Since the home computer began it’s rise all over the world about 10 years ago, the german-speaking world (namely Germany, Austria and a part of Switzerland) have experienced a increasingly annoying invasion of English words, some of which came with the necessity for new expressions to describe and name new technology, and some just hopped along.


Example: "download"

I am just downloading it.

Ich loade es gerade down.
or
Ich downloade es gerade.

A word for such a thing had never before existed. Alternatively, the germanised version “heruntergeladen” is used, but is far less popular than the English term. Note that even when using the englisch term, the verb is split like it would happen with the German word. Such bastardization of English are quite common, especially among computer geeks.


Example: "handy"

The legend says that when the first cell phones were introduced in Germany in the mid-nineties, they were advertised in funky English terms which most of the customers wouldn’t understand. The word “handy”, describing the first-generation mobile phone as small and comfortable (although we know that wasn’t true), was mistaken as product name, and due too a huge load of customer demanding “Handy’s”, the term became standard in the German-speaking countries.

Recent deterioration: handyphonieren (verb)


The new wave of computer words translated from English to German brought a totally new lingua. If you listen to juvenile Counterstrike or StarCraft players, you will hear the strong symbiosis of bizarre translations and original words all developed out of the mind of 1980s and 1990s computer programmers. Just randomly bastardized words from the English language will at first serve for a laugh for those brute youngsters, but when used more commonly will trickle into German.

While France is watching it’s Grande Langue, and the french parliament actually enforced a law that bans anglicisms in media and advertisement, the frequent use of English words in German TV and press, mostly just to show off (there seems to be a similar phenomenon in Japan), subverts the language. While many conservative people think it is odd, terms like downloaden have already made it into the dictionary (respectively the Duden). As it is a living language, and almost all of it’s speakers know some English, the walls between those two languages are determined to fall apart.

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