GfK , only 2.1 percent of German employees speak fluent English. In the group of under 30-year-olds, however, over 54 percent rate their English skills as good to excellent. As a result, more efficient English lessons can help improve language skills, and instead of synchronizing the sound of films and series, the English-language originals should be subtitled with German text. At the same time, this would contribute to a better demarcation between the languages ​​and the preservation of German language quality.

In December 2014, the European politician Alexander Graf Lambsdorff called for English to be allowed as the administrative language and later as the official language in Germany in addition to German , in order to improve the conditions for qualified immigrants, avert the shortage of skilled workers and facilitate investments. According to a representative YouGov survey, 59 percent of Germans would like the English language to become an official language throughout the European Union .

Similar criticism as against the Anglicisms hit the French, Latin and Greek terms as early as the end of the 19th century. Associations such as the Allgemeine Deutsche Sprachverein tried to replace these terms with German as part of the German language purism . French, Latin or Greek foreign words have been replaced by German word creations, e.g. B. Ticket for ticket , compartment for coupé and platform for platform . In the postal system, at the behest of Bismarck , Postmaster General Heinrich von Stephan replaced over 700 French-language terms with new German creations. Although the former public was outraged and they derided him as "General Language Master," while terms such as enrolled , general delivery and receipt today passed into general usage and replace foreign words rekommandiert , poste restante and Rezepisse .

Many companies use Anglicisms in job offers or job descriptions. Critics suspect that less attractive jobs should be upgraded as a result. Frequently used terms are area manager (less than the classic department head), facility manager (caretaker), key account manager (carer for important customers) or case manager (a case worker, see case management ). In order to caricature this development, the euphemism toilet manager ( toilet man / woman) is sometimes called. In France, loanwords and anglicisms are met with even greater criticism and are also to be curbed by legislative measures such as the Loi Toubon . An active language policy , as practiced in France and Iceland , among others , to prevent the language from being enriched with Anglicisms, has not taken place in Germany since the middle of the 20th century.

The linguist Rudolf Hoberg saw no threat from Anglicisms in 2013. The German language has always taken up English expressions: "After the last Duden edition, we have around 3.5 percent Anglicisms, but 20 percent other foreign words that people usually do not get upset about." He also rejects legal regulations such as language quotas in France or constitutional changes such as in Austria, which have not shown any success. The Germanist Karl-Heinz Göttert called the excitement about Anglicisms “funny”: “They make up less than two percent of the German word treasure. There were and are completely different floods of foreign words. English itself borrowed a third from French in the Middle Ages . And the Japanese language has taken over 50 percent of Chinese. ”They are“ proof that recipient languages ​​deal creatively and not domestically with the influence of the donor languages. ”He turned against a“ dominant culture ”and criticized the linguistic purism with the words: “ That's why Jakob Grimm turned against annoying purism. It would be better if the German Language Association would reflect on the Grimm tradition instead of awarding a Grimm Prize for merits in the fight against Anglicisms. "

Right-wing extremist organizations such as the NPD are also often bothered by Anglicisms and try, for example, to use the not generally recognized word “world network” instead of “Internet”.

Cultural policy discussion

The development of English into the lingua franca in the 20th century influenced most of the world's languages. Sometimes individual words are replaced or, in the case of new publications, adopted without their own translation. This development is viewed with skepticism, especially when there are enough synonyms in the national language. Critics also note that it is often (for example, mobile phones in German) a question of pseudo-Anglicisms .

In France, there was a cultural-political discussion that resulted in a 1994 “law on the use of the French language” ( Loi Toubon ).

