Denglisch or Denglish (English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 spelling) is a portmanteau of the German words Deutsch and Englisch. Used in all German-speaking and Dutch-speaking countries, it describes an influx of English, or pseudo-English, vocabulary into the German or Dutch language through travel and the widespread usage of English in advertising, business and information technology
Information technology
Information technology is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications...

. Synonyms are Gerglish, Germish, Angleutsch and Engleutsch.

While it has been argued that this influx, similar to the import of Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 and French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 words in the past, makes the language more expressive, in many sectors of society it remains controversial, notably with older generations who are often less accustomed to English terms.

Germanisation of English words

English words within Denglisch will have a flexion added to them, so they can be declined in the same manner as German words.
Ich musste den Computer neu booten / rebooten, weil die Software gecrasht ist.
I had to reboot
In computing, booting is a process that begins when a user turns on a computer system and prepares the computer to perform its normal operations. On modern computers, this typically involves loading and starting an operating system. The boot sequence is the initial set of operations that the...

 the computer because the software crashed.

Hast du schon die neueste Firefox-Version downgeloadet / gedownloadet?
Have you already downloaded the newest version of Firefox?.

The German version of Microsoft Windows XP will inform the user of the fact that it is currently downloading updates with the words:
Updates werden gedownloadet: 16%

The same can be expressed in standard German, without the use of any English words, as:
Aktualisierungen werden heruntergeladen

Twisting of German idioms and grammar rules

The adaptation also takes the other route, where literal translation
Literal translation
Literal translation, or direct translation, is the rendering of text from one language to another "word-for-word" rather than conveying the sense of the original...

s of popular English expressions slowly but insistently swap out the correct German words and idiom
Idiom is an expression, word, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is comprehended in regard to a common use of that expression that is separate from the literal meaning or definition of the words of which it is made...

s. Widespread examples of this evolution are:
  • Was passierte in 2005? (What happened in 2005?)
    Formally: "Was passierte 2005?" or "Was passierte im Jahre 2005?" Although this usage is considered wrong by many native speakers and violates German grammar, it can even be found in German newspapers.

These phrasings may have originated from (dubbed) English-language movies and other media translated into German, but they are also used in everyday language.

Some of those constructs will only be found in youth language, where it has become common, for example, to talk about coole Events which captures almost, but not quite, the same meaning as the respective English phrase.

The English words that are borrowed usually have rather specific connotations attached to them, in most cases more so than either their translation or their original:
Statement [to the press, or a pledge of opinion], Event [cool] social/cultural occasion, like a concert], Paper [scientific research paper, not 'paper/'Papier - though the latter may also mean "document"/"paper"].

Another phenomenon is the usage of the English genitive (possessive) construction 's , often called Deppenapostroph (Idiot's apostrophe or Idiot's inverted comma), instead of the appropriate German constructions. For example, a Denglisch speaker might write Wikipedia's Gestaltung (Wikipedia's design) instead of either Wikipedias Gestaltung, or die Gestaltung der Wikipedia. Less often it is used, incorrectly, to mark a plural (Greengrocers' apostrophes):
Handy's, Dessou's,

or for adverbial expressions, such as
montag's (instead of montags, cf. English [on] Mondays)

Denglisch may combine words according to English rules by writing them in succession. According to the Standard German grammar and spelling rules, this is incorrect.
Reparatur Annahme instead of Reparaturannahme

The first spelling, the words in succession, makes no logical or grammatical connection between the words but simply juxtaposes them. The second combines them to one word, an Annahme (in this case a place where something is received) for Reparaturen (repairs). This is often called Deppenleerstelle, or Deppenleerzeichen which means idiot's space, incorrectly separating parts of a compound word.


These words seem to be foreign words
Foreign Words
Foreign Words is a novel by Greek author Vassilis Alexakis that tells the story of middle-aged writer Nicolaides and his decision to learn the African language Sango following the death of his father. The novel was originally published in 2002 in France as Les mots étrangers, where it was...

, but they are German creations and have a different meaning, or no meaning at all, in (real) English.
German word Meaning to German speaker
Beamer (digital) projector
City city centre, downtown
Downtown is a term primarily used in North America by English speakers to refer to a city's core or central business district ....

, central business district
Central business district
A central business district is the commercial and often geographic heart of a city. In North America this part of a city is commonly referred to as "downtown" or "city center"...

 origin: The City
City of London
The City of London is a small area within Greater London, England. It is the historic core of London around which the modern conurbation grew and has held city status since time immemorial. The City’s boundaries have remained almost unchanged since the Middle Ages, and it is now only a tiny part of...

