Advent Calendar 7- Goethe’s Wet Dream

Goethe’s Wet Dream

 

Hi ihr lieben

and welcome back to our Advent Calendar, day number seven. And today I have something VERY special for you…
a Facebook post.
Hot damnnnnn, that’s lit!!!
Seriously though, I know it sounds underwhelming but I really wanted to share this one with you, because it’s a great showcase for what’s going on with the German language in certain areas at the moment.
So, if you’ve spent time in Germany or you consume German Youtube or trash TV you might have noticed that people are using quite a few English words. And no, I don’t mean Computer, Tablet or Fan. Heck no.
I mean stuff like this:

  • “Nicer Burger, aber die Fries waren fail.”
  • “Deine Parents sind obercringe”
  • “Super freshe Dokus”
  • “Maria und ich haben Quality Time gescheduled um mal wieder richtig als Couple zu connecten.”

Yes. People do say that. And even write it, in reviews or so. The grammar is still German, so verbs get their ge-form and adjectives get their endings, but they’re English. And it’s not only teenagers. If someone lives in a big city and works in branches like advertisement, design, marketing, banking or some start up, then it can get REALLY nasty.
And today, you can get an impression of how nasty :).
There’s a job app called Truffls, a start up no less, and they’re kind of collecting crazy example of Denglish and use it for their own advertising. They take one quote and add a little comment to it. The layout is basically the same the Duden uses.
They usually post it on Twitter, but there’s also a Facebook collection of them. It is unbelievable.
Make sure to also read the comment under it. It’s hilarious.
So… viel Spaß :)
EDIT: Apparently, you can’t click through all of them here, so you need to use the link below to get there. It’ll take you directly to the Facebook post.

Click here to see the full gallery on Facebook

 

“As ASAP as possible” is my favorite.
Now… of course it is possible that they made some of them up, but I can absolutely confirm that none of this is unbelievable.
People in co-working spaces in big cities do say stuff like this. I have heard it with my own ears.

What about you? Have you heard Germans talk like this before? How would it be for you as a native speaker of English if a German were to talk to you that way while being all serious and business-y?
Let me know your thoughts and experiences in the comments. Hope you enjoyed this one, have a great day and bis morgen.

for members :)

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berlingrabers
berlingrabers

I’ve heard some of this for sure. I have a bit more contact to the under-30 crowd here than I did in Berlin, weirdly enough, and while I don’t know a ton of people in the whole business/marketing/advertising sector, there is a ton of “Neudeutsch” floating around.

It’s really weird for me as a native speaker; on the one hand, that’s not my world to begin with, so even when people talk this way in English, it tends to sound like gibberish (and I suspect a lot of it really is). With Germans, I feel like there’s a lot of moments where I just think: Really? German doesn’t have a word for that?

It’s frustrating, too, because – along the lines of my comment on the “wegen” post – I want to figure out how to say stuff in German, and I don’t like the feeling that I can throw in an English word or phrase if I don’t know the German one. A lot of the time, that actually would work, but then you feel like you’re just being lazy (which you kind of are).

It’s similar to the struggle earlier in the language-learning process (around A2-B1), where if you’re Anglophone, people just switch to English as soon as you hesitate about how to say something or even look slightly confused.

Amerikanerin
Amerikanerin

Thanks for delivering! Was starting to think we were going to get a time-warp Türchen! Can’t start the day ohne the Türchen.

Germans do talk this way, but EVERYBODY in the world does – it’s like you yourself wrote, “Language is the most democratic thing in the world” – users shape it. With internet it’s happening even faster because English is so widely spoken and English is sorta In-Your-Face in a way other languages are not. Even languages like Finnish, that attempt to adopt their own term instead of using English ones, have trouble stopping the anglicisms.

AE-speakers use “Schadenfreude” as well as “smörgåsbord” and even “beaucoup” (pronounced Bookoo) – among many others – borrowing words is the best way to show acceptance and appreciation. What is it they say? Coping is the best form of flattery, or something like that.

When there is an equally descriptive word in the target language, I find using the English one, perhaps a bit pretto (a pretentious way to say “pretentious”) but usually the English words are quite on target. Kinda like “Schadenfreude” is auf Deutsch.

What does, however irritate me, is when foreign terms are used wrongly in another language. People who say, “Nemas Problemas” when there is no “s-plural” in the slavic languages. It is “Nema Problema”. Or “Happy Hours”. No matter how many hours the drinks are cheap, it’s still called “Happy Hour”. This being said, I AM trying to douse the irritation – each group of users forms the term to suit their own language and who am I to say how English words feel in a German, Swedish or Finnish mouth? But sometimes grey matter cannot steer that knee-jerk reaction – I am, however working on it.

