Linguistic distortions can be found world-wide.
I returned from Berlin yesterday where I spent two weeks working with two IDEAL-clients. I hit that pulsating cosmopolitan city at the weekend and found myself almost speechless on account of the omnipresent English language.
The Germans are increasingly piling more stress on their plates because of the rapidly rising numbers of anglicized words and terms. When I came across “Dog Service Station”, I was truly baffled. It was just a place for a dog to have a poo and/or a pee and NOT to drink a cup of coffee and stock up on petrol. The German compound noun “Stadtzentrum” has been eradicated – instead, signs, even in small villages, tell you how to get to the “Citycenter”. As you can imagine, “Kaffee zum mitnehmen” has been replaced by “coffee to go”.
All local folk told me that the German language has for years been flooded by unnecessary and weird English terms. The commercials provide “hits for kids” or yoghurt with a “weekend feeling”. On TV, Germans can enjoy “Kiddie Contest”, “History”, “Adventure” or “History Specials”. “Romantic dreams” can be tuned in on radio. Our bodies become steely with the aid of “body shaping” and “power walking”. We put on “outdoor jackets, tops or beach wear”. We put “anti-ageing-cream” on our faces or spray “styling” into our hair. The German railways offer a mind-boggling terminology of “tickets, service point and McClean”.
Some people find that “cool”. Others – the majority of Germans – are annoyed that there are so many superfluous English words/terms and regard this “linguistic distortion” as a despicable treatment of the German language. Indeed, it’s silly – and lacks dignity! – to replace words such as “Leibwächter”, “Karte”, “Fahrrad”, “Nachrichten” oder “Weihnachten” with bodyguard, card, bike, news or X-mas.
This kind of Anglicisation of the German language is due to the global expansion of the American “way of life” which has caused changes in many countries in terms of their life styles and language applications. Germany has also been affected. A particular low loyalty of some Germans to their mother tongue, and the increased willingness to adapt to or even absorb the English language – more than anywhere else – have led to the creation of a linguistic “mix-up” called DENGLISH.
When I wanted to buy a train ticket at the central train station in Berlin, I asked a member of staff where I could find the “Fahrkarten-Schalter”. He looked completely baffled and only reacted when I switched from “Fahrkarte” to ticket. He directed me to the “service point” where I could buy my ticket.
We, from IDEAL-Language&Culture will certainly work out the English term with you if you come across the English word “Schadenfreude” on our island – we wouldn’t say ‘glee in others’ misfortune’, would we?
Funny, isn’t it?
At IDEAL English Language School, our English language courses for German Executives offer total immersion in English language and culture.