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Should German Be Cleansed of "Denglish"?

DW-World asked readers whether they think Germany should stop using the many English words that have crept into advertising, business and everyday speech.

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It's called "Ausverkauf" in German

The German language isn't disappearing. On the other hand, I think all languages, including English, are becoming international. The smaller the world becomes, through television, movies, internet and air travel, the more all of us will find it necessary to speak a common language. Adding words from other languages adds flavor, variety, interest and diversity to a language. It also brings understanding and celebration of other cultures. -- Ronda Summers, USA

I think "Denglish" is bad for both languages. The use of English catch phrases and slang ignores the perfectly good words and phrases available in German, and allows the advertisers and politicians to diffuse the meanings of words so that they gain control or avoid accountability. It also frustrates those who do speak English well, because the Denglish words do not mean the same as they would in proper English, which again leads to confusion in meaning and frustration in communications. -- Teresa J S Drag

Perhaps you should take the democratic way out and have the people vote on it in the next national elections. Can't wait to see the translations for "Big Mac" and "Whopper." -- Herzilein York, USA

I really don't think that it should matter that much whether or not Germans are speaking more English. Maybe it's good for them. English is quite possibly one of the most-used languages. Perhaps it's natural that Germans are speaking more English -- or Denglish, I should say. English came from German, and Spanish, French and Italian came from Latin. So what's the big deal? -- Chance Wilson, Brooksville, Florida, USA

As a native English speaker who is currently learning German, I find it irritating and nauseating that many Germans slavishly try to ape the English-speaking world, instead of appreciating and contributing to their own language and culture. I have no desire to live in a world where we are all the same, linguistically and culturally, and feel that the Germans have a tremendous amount to offer, but only if they stop apologizing for being German and start being proud of the fact. -- Joseph McBride, Nottingham, UK

C'mon, be real, get hip, English is the Lingua Franca of the world today. Limit it's use and you have penalized the young people who are preparing to become part of today's world. Besides, hearing English spoken by native German speakers which is being taught in a clear British English is like so charming. (Yes, Claudia Schiffer; Nein, Arnold Schwarzeneggar) -- I. Mandell

Demand from the Coca-Colas and Wal-Marts of the world to respect the German language. It is amazing what a few letters to a corporate head can do to change their minds. Instead of demanding an end to Denglish, make German trendy and hip. -- Kai Abelkis, USA

I think the constant use of English in German advertising is insipid but not likely to cease. Although, as you mentioned in your article, fewer people than expected really speak and understand English, put on any channel on the radio or TV and we are bombarded with Denglish. No matter what "noble" efforts are being taken to preserve the language, it isn't going to happen. Mixing languages is seen as cool; the majority of hit songs are in English; clothing is full of English messages and labels; and we cannot regulate that. Globalization will require us all to understand each other by speaking a simple, clearer business English. I support my child speaking Denglish, if only for the pronunciation practice: I am not foolish enough to believe that she can succeed in the future by isolating herself linguistically from the rest of the world. I think there is a danger in that thinking. So let's make sure the English used is being used correctly, and see that our educators, when they do teach German, teach it correctly and update their skills as the language changes, so that our kids have a chance to be truly bilingual, and not semi-lingual, speaking neither language correctly. -- Christina Albert

Few Germans (who) mix English terminology with their German conversation -- often to demonstrate "trendyness" -- actually understand the English words they are using. It also gives many Germans the false impression that they speak better English than they actually do. By all means, use a loan word when a suitable term doesn't exist, but if a good German word exists why not use it, so everybody knows what you're talking about! -- Julie Zein, UK, currently living in Germany


I think it is really good for a country to use its native language in almost anything or everywhere; it is a way of showing national pride. Language serves as a sort of identity. I strongly agree that Germans should stop using English words. -- Monica Hidalgo, Philippines, currently living in Germany

Your folksongs will keep the pure German going. -- Donald Campbell, UK






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