At risk of waxing all philosophical, I can say that the only real argument I have against peppering our speech with foreign words is that it very often alienates the part of society that isn’t familiar with foreign terms. Where do we draw the line between pulling others up to our level and excluding those that haven’t reached our level? But that is a Thema for a dimly lit bar and a bottle of Rotwein.

aoind
aoind

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. I love that saying.

Amerikanerin
Amerikanerin

Aoind. You know everything. My offer for marriage extends to you as well – intelligence is the sexiest attribute. That, and nice shoes.

aoind
aoind

That’s a very flattering proposal, thank you. I am all about the shoes. Right now I am wearing highly polished black tassel loafers.

Amerikanerin
Amerikanerin

It’s a deal! I’m yours!

berlingrabers
berlingrabers

I can basically get on board with this – I don’t have a problem with all the borrowing, and it’s just part of the way language works, of course.

What tends to get on my nerves (aside from misuse, although there’s plenty of that in English borrowings too) is using a foreign loanword or -phrase for something that there’s no particular reason for. With all the internet and tech stuff, it makes an awful lot of sense. “Googeln” and “liken” and “posten” and all that sort of thing comes from a realm that just didn’t exist a couple of generations ago, and you really would have to do a lot of contriving to come up with genuinely German equivalents.

To me, though, you have to wonder about, say, “das Meeting”. Like, have Germans not had companies and bureaucracies and all of this for decades and centuries and needed words to describe what they do? Is “Treffen” or “Gespräch” or whatever really insufficient to capture the mystical essence of “meeting”? (Which actually is the case for, say “Schadenfreude” – you just can’t translate it in a word or two.)

At the same time, I’ve been in quite a few expat settings where, because we all speak German routinely, we end up speaking our own Denglisch (or is it… Eutsch? Engleutsch?), because it really is surprising how many things you discover are easier to say or express in German, or that you find occurring to you more quickly in your second language.

Oh well.

Elsa
Elsa

LOL LOL LOL LOL
“As ASAP as possible” is really good, no one says that, that’s serious overkill, I mean with ASAP already standing for “as soon as possible”, why the need to add another “as possible”?
Now on a totally unrelated note, could you possible explain what does “ihr lieben” mean and how it is used? I’m sure you’ve had this question before, but I haven’t read the eplanation and to my foreign brain it seems like you’re saying “your (own) dears”. Is it idiomatic?

aoind
aoind

It’s a great example of RAS Syndrome (Redundant Acronym Syndrome Syndrome). Like “Automatic Teller Machine Machine” and “Personal Identification Number Number”.

Amerikanerin
Amerikanerin

See my earlier comment to your post.

berlingrabers
berlingrabers

We’ve also got it in loanwords/phrases from other languages: “Please RSVP,” or “the hoi polloi.”

Barratt
Barratt

Denglish und ich haben eine komplizierte Beziehung. Manchmal muss ich lachen, weil es lustig ist. Manchmal begehe ich auch Denglish aufgrund Humors. Dabei rolle ich oft die Augen, wenn ich Denglish höre, und denke, “seriously, Alter?” Andererseits finde ich es nervend, weil es unnötig verwirrend ist. Es kommt häufig vor, dass ich während eines Gespräches ein Wort nicht verstehe und beim Nachfragen herausfinde, dass das betreffende Wort Englisch gewesen sei. Als englischer Muttersprachler war es für mich am Anfang sehr schwierig, zwischen mit deutschem Akzent ausgesprochenen englischen Wörtern und von mir noch nicht bekannten deutschen Wörtern, zu unterscheiden. Also würde ich sagen, dass gesprochenes Deutsch für nicht Muttersprachler viel klarer ist, wenn man auf Denglish verzichtet.

billyd
billyd

I was amused by the as ASAP as possible. Can it get any ASAP’er than that?

Anonymous
Anonymous

Die Deutschen use whom as if it’s really part of the language.

Abgasstufe EsZett
Abgasstufe EsZett

Eine kleine Bermerkung:
In Deuschland sind Zimmertüren fast am Tag immer zu.
Bei uns hier in den USA meistens offen.
Hat jemand ausser mir das auch bemerkt? Vielleicht ein Mentalitätsunterschied???

Hier ist ein lustiges Lied mit Text. Drinnen seht Türen sind zu Schliießen da!
Sowas heißt ein Ohrwurm! “catchy”

Abgasstufe EsZett
Abgasstufe EsZett

Ja, stimmt – im Wohnhaus daheim wurde gemeint. Kann etwas unangenehm warden, wenn man dringend aufs Klo gehen müß!

