Do you speak Denglish?

Denglisch (often-spelled Denglish or Gerglish or Angleutsch) is a portmanteau of the words Deutsch and English. Used in all German-speaking countries, Denglisch describes the influx of English, or pseudo-English vocabulary, into the German language through travel and widespread usage in advertising and business. (Wikipedia)

Over recent weeks, I had the opportunity to attend several internal communication and journalist conferences. New media, social media, Web 2.0, and online journalism were always high on the agenda and the words on everyone’s lips. (Yes; you should integrate social media in your communications strategy. No; print is not dead. And yes; it is about choosing from a rapidly expanding line-up of communication tools).

But this blog isn’t about that. It’s about language as a reliable barometer of how much a society is changing. The language you use defines your cultural background, educational input, and the way you want to be perceived by your friends, family… or target groups.

Listening to many of the (German) speakers sharing their experiences and opinions regarding Web 2.0 applications, I wasn’t sure if we’d even know how to express ourselves in our native language if we had to.

For example, your flight was cancelled. In German this becomes Der Flug wurde gecancelt. You downloaded a software program. Well, ich habe das Programm gedownloadet or downgeloadet would be today’s translation.

It is easy, quick, cool, etc. You hear all of these explanations when you ask people why we don’t simply translate English terms into German. Quick, might be right. We’re constantly in a hurry. With so little time, we skip traditional translation and opt to use buzzwords or adopt English terms rather than stop and think if there would be a better, German word to describe it.

But then language, as we use it, tends to exclude. Shouldn’t communications be more about including?

See how IT and business talk has already globalised language. And for those who think, Germans should still put more effort in improving their English language skills, you might find this ad interesting…

Ein Gedanke zu “Do you speak Denglish?

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