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Xenism ( Gr. Ξένος xénos "stranger") describes a still colorful linguistic term that has so far been absent from most specialist dictionaries as well as from general dictionaries ( Duden , Wahrig etc.). The Metzler Lexicon Language indicates that it has not yet received the status of a clearly defined technical term.

Use of terms

Gossen (1981, 35) uses xenism in the sense of " foreign and loan words ", cf. Xenonym .

Ehlich (1986) sees xenisms not only in vocabulary (borrowings), but on all linguistic levels from sound to text . Moser (1996, 13), whose work is regarded as the “theoretical-terminological framework for further xenism research”, is based on this. Xenisms are "noticeable, they jump into the ear or eye, irritate through their unfamiliarity or strangeness". Hess-Lüttich describes the meaning with explicit reference to Ehlich as "naming those linguistic phenomena we are all familiar with, by which we recognize the other as a stranger or in which we identify ourselves as such, voluntarily or not."

Jung (1993, 213) distinguishes xenism from foreign and loan words in that it “z. B. also place and person names, book or film titles, interjections , quotations and longer interspersed passages as well as special phonetic , orthographical or typographical features that are only occasionally transferred from another language or language variant, are included ... The decisive criterion for Determination of xenisms, on the other hand, is that here a conceptual content should not be conveyed, but primarily a foreignness should be evoked. "

"Xenism" is also used to describe a special type of loan word in which a foreign language is imitated (see, for example, pseudo-Anglicism , e.g. cell phone , oldtimer , quiz master ), in contrast to real loan words such as B. Anglicisms through which foreign words are incorporated into German.

Some examples

According to the different conceptions of "xenism", examples of very different types can be cited:

Marketing for sales economy , management for corporate management , office management for secretarial organization. Xenisms are relatively common in the names of aid associations: "Bulungi" (good, beautiful), "Jamaa" (family, friend), "Harambee kwa watoto" (together for children), "Steaua speranţei" (star of hope).

Xenisms are increasingly finding their way into advertising not only because of the converging living conditions in the industrialized countries , but also because of the will to stand out and the special idioms of individual social groups .

In the formation of xenisms, it is less a conceptual content than the fascination of the foreign that should be conveyed through association . In addition to advertising, caricature and plays also adopt xenism. In addition, certain jokes get their comedy from the creation of xenisms, e.g. B .: What is the name of the Chinese transport minister? Um-Lai-Tung.

Xenisms from the comic series Asterix are known to represent other peoples and their languages ​​(e.g. Fraktur script for the Goths / Germans, a manner of speaking used by the British based on the English syntax, pseudo hieroglyphics for Egyptians) or in the representation of soldiers who speak other languages Austro-Hungarian Army in the novel Osudy dobrého vojáka Švejka za světové války (The Fate of the Good Soldier Schwejk during the World War) by Jaroslav Hašek (1883–1923). Moser (1996, 86–129) uses numerous examples from several European languages ​​to point out that when translating xenisms, the foreignness of the imitated language may have to be compensated for, especially if the imitated language is also the target language of the translation, e.g. . B. in the case of Schwejk the German in the translation by Grete Rainer (1951).


  • Rebekka Bratschi: Xenisms in advertising: the instrumentalization of the foreign , Lang, Frankfurt am Main / Berlin / Bern / Bruxelles / New York / Oxford / Vienna 2005, ISBN 978-3-631-53711-4 (also dissertation at the University of Mainz 2004).
  • Konrad Ehlich : Xenisms and the lasting strangeness of learning a foreign language. In: Ernest WB Hess-Lüttich (Ed.): Integration and identity, socio-cultural and psycho-pedagogical problems in language lessons with foreigners. Narr, Tübingen 1986, pp. 43-54, ISBN 3-87808-758-6 .
  • Helmut Glück (Ed.), With the collaboration of Friederike Schmöe : Metzler Lexikon Sprache. 3rd, revised edition. Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2005, ISBN 3-476-02056-8 .
  • Carl Theodor Gossen : Trends in the creation of words in French today. In: Ernst Pulgram (Ed.): Studies presented to Joshua Whatmough on his sixtieth birthday . Mouton, 's-Gravenhage 1957, 1965, 1979, 1981, pp. 29-41.
  • Matthias Jung: Language boundaries and the outlines of a xenological linguistics. In: Yearbook of German as a Foreign Language. Iudicium, Munich 19/1993, pp. 203-230, ISSN  0342-6300 .
  • Wolfgang Moser: Xenisms. The imitation of foreign languages. Lang, Frankfurt am Main a. a. 1996, ISBN 3-631-48883-1 (also dissertation at the University of Graz 1994).

Web links

Wiktionary: Xenism  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Helmut Glück (ed.), With the assistance of Friederike Schmöe: Metzler Lexikon Sprach. 3rd, revised edition. Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2005, ISBN 3-476-02056-8 .
  2. Velimir Piškorec: Well-known strangeness . In: Zagreb German Studies. Yearbook for literature and linguistics . tape 5 . University of Zagreb, Zagreb 1996, p. 209-212 .
  3. ^ Annette Endruschat and Jürgen Schmidt-Radefeldt: Introduction to Portuguese Linguistics . 3rd, revised edition. Narr Francke Attempto Verlag, Tübingen 2014, ISBN 978-3-8233-6887-8 , p. 136 .
  4. ^ Ernest WB Hess-Lüttich : Xenisms in the German-Chinese conversation. In: Jianhua Zhu, Hans-R. Fluck, Rudolf Hoberg (Hrsg.): Intercultural communication German-Chinese. Colloquium in honor of Siegfried Grosse , 25. – 27. November 2004, Shanghai. Peter Lang, Frankfurt a. a. 2006, pp. 357-374, citation p. 362f.
  5. Petr Mareš: Výzkumy vícejazyčnosti v literatuře [Research on multilingualism in literature] . In: Slovo a Smysl / Word and Sense . tape 11-12 . Praha 2009 (Czech, cuni.cz ).