Ist es schon besetzt oder nicht??????? – O Weh!

Für einen als Gast im Hause ein bißchen peinlich!

D
D

Gernenglish

D
D

Oops – Germenglisch

bodege
bodege

I live in New Ulm, Minnesota, USA, a city that prides itself for its German heritage. Our people have been doing this for many years – here we call it Ulmer Deutsch. An example – at the baseball game – “Schlagen mir ein homer!”

Käthchen
Käthchen

This makes me sad. I had such high hopes for German and I love learning the language.
I live in France and as a native English speaker, I can’t help but roll my eyes any time I hear or read a misused English word or concept that exists in French or German in this case, just to be hype/trendy. What I’ve also noticed is that these people who insist on using English words in French don’t even master their native tongue or English for the matter.

Ste
Ste

Hi Emanuel, same here in Italy. My wife works for an american company and everybody’s so wound up that they’re mixing english with italian in such an annoying way. Like you often hear “schedulato” (gescheduled) or “allineato” (allined, complying), but what I find most annoying is literary translation from English to Italian, the worst being “compagnia” when they talk about customers/competitors, which is literally the translation of “company” but meant as a company of people you have fun with, definitely not a firm, an industry, whatever!

Diego
Diego

Ich wohne schon vor ein paar Jahren in Frankfurt und muss sagen die Leute reden wirklich so. Manchmal überlege ich mir, wozu habe ich eigentlich so viele Vokabeln auf Deutsch gelernt, wo ich einfach alles auf Englisch sagen könnte und mittlerweile “cool” klingen?

JW
JW

I work for a bank in the UK and we are plagued by a lot of these horrible examples of ‘management speak’ just as much. There is really no good reason to use made up words like “learnings” at all. I am always highly suspicious of any manager who uses a lot of these nonsense phrases. But they grow like weeds throughout corporate life, irrespective of language.

I do work with colleagues in our German office quite frequently (although mostly in English as it’s the standard company language, and my German isn’t good enough to have any sort of business discussion) and I haven’t heard them utter this kind of nonsense very often at all.

az_p
az_p

Was Goethe really into this sort of thing, or would he have hated it? My guess would have been that a classical writer would hate such sloppy modern language, but the title’s use of “wet dream” implies that he would have absolutely loved it! Orrr did you mean Goethe’s worst nightmare? :)

Manes
Manes

This has been going on for a long time. As a matter of fact, my 26 year old German niece argued with me that a “ pullover“ was a German word. I said it was English. I asked her: are “over“ and “ pull “ German words? She thought for a moment, then realized my point.

Walter Biller
Walter Biller

Long story short. My wife and I decided to try ski jumping at Lake Placid. Very scary when you actually get up there (15 m.). She chickened out. Later that day we met a expat couple from Switzerland, and I was excited to practice my German with them. Ugh. The best I could do was: …”und dann klettert sie hoch, schaut nach unten, und ist komplett ausgechickent”. They couldn’t stop laughing!

Sandra Alvarez
Sandra Alvarez

I worked in a digital marketing company for two years as a copy writer and content writer and I heard horrible, horrible English marketing jargon that made me cringe. It sounds awful – seriously, a lot of these media types use it to sound more intelligent, but then what they have said is a bunch of nonsense that nobody (clients included) understand. I had to wade through this crap (in English, of course) and make is sound sensible. I hated it in English and I hate it in German. I agree with this statement from @berlingrabers:

“It’s really weird for me as a native speaker; on the one hand, that’s not my world to begin with, so even when people talk this way in English, it tends to sound like gibberish (and I suspect a lot of it really is).”

Because IT IS gibberish. It communicates NOTHING but the fact that the person using it has zero command of proper English and is a marketing twat.

What really surprised me after two years was that it made communication to clients MORE difficult. It made things less clear. How does one sell anything when the client is sitting at the meeting scratching his head after your pitch?

This was amusing, but frustrating. I hate sounding like a purist, but I will avoid this ‘Denglish’ stuff like the plague. It doesn’t help me learn German, in fact, it detracts from it, because you get confused as to what you should use in this ‘Denglish’.

It was interesting to see this though – from a linguistic perspective, I really appreciate this post ☺️

patrik.osgnach
patrik.osgnach

Well well, I don’t have much experience but my native speakers colleagues told me that the English word is often better in technical speech. The tricky thing is… which article shall I use? For example, no one would say “Gerät” when speaking about electron devices (transistors). We just say “das Device”.

Meanwhile, my favourite German word (so far) is Datenverarbeitungsgerät