 (of London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

Dressman male model
Drive-In drive-through
A drive-through, or drive-thru, is a type of service provided by a business that allows customers to purchase products without leaving their cars. The format was first pioneered in the United States in the 1930s but has since spread to other countries. The first recorded use of a bank using a drive...

Evergreen golden oldie (referring not just to music, but to anything that has been popular for a long time)
Fitnessstudio gym or fitness club
Handy mobile phone or cell phone
Oldtimer  vintage or classic car, or aircraft
Peeling facial or body scrub
public viewing has been used for major sport events like the FIFA World Cup when the games were shown on huge screens to the public, although public viewing used to have a different meaning apparently this "new" meaning is creeping into native English
Shooting photo shoot
Showmaster may mean:* Pseudo-anglicism for a TV show host* Fender Showmaster, an electric guitar by Fender* ShowMaster Whiteboard,a kind of upscale glass whiteboard...

TV-show host
Slip briefs, knickers, panties
Smoking dinner suit, tuxedo origin: the then less formal dress for events with smoking allowed
Streetworker social work
Social work
Social Work is a professional and academic discipline that seeks to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of an individual, group, or community by intervening through research, policy, community organizing, direct practice, and teaching on behalf of those afflicted with poverty or any real or...

Timer calendar / appointment book
Tischset, or Set placemat
A placemat is a protective table pad usually made of paper, plastic or cloth for restaurants and households. Asian-style placemats may feature thin slats of bamboo or colourful beads. The term is derived from the mat being put at a person's "place" at a table.- Uses :Their primary function is to...

, doily
A doily is an ornamental mat, originally the name of a fabric made by Doiley, a 17th-century London draper. Doily earlier meant "genteel, affordable woolens", evidently from the same source....

trampen hitchhiking
Hitchhiking is a means of transportation that is gained by asking people, usually strangers, for a ride in their automobile or other road vehicle to travel a distance that may either be short or long...

Wellness-Hotel Closest translation would be "spa", although often used to describe hotels that simply have a pool or sauna or other such amenities plus appropriate promotional adverts.


Some companies such as Deutsche Bank
Deutsche Bank
Deutsche Bank AG is a global financial service company with its headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany. It employs more than 100,000 people in over 70 countries, and has a large presence in Europe, the Americas, Asia Pacific and the emerging markets...

 now do much of their business in English.

Several departments of the major German telephone company Deutsche Telekom
Deutsche Telekom
Deutsche Telekom AG is a telecommunications company headquartered in Bonn, Germany. It is the largest telecommunications company in Europe....

were known as "T-Home" (formerly "T-Com"), "T-Mobile", "T-Online", and "T-Systems".

Many American films such as Ice Age
Ice Age (film)
Ice Age is a 2002 American computer-animated film created by Blue Sky Studios and released by 20th Century Fox. It was directed by Carlos Saldanha and Chris Wedge from a story by Michael J. Wilson. The story follows three Paleolithical mammals attempting to return a lost human baby to its parents...

do not translate their titles into German. Menus of many global fast-food chains also usually go partly or completely untranslated: Double Whopper (earlier: Doppel-Whopper) mit leckerem Bacon und Cheddar Cheese.

Advertising language

Advertising agencies have such need for both languages that they want ads for new employees to contain plain English such as "Join us". (Wetzlarer Neue Zeitung 26 August 2006). KFC
KFC, founded and also known as Kentucky Fried Chicken, is a chain of fast food restaurants based in Louisville, Kentucky, in the United States. KFC has been a brand and operating segment, termed a concept of Yum! Brands since 1997 when that company was spun off from PepsiCo as Tricon Global...

 Germany's recruitment slogan is "I Am for Real", and their website shows very heavy use of English coupled with non-standard German.

German commercials or—more often—written ads thus are likely to use many English terms:

The term "downloaden" is alleged to have been coined by Microsoft, as there is a non-English and often-used German word (""). Microsoft Windows Update uses the phrase "" (Download the latest updates) instead of the standard "". The latest interface guidelines suggest that the term "" should be used again, because many users complained. However, Aktualisierungen (other than herunterladen) would not be idiomatic German in this usage, or at least have to be explained as Softwareaktualisierungen or Programmaktualisierungen, the former involving the new Anglicism "Software".

The use of ("") has its roots in a commercial name, too. It is related to the handheld Walkie-talkie
A walkie-talkie is a hand-held, portable, two-way radio transceiver. Its development during the Second World War has been variously credited to Donald L. Hings, radio engineer Alfred J. Gross, and engineering teams at Motorola...

