Sham Anglicism

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As Scheinanglizismus (also Pseudoanglizismus ) words in the German or any other language are called, the lexical elements of English use a neologism to create, which is unknown in English or is only used in a different meaning. Sham anglicisms are assigned to the field of sham borrowings. These words are unknown as pseudo-borrowings in the English-speaking world or have a different meaning there, so that communication problems with native speakers can arise. They are therefore a special form of so-called false friends .

Pseudo-Anglicisms occur in many languages, for example in German, Dutch , Mexican, Spanish , French and Japanese . In Japanese, a separate term was coined for this with Wasei Eigo .

“The origin of such expressions remains to be investigated. Possibly they were shaped by speakers of German who wanted to use an English expression for what was meant and - on the basis of German or through imagination - coined one themselves. It may be that they did not know the actually existing English words [...] or that their own coinage seemed to serve the purpose better. "



  • " Handy " (pronounced [ ˈhɛndi ]). This word means a mobile phone in German . It is not used as a term for such devices in English-speaking countries. A similar term was used e.g. B. to differentiate between two military mobile radios from Motorola . The backpack radio was called a walkie-talkie , and the handheld radio was called a handie-talkie . Already in Gusbeth's mobile radio dictionary (Franzis 1990) one could read: “Handheld telephones (or cell phones)”. Funkschau , published by the same publisher, also wrote in volume 1/1990 (p. 16): “Should have competition from NECP3 mobile phones in the USA: Motorola's MicroTac mobile phone”. The companies Bosch and Hagenuk also sold their cell phones as cell phones in 1993 . So it is originally the short form of a product name that comes from the English-speaking world, but is no longer used there. It goes back to a paraphrase ( handy “handy”, “practical” or “convenient”). In British English , mobile phones are referred to as mobile phones ( mobiles for short ), in American English as cellular phones ( cell phones for short or simply cells ), and in Singapore and Indonesia the expression handphone is used .
  • " Beamer " as a synonym for "video projector". The word can easily be understood as "spotlight" (from to beam ) by English speakers , but is not used that way either. In North American colloquial language, beamer refers to a BMW vehicle , in Great Britain the word is a technical term for a certain type of throw in cricket . In the technical jargon of the weaving mill it stands for chain shearers. A video projector is called a video projector or digital projector .
  • " Oldtimer ". A historic automobile is called a classic car or vintage car in English-speaking countries ( old-timer means “old man” in English).
  • Home office may be understood by native speakers, but not used. Instead, people work there “from home” or “remotely”; some also call the process “remote working”. In Great Britain, the Home Office is known as the “Home Office”. The term “home office” seems to exist for a small home office both there and in the United States - but it is not idiomatic in the sense in which the word is used in German. In England, for example, it is not said of an employee that he “works from home”.
  • Hometrainer is made up of home (= "home") and trainer (= "trainer"). In German, this refers to an "exercise device (e.g. stationary bicycle) for home use for fitness and recreational sports or for therapeutic gymnastics purposes". This apparently English expression doesn't even exist in English. To refer to such an exercise device, one speaks of exercise bicycle .
  • Other examples: baseball cap , body bag , discounters , male model , Earbook , finisher , no-go , public viewing , Tank , show- or talk show host , speedboat

Other languages

  • In many languages, happy ending is used as an expression for "an [unexpected] happy outcome of a conflict or a love story". In English, however, this expression would be wrong because it has to mean happy ending .
  • Another European bogus Anglicism is tuxedo . In most European languages, this word describes a "mostly black evening suit with silk lapels for smaller social events". In English, however, this meaning of tuxedo does not exist. In English, smoking means “smoking”, the evening suit is called tuxedo in American English and dinner suit or dinner jacket in British English .
  • In French, the example of footing can be found, which is derived from the [non-existent] form of the English word foot (= "foot") and stands for "running at a moderate pace as fitness training". In English this process is called jogging (or German jogging ) - as in German . Other terms are pressing for " ironing (Engl." Ironing ) or Training for Sports Suit (Engl. Tracksuit ).
  • Further examples of pseudo-Anglicisms in several languages: Autostop , drive-in , slip (clothing)


