Achtung! Less "Denglish", more German, please

Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:53am EDT
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By Max Chrambach

BERLIN (Reuters Life!) - The word "Ruckizuckifutti" is not only a mouthful -- it doesn't evoke a sense of American lifestyle like its English equivalent "fast food", either.

But when the German Language Foundation called on Germans to find an alternative for the English term, "Ruckizuckifutti" was one uniquely German suggestion.

The campaign is one of several by advocacy groups who are intensifying their fight against the massive use of English and "Denglish" -- a hybrid of the two languages -- in Germany's advertising, television and everyday parlance.

"We don't want to be language purists, but we want people to be aware of how they speak and that certain linguistic imports just don't fit into German," said Cornelius Sommer, a former German ambassador and one of the leaders of the campaign.

Another advocacy group, the German Language Club, has called on telecommunications giant Deutsche Telekom to stop using terms like "Blackberry Webmail" and criticized national rail operator Deutsche Bahn for similar misnomers.

They face an uphill battle in Germany, where English is widely spoken and English expressions and Anglicisms are common.

For the past four years, Sommer asked the public each month to come up with one German equivalent for a borrowed English expression, with special focus on Anglicisms which use the original English incorrectly.

Sommer cites the word "handy", which in Germany refers to a mobile phone, as a prime example of how the false Anglicisms not only harmed the German, but the English language, too.   Continued...