Kaffeepausi with Strudel – german expressions in other languages

Still it is exciting and somehow strange for me to retrieve german words and expressions in the mouthes of internationals who do not even speak german. As we have done with other languages (french was so popular for a long time as nowadays is english), german is being used elsewhere – not an evidence for a dying language, is it? I have myself often complained that Germany is so indiscriminate and arbitrary when importing english expressions which we call denglish. They simply often make no sense in their context, are misunderstood in the first place or there is a handy german word at hand (which they speaker has forgotten about). This is why some intellectuals are convincend that Denglish is a Kotau to American supremacy in economics, culture and political life. It serves as an example for a “Zeitgeist”-language. “Zeitgeist” is such a great example for the opposite as well as “Gemuetlich” – both words do not exist in their original meaning in english and have not been substituted yet. Cosy or comfortable has far less associations than a “gemütliche” Christmas celebration – to some it transports images of fairy tales, warming interiors in small houses in a snow landscape, windows being illuminated with golden light shining and racing against the moon and the starts. How funny that instead of “mega” in London, NYC and Liverpool they now use “uber” and ignore that it is actually spelled “über” (ueber). So why do foreigners import german expressions into their languages then? Because they want to impress their audience? Maybe simply because it is the way how languages evolve and mutually benefit from each other. And it is a natural state that a world with almost no borders exchanges language and a culture or language community chooses by the conditions of their enviroment what sounds or fits best as long as there is no substitute or a law preventing exactly that. First come – first serve. But not only in England some german vocabulary can be useful if you want to be understood: The Finish use the word “Kaffeepausi” for a coffee break (Kaffeepause). But my personal favorite is “Strudel” which in the hebraic community uses to spell the @-symbol. Mail-Strudel-Markus-Bussmann-Punkt.Com. Strudel has several meanings, my semantic to it is simply a cake. You may ask: Why do the germans use a cake for that? They don’t, it is a german word though, but the original expression for the @-Symbol is Klammeraffe (see picture). Very nice. We can be proud of our language and heritage (except those that have come up to your mind immediately of course when you think of Germany….- don’t mention the war! – but why have Angst anymore?)More examples for language migration can be found in this fantastic book.

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