  • Neither "round about" nor "roundabout" are pseudo-Anglicisms: The anglicism round about "approximately" is often incorrectly written together ("roundabout"). In English, however , roundabout means “cumbersome”, “long-winded” and “not directly, but running around something / leading” (such as a roundabout, which is also called “roundabout”). In contrast, round about means "approximately", "approximately", "around ..." and "in the vicinity, near", which usually corresponds to the intention. In English, round about is used in particular in connection with (money) amounts and time information, as well as in general for amounts, e.g. B. "round about 1.35 million sheep", i.e. H. the use of Anglicism in most contexts corresponds to that in English. The use of round about in German is nonetheless controversial from a stylistic point of view, because on the one hand it makes sense to use words like "circa" or "approximately" instead, and on the other hand round about is sometimes considered colloquial or informal in the English-speaking world. In addition, confusion with roundabout often leads to the false assumption that the speaker or author used the word incorrectly.


In language policy and especially in language critical discourse, sham Anglicisms are often cited as evidence of a threat to the German language from Anglo-American influence (see also Denglisch , Sprachpflege ). The aesthetics of expression and the cultural independence of German suffer from the use of Anglicisms and sham Anglicisms .

On the other hand, the formation of pseudo-Anglicisms is seen as a sign of the liveliness of the language and its ability to expand expressive possibilities through creative use of outside influences. In addition, many Anglicisms and pseudo-Anglicisms are buzzwords and will disappear from linguistic usage once fashion has faded.

See also


  • Petra Braselmann: Anglicisms. In: Ingo Kolboom, Thomas Kotschi, Edward Reichel (Hrsg.): Handbuch French. Language, literature, culture, society. Schmidt, Berlin 2002, pp. 204-208, ISBN 978-3-503-06126-6 ; NA: 2008, ISBN 978-3-503-09830-9 .
  • Joachim Grzega: About the pseudo-English foreign words in German (and the influence of English on German in general). In: Joachim Grzega: Linguistics without technical jargon . 7 current studies for everyone interested in language. Shaker, Aachen 2001, pp. 57-70, ISBN 978-3-8265-8826-6 .
  • Ageliki Ikonomidis: Anglicisms in good German: A guide to the use of Anglicisms in German texts . Buske, Hamburg 2009, ISBN 3-875-48560-2 .
  • Alexander Onysko: Anglicisms in German: Borrowing, Lexical Productivity, and Written Codeswitching (=  Linguistics: Impulse & Tendenzen . No. 23 ). Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-11-019946-8 , Chapter 4: Pseudo anglicisms and hybrid anglicisms (English).

Web links

Wiktionary: sham Anglicism  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Pseudo-Anglicism  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Directory: German / Anglicisms / Scheinanglizismen  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Definition according to Alexander Onysko: Anglicisms in German: Borrowing, Lexical Productivity, and Written Codeswitching (=  Linguistics: Impulse & Tendenzen . No. 23 ). Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-11-019946-8 , Chapter 4: Pseudo anglicisms and hybrid anglicisms (English).
  2. a b c d e Joachim Grzega: Introduction to linguistics from a global perspective. An alternative approach to language and languages (= Lincom coursebooks in linguistics, 19). Lincom Europa, Munich 2011, p. 45.
  3. ^ Christian Lehmann: Sprachwandel: Scheinanglizismus.
  4. Patent DE60209900T2: Improved method and system for producing tire cords., October 5, 2006, accessed May 29, 2015 . : "The threads produced in this way are typically spooled or spindled during the handling process 14 via a chain warper (beamer) or a chain warper (warper) for transport to a customer ..."
  5. : Chain shearing machine for winding up the drawn threads
  6. - keyword "Beamer"
  7. - keyword "Oldtimer"
  8. Katja Scholtz: Popular Anglicism: Where the home office is at home . In: FAZ.NET . ISSN  0174-4909 ( [accessed April 22, 2020]).
  9. ^ Robert J. Baumgardner: The Englishization of Spanish in Mexico . In: Paul Bruthiaux (Ed.): Multilingual Matters 133: Directions in Applied Linguistics . 2005, ISBN 978-1-85359-849-4 , pp. 241 (English, on Google Books ).
  10. Vocabolario - autostòp., accessed on May 30, 2015 (Italian, "Dates di uso internazionale (non però nel mondo anglosassone) ..." ).
  11. round about | Definition of round about in English by Oxford Dictionaries. Retrieved May 12, 2019 .
  12. Round about definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary. Retrieved May 12, 2019 .
  13. Chris Melzer / DPA: If Germans invent English: The cell phone should be called Handy. Stern, January 2, 2014, accessed February 9, 2015 .