See also


  • Margret Altleitner: The Wellness Effect: The Meaning of Anglicisms from the Perspective of Cognitive Linguistics (=  European university publications . Volume 21 : Linguistics , Volume 310 ). Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main 2007, ISBN 978-3-631-56455-4 (Dissertation University of Munich 2006).
  • Karl-Heinz Best : Anglicisms - quantitative . In: Göttingen Contributions to Linguistics . No. 8 , 2003, ISSN  1435-8573 , p. 7-23 .
  • Svetlana Burmasova: Empirical investigation of Anglicisms in German using the material of the newspaper DIE WELT (1994 and 2004) . University of Bamberg Press, Bamberg 2010, ISBN 978-3-923507-71-9 (Dissertation Uni Bamberg 2009).
  • Broder Carstensen, Ulrich Busse: Anglicisms dictionary: the influence of English on German vocabulary after 1945. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York, NY 2001, ISBN 3-11-012854-3 .
  • Peter Eisenberg : Anglicisms in German . In: German Academy for Language and Poetry, Union of the German Academies of Sciences (Hrsg.): Wealth and poverty of the German language. First report on the state of the German language. De Gruyter, Berlin / Boston, MA 2013, pages 57–119. ISBN 978-3-11-033462-3 .
  • Cristiano Furiassi and Henrik Gottlieb (Eds.): Pseudo-English - Studies on False Anglicisms in Europe. De Gruyter, Berlin / Boston / Munich 2015, ISBN 978-1-61451-671-2 .
  • Richard Glahn: The Influence of English on Spoken German Contemporary Language. An analysis of publicly spoken language using the example of "TV German". 2nd, reviewed edition, Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main 2002, ISBN 3-631-38955-8 .
  • Manfred Görlach: Dictionary of European Anglicisms. Oxford 2001, ISBN 0-19-823519-4 .
  • Rudolf Muhr: Anglicism. In: Gert Ueding (Hrsg.): Historical dictionary of rhetoric . WBG, Darmstadt 1992ff, Volume 10 (2011), Col. 37-45.
  • Nicole Plümer: Anglicism - Purism - Linguistic Identity. An investigation into the Anglicisms in the German and French media language. Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main 2000, ISBN 3-631-36075-4 (dissertation Uni Münster (Westphalia), philosophical faculty, 1999),
  • Peter Schlobinski: Anglicisms on the Internet. in: Networx , No. 14, 2000, Online (PDF; free, 28 pages, 983 kB)
  • Jan Georg Schneider: About free-floating capital, hardliners and instructions. Linguistic Notes on Popular Anglicism Criticism. In: Association Lingua et opinio e. V. (LeO) (Hrsg.): Student magazine for language and communication. Online December 19, 2006
  • Wolfgang Schweickard, Glanz und Elend der Sprachpflege: Dealing with Anglicisms in France, Italy and Germany , in: Wolfgang Dahmen et al. (Hrsg.): Englisch und Romansh. Romance Studies Colloquium XVIII , (= Tübingen Contributions to Linguistics , Volume 486), Narr, Tübingen 2005, pp. 177–191, ISBN 978-3-8233-6133-6 .
  • Jürgen Spitzmüller: Metal language discourses: attitudes to Anglicisms and their scientific reception. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2005, ISBN 978-3-11018-458-7 .
  • Stefan Zenklusen : main language English English . In: (ders.): In the Coolag archipelago . wvb, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-86573-164-3 ; abridged in: Journal for Critical Theory , No. 26/27, Volume 2008, pp. 191f, ISBN 978-3-86674-034-1 / ISSN  0945-7313 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Anglicism  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Directory of Anglicisms  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wikibooks: Fruitful Dictionary  - Learning and Teaching Materials