, a commercial name for the two-way radio transceiver to be transported in a bag, later in hands, hence called (""). The proper translation would be (""). Germans used to cite the word ("") as an example for Denglisch.

The field of personal hygiene
Hygiene refers to the set of practices perceived by a community to be associated with the preservation of health and healthy living. While in modern medical sciences there is a set of standards of hygiene recommended for different situations, what is considered hygienic or not can vary between...

 tends to use much English:
Double Action Waschgel
Vitalisierendes Peeling
Energy Creme Q10
Oil Control Gel Creme
Oil Control Waschgel
Neutrogena Visibly Clear Anti-Mitesser
Acne vulgaris
Acne vulgaris is a common human skin disease, characterized by areas of skin with seborrhea , comedones , papules , pustules , Nodules and possibly scarring...

Ariel Sproodles

The same applies to detergents:
Color Waschmittel instead of 'Farbwaschmittel' or 'Waschmittel für Farbiges'
[brand name] Megapearls
[brand name] Oxy-Action

Larger national and international companies based in Germany also make use of English to describe their products. The television broadcaster ProSieben uses the slogan "We love to entertain you", while Zurich Financial Services
Zurich Financial Services
Zurich Financial Services AG is a major financial services group based in Zurich, Switzerland.-History:The Company was founded in 1872 as subsidiary of the Schweiz Marine Insurance Company under the name Versicherung Verein...

 advertise with the slogan "Because change happenz". The fastest trains run by Deutsche Bahn
Deutsche Bahn
Deutsche Bahn AG is the German national railway company, a private joint stock company . Headquartered in Berlin, it came into existence in 1994 as the successor to the former state railways of Germany, the Deutsche Bundesbahn of West Germany and the Deutsche Reichsbahn of East Germany...

 (German Rail) are named "IC
InterCity is the classification applied to certain long-distance passenger train services in Europe...

" and "ICE
The Intercity-Express or ICE is a system of high-speed trains predominantly running in Germany and neighbouring countries. It is the highest service category offered by DB Fernverkehr and is the flagship of Deutsche Bahn...

", abbreviations of "Inter City" and "Inter City Express", while information booths are named "ServicePoints" and first-class waiting areas are referred to as "Lounges".

Sometimes such neologisms also use CamelCase
CamelCase , also known as medial capitals, is the practice of writing compound words or phrases in which the elements are joined without spaces, with each element's initial letter capitalized within the compound and the first letter either upper or lower case—as in "LaBelle", "BackColor",...

, as in the Deutsche Telekom
Deutsche Telekom
Deutsche Telekom AG is a telecommunications company headquartered in Bonn, Germany. It is the largest telecommunications company in Europe....

's newest rates called "Fulltime", "Freetime", "Call Plus" and "Call Time" offering additionally such features as "CountrySelect". Travel agencies offering "last minute" bookings or manufacturers adopting "just in time" deliveries has become general use, probably required by international commerce and economic interests.

The phrase "Test it!" is increasingly common as an English phrase idiosyncratic to German, meaning roughly "try it out". This is thought to have originated with advertising copy for West cigarettes
West (cigarette)
West is a German tobacco brand owned by the British company Imperial Tobacco.The cigarettes are available in most European Union countries except the UK and Ireland. The brand is sold in over 90 countries worldwide.-History:...

, exhorting consumers to "Test The West".

Denglish in popular culture

  • The popular German a capella group Wise Guys
    Wise Guys (band)
    The Wise Guys are a band that began in early 1990 in Cologne, Germany. They are an a cappella group.-History of the Group:Apart from Ferenc Husta and Nils Olfert, the members all attended the Hildegard-von-Bingen-Gymnasium in Cologne from 1981 to 1990. With their schoolmates Clemens Tewinkel and...

     produced a song on their Radio
    Radio (Wise Guys)
    Radio is the ninth album of the German a cappella group Wise Guys. It is built in the form of a radio broadcast: between each individual piece come jingles and other small tidbits, such as the news or sports. This stands as the first concept album of the Wise Guys...

    album called "Denglisch", a tongue-in-cheek look at the use of English words in German language. In this song the lyrics start out mostly German with only a few English words creeping in - "Oh, Herr, bitte gib mir meine Sprache zurück!" (Oh, lord, please give me my language back). It progresses to most of the lyrics being English: "Oh Lord, please gib mir meine Language back"
  • In 1985, famous German poetical songwriter Reinhard Mey
    Reinhard Mey
    Reinhard Friedrich Michael Mey is a German singer-songwriter, known to fans as "Liedermacher". In France he is known as Frédérik Mey....

     recorded "Mey English Song" as a parody on radio increasingly frequently playing English songs, although the fans "only railway station understand" (literal translation of the German idiom "verstehe nur Bahnhof", cannot understand a thing). In the song, he states, his producer told him "Well, what do we now for record sell?", urging Mey to sing in English.
  • On an episode of the web series Will It Blend?
    Will It Blend?
    Will It Blend? is a viral marketing campaign consisting of a series of infomercials demonstrating the Blendtec line of blenders, especially the Total Blender. In the show, Tom Dickson, the Blendtec founder, attempts to blend various unusual items in order to show off the power of his blender...

