With globalisation and the spread of English due to it, some European languages are under more and more pressure to maintain their own language. There is often a push for example in countries like France, where L’academie Francaise to try to keep the language pure. In Germany apart from an official academie to protect the language they have developed an award “Deutsche Sprachpanscher des Jahres- German Language Diluter of the Year Award” to highlight those people abusing the German language.
In Germany the “Verein Deutsche Sprache – German Language Association” has a huge responsibility, trying to keep the invasion of English words entering the language. Germans learn English in school, and despite all English language television being dubbed over with German voices, German speakers are quite proficient at speaking English.
It is also quite fashionable these days to drop English words into everyday conversation. There are even English words that have no equivalent word in German. To give an example I translated “Shit happens- Scheisse passiert” into German. I was told that they don’t use that word like that in German. When asked what do they use they simply said “Shit happens”. I continued to use “scheisse passiert” until it became recognised and fashionable to use it by German speakers. Germans also use the word “cool” and a lot of English-American slang.
Since 1997 the German Language Association has given out the award for the German Language Diluter of the Year for the offender of the year. One of the best examples was the first award ever given in 1997 to a fashion designer called Jil Sander
Ich habe vielleicht etwas Weltverbesserndes. Mein Leben ist eine giving-story. Ich habe verstanden, dass man contemporary sein muss, das future-Denken haben muss. Meine Idee war, die hand-tailored-Geschichte mit neuen Technologien zu verbinden. Und für den Erfolg war mein coordinated concept entscheidend, die Idee, dass man viele Teile einer collection miteinander combinen kann. Aber die audience hat das alles von Anfang an auch supported. Der problembewusste Mensch von heute kann diese Sachen, diese refined Qualitäten mit spirit eben auch appreciaten. Allerdings geht unser voice auch auf bestimmte Zielgruppen. Wer Ladyisches will, searcht nicht bei Jil Sander. Man muß Sinn haben für das effortless, das magic meines Stils. – Interview in der Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung vom 22. März 1996; zitiert im SPIEGEL vom 1. April 1996
It’s not hard to tell some of the English words dropped in this conversation but she has also germanised some common Englis verbs. The English words are all highlighted. This is one the best examples of corruption of the German language you can find.
In 2002 another great example from a German state institution Deutsche (German) Post from Klaus Zumwinkel
One stop shopping, Global mail, Mailing Factory, Fulfillment, Stampit, Postage point, Freeway, Easytrade, Funcard mailing, Travel service, Speed booking
For a German national service imagine not being able to speak English and having to use one of the services advertised by Deutsche Post.
To view whole article and the year by year award recipients click here for Wikipedia’s Deutsche Sprachpanscher des Jahres
A warning is that is written in German and there are no visible translations for this post.
To this day German is under attack from the English language, but it is not the only threat. The language is also trying to simplfy itself. So stay tuned as we give an account on the comedy book the “Dative will be the death of the Genitive”, the funny story about German grammar’s archaic rules, being its own undoing.
Of course for a brush up on your German Slang click here