Individual evidence

  1. Wolfgang Pfeifer et al., Etymological Dictionary of German , 4th edition, Berlin 1993, p. 337.
  2. Dieter Herberg / Michael Kinne / Doris Steffens: New vocabulary: Neologisms of the 90s in German , Berlin / New York 2004.
  3. Broder Carstensen / Ulrich Busse: Anglicisms Dictionary: The Influence of English on German Vocabulary after 1945 , Volume 1 (A – E), Berlin / New York 2001, p. 61 *.
  4. ^ Stephanie Bohmann: English elements in contemporary German of the advertising industry. Tectum Verlag, 1996, ISBN 978-3-89608-964-9 .
  5. Frank Puscher: Superficial mistakes. In: c't. 14/2009, p. 74, second paragraph: “You don't want to be rated, you want to be voted. They want you to dig them, to follow them. "
  6. Britta Baas and Bettina Röder in Publik-Forum 15/2015, page 27
  7. Annett Stein in the General-Anzeiger (Bonn) of December 19, 2015, Journal page 6
  8. a b c Svetlana Burmasova: Empirical investigation of Anglicisms in German (PDF; 4.8 MB), in: Contributions to Linguistics , Volume 2, University of Bamberg Press, Bamberg 2010, a) p. 222ff., B) p. 223, c) p. 225.
  9. ^ Peter Eisenberg: Anglicisms in German . In: German Academy for Language and Poetry, Union of the German Academies of Sciences (Hrsg.): Wealth and poverty of the German language. First report on the state of the German language. De Gruyter, Berlin / Boston 2013, pages 57–119, reference: page 77. ISBN 978-3-11-033462-3 .
  10. ^ Peter Eisenberg: Anglicisms in German . In: German Academy for Language and Poetry, Union of the German Academies of Sciences (Hrsg.): Wealth and poverty of the German language. First report on the state of the German language. De Gruyter, Berlin / Boston 2013, pages 57–119, reference: page 93. ISBN 978-3-11-033462-3 .
  11. Duden. The dictionary of origin. Bibliographical Institute, Mannheim / Leipzig / Vienna / Zurich 2001. ISBN 3-411-04073-4 .
  12. Helle Körner: On the development of the German (loan) vocabulary . In: Glottometrics 7, 2004, pages 25-49 (PDF full text ). Table for the Anglicisms on page 36; further information 29f. As with borrowings from other languages, the process also follows the Piotrowski law . Körner's contribution contains similar tables on the development of the overall vocabulary and borrowings from Latin, French, Low German, Italian, Greek, Dutch, Slavonic, Spanish and Rotwelschen. Further evaluations of entire etymological dictionaries: Karl-Heinz Best, Gabriel Altmann : Investigations into the regularity of borrowing processes in German . In: Folia Linguistica Historica 7, 1986, pages 31-41, to Duden. Etymology 1963 and Katharina Ternes: Developments in German vocabulary . In: Glottometrics 21, 2011, pages 25–53 (PDF full text ), on Kluge. Etymological dictionary of the German language. 24th edition 2002.
  13. Hanna Gnatchuk: Anglicisms in the Austrian Newspaper KLEINE ZEITUNG , in: Glottometrics 31, 2015, pp. 38–49; on the Piotrowski law: Table 3, pp. 42–43 (PDF full text ).
  14. Summary of the Endmark Study.
  15. Study by the Society for German Language , Graphics ( Memento from July 21, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  16. Germans speak bad English: Study by GfK , Die Zeit , June 18, 2013
  17. Learning languages: TV in English , Die Zeit, April 9, 2014
  18. Berlin authorities don't make it easy for international start-ups , Tagesspiegel, April 2, 2014
  19. ^ English must become our administrative language , Die Welt , commentary by Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, December 15, 2014
  20. Survey: Majority of Germans for English as the second official language , YouGov opinion research institute, August 9, 2013
  21. Ludwig Reiners: Stilkunst. A textbook of German prose , 2nd edition. CH Beck, Munich 2004, p. 391. ISBN 3-406-34985-4 .
  22. Job titles in English confuse applicants - staff., August 17, 2011, accessed September 4, 2011 .
  23. Reinhold Michels: Nonsensical English: Wanted: WC manager., October 22, 2009, accessed on November 13, 2011 .
  24. "The German language is not threatened by Anglicisms" , RP online from October 5, 2013
  25. Sprachforscher Göttert: "I find the word blockbuster tasteless" , Spiegel Online from November 21, 2013
  26. ( page no longer available , search in web archives: neo-Nazis in the “world network”: few activists - with a lot of space ), NPD blog, March 7, 2007@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /
  27. On the trail of extremists , Die Welt , 23 August 2000