     Tom puts a German-English/English-German CD dictionary into his blender. After he finishes blending the dictionary, he says, "Denglish smoke! Don't breathe this!"

See also

  • Anglish
    Anglo-Saxon linguistic purism is a kind of English linguistic purism, which favors words of native origin over those of foreign origin. In its mild form, it merely means using existing native words instead of foreign ones...

  • Béarlachas
    Béarlachas is an Irish term for a variety of words and phrases used in the language that are perceived to be either excessively influenced by English or to be English. This influence may vary between simple anglicisms to a process of interlanguage forms...

  • Europanto
    Europanto is a macaronic language concept with a fluid vocabulary from multiple European languages of the user's choice or need. It was conceived in 1996 by Diego Marani based on the common practice of word-borrowing usage of many EU Languages...

  • Fahrvergnügen
    Fahrvergnügen was an advertising slogan used by the German automobile manufacturer Volkswagen in a 1990 U.S. ad campaign that included a stick figure driving a Volkswagen car....

  • False friends
  • globish
    Globish may refer to:* Globish , a formalized natural language subset of English grammar and vocabulary* Globish , a simplified constructed language related to, but independent of, standard English...

  • Language transfer
  • List of German expressions in English
  • Lübke English
    Lübke English
    The term Lübke English refers to nonsensical English texts created by a naive word-by-word translation of German texts that disregard differences between these languages in terms of their syntax, context dependency of vocabulary with multiple possible meanings, and German idioms not having...

  • macaronic
  • Mixed language
    Mixed language
    A mixed language is a language that arises through the fusion of two source languages, normally in situations of thorough bilingualism, so that it is not possible to classify the resulting language as belonging to either of the language families that were its source...

  • Pidgin
    A pidgin , or pidgin language, is a simplified language that develops as a means of communication between two or more groups that do not have a language in common. It is most commonly employed in situations such as trade, or where both groups speak languages different from the language of the...

  • Pseudo-anglicism
    Pseudo-anglicisms are words in languages other than English which were borrowed from English but are used in a way native English speakers would not readily recognize or understand. Pseudo-anglicisms often take the form of portmanteau words, combining elements of multiple English words to create a...

  • Wienerschnitzel
    Wienerschnitzel is an American fast food chain founded in 1961 that specializes in hot dogs, but is currently expanding to other items. Wienerschnitzel locations are found almost exclusively in California and Texas, though others are located in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, New Mexico,...

External links

  • 'ACHTUNG': a classic example of a Denglisch warning
  • Denglisch used for truck-driver humour
  • ‘Denglish’ is on the march, a December 2004 article from the International Herald Tribune
    International Herald Tribune
    The International Herald Tribune is a widely read English language international newspaper. It combines the resources of its own correspondents with those of The New York Times and is printed at 38 sites throughout the world, for sale in more than 160 countries and territories...

  • Opinion: Desperately Ditching Denglish, a November 2004 article from the Deutsche Welle
    Deutsche Welle
    Deutsche Welle or DW, is Germany's international broadcaster. The service is aimed at the overseas market. It broadcasts news and information on shortwave, Internet and satellite radio on 98.7 DZFE in 30 languages . It has a satellite television service , that is available in four languages, and...

  • Don't fret, it's only Denglish, a DaF student's view on the topic, from Freie Universität Berlin, 2002
  • Denglish definition and citation, from a February 2001 article on a "lexpionage" (lexical
    In linguistics, the lexicon of a language is its vocabulary, including its words and expressions. A lexicon is also a synonym of the word thesaurus. More formally, it is a language's inventory of lexemes. Coined in English 1603, the word "lexicon" derives from the Greek "λεξικόν" , neut...

    Espionage or spying involves an individual obtaining information that is considered secret or confidential without the permission of the holder of the information. Espionage is inherently clandestine, lest the legitimate holder of the information change plans or take other countermeasures once it...

    ) website
  • Wir haben ge-partied, a 2001 article from an Irish "women's web portal"
  • Gayle Tufts, a Berlin-based American performer whose comedy is often based on Denglish.
  • Denglish, at
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