The best (or worst?) of Denglish

Denglish, according to Wikpedia, is a term “used in all German-speaking countries to refer to the increasingly strong influx of English or pseudo-English vocabulary into German.” In its simplest form, Denglish involves replacing some German words with their English equivalents, so someone might say “Ich habe die Files gedownloadet” instead of “Ich habe die Dateien heruntergeladen”. Here, there are perfectly good German words, the speaker just chooses not to use them for some reason.

In other cases, either an English word has replaced the original German to such an extent that most people don’t even know the real German word any more or there never was a German word in the fist place (e.g. der Browser for an Internet broswer) – usually this occurs with new technology that exists in an English-speaking country before it ever comes to Germany. Sometimes (as with the technologies), Denglish involves real English words, used in their correct context. Other times the words Germans use may sound English, but nobody really knows where they came from… or English words have been taken and used in an entirely different context. Mostly, this practice is harmless (although it can get confusing when a German starts speaking to an English native speaker using Denglish words!), but sometimes this practice of insisting on using English words at all costs can be very, very amusing. Here are some Denglish words and phrases that you may hear if you happen to find yourself in Germany…

Handy
We’ll start with the most common. In German, a Handy (pronounced Hendy) is a mobile phone. While a small, portable phone is admittedly pretty handy, I’ve no idea how the phrase came about! I have, however, been asked in English “Do you have a handy?”. Needless to say, if I didn’t actually speak German I would have had no idea what they wanted! And just to make things even more confusing, the Swiss don’t use the word Handy! (Their word for mobile phone is Natel).

Beamer
This was one of the first Denglish words I heard when I came to Germany, and I had no idea what they were talking about. From the context, it was clear that they didn’t mean a car which would be spelled Beemer anyway), but what did they mean? After being shown the object in question, it all became clear. A Beamer is a projector! I suppose it does beam images onto a screen, so it makes sense in a way…

Despite the scary sounding name, it won't ACTUALLY peel all your skin off...
Despite the scary sounding name, it won’t ACTUALLY peel all your skin off…
Peeling
Nope, not what you do with an orange. Shower scrub or body scrub. I really, really hope this doesn’t do what it says on the tin…

die City
To English speakers, a city is a large town… London, Paris, Rome, Sydney… all cities. (Well, in certain circles London is The City, but that’s irrelevant here). Not so in Germany… here “die City” is merely part of a large town. The bit that we would call the city centre, or down town. So don’t be confused if you see signs pointing you towards “City” when you think you’ve already entered the city you were aiming for. It’s just the Germans messing with English again! (For fairness’ sake, I should add that lots of places do still use the German words Zentrum (centre) or Stadtmitte (town/city centre) on their official signs.)

"Public viewing" at the 2014 world cup final... I promise there were no bodies in sight!
“Public viewing” at the 2014 world cup final… I promise there were no bodies in sight!

Public Viewing
While Germans used to get together to watch sporting events “auf Großleinwand” (on a big screen), in recent years the term Public Viewing has become more popular. This year, Karlsruhe even had Public Viewing at the football stadium for Germany matches! The only problem is that, in British English at least, public viewing traditionally refers to the practice of leaving a deceased person in an open coffin during the wake, so that the public could come and have alook/pay their last respects (this is also known as lying in state and was done when the Queen Mother died, for example).

Bodybag
This one technically goes back to a brand name, but I had to include it because it’s just too amusing! I’m sure well all know that an English body bag is something used for storing and transporting corpses. In Germany, meanwhile, since the mid-90s the term Bodybag has been used to refer to a type of bag that’s worn on the back with a strap going diagonally across the front. (A messenger bag is a type of “Bodybag”, but I’ve also seen some that look like a backpack but with only one strap). Somebody at whichever company started this trend obviously didn’t do their research properly…

There are, of course, other Denglish expressions, but these are the only ones I’m going to go into for now. If you have a favourite Denglish expression (or even something similar in another language) please feel free to let me know in the comments!

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Friday letters and links

Can you believe it’s Friday again? It seems like only yesterday that I was writing my last Friday letters post. I’m very pleased it’s the weekend though. This week has consisted of a tonne of train delays and more work than I would have ever expected to be able to handle. It was actually a struggle not to groan out loud every time I saw something new in my tray! Only two more weeks to go though, then I’m on HOLIDAY for a week!

Eye'm watching you...

Dear work. Please stop with the craziness. I need to breathe occasionally!

Dear birthday. You’ve crept up on my this year so I’ve planned absolutely nothing for you. Also, I’m working. never mind… I’m probably a little old to be making a big deal out of my birthday anyway.

Dear sleep. Sorry I’ve been neglecting you lately. Let’s catch up soon!

Dear weather. I’m invited to a graden party tomorrow, so please stop your nonsense and settle on one thing for a change (preferably sun).

Dear weekend. Please don’t go too fast. I really need a break!

Okay, a bit pathetic on the letters front this week. I can’t think of anything! Never mind, here are some links:

 

Linkity links

I only have a life on weekends, and I’ve already posted about our trip to Trier, which means today I have nothing to say. So instead, have some more links to amusing and fascinating things from around the web…

1. This TwistedSifter post of the 50 Most Perfectly Timed Photos Ever is fabulous! I wish I had such skills with a camera…

2. This BBC article on sleep is quite interesting. As is the link at the end to find your own sleep profile.

3. These incredible foodscapes by Carl Warner bring a whole new meaning to playing with your food!

4. I want a dog bookshelf! Too cute!

5. Somebody on Facebook posted this link to a mumsnet discussion about post-sex cleaning. Basically, the original poster said she and her husband have a little clean-up area on the bedside table with some tissues and a beaker of water so her man can clean himself after sex while she’s in the bathroom. I didn’t read the whole thing, but was literally laughing out loud at some of the answers on just the first couple of pages. My favourite: “That must be sexy. You do it then spring apart, you rush to the bathroom and he plunges his knob into a bucket.” Bahahahaha!!

Search terms

I have neither the time nor the energy for a proper blog (although I still have to tell you about my trip to Freiburg Christmas market on Saturday). I was up til midnight wrapping gifts on Monday evening so two of my packages could go in the mail, then last night Jan’s choir had practice at our place and one of them didn’t leave til after midnight. Bear in mind that I have to be up at 6 every morning, and you may have some idea of how I’m feeling. My eyes actually hurt and I could quite easily have fallen asleep at my desk this afternoon (the incedibly boring text I was proofreading didn’t help either!). And now, instead of going to sleep, I have to run into town to buy a box for the sending of yet more Christmas gifts before heading to Durlach to watch my boyfriend’s choir sing at the Christmas market. So instead of a report on what I’ve been doing, here are some random search terms that have amused me recently. Somehow, people have managed to end up on my blog by searching for the following:

Housework without pretence

Clean House
Clean House (Photo credit: libertygrace0)

Well you certainly won’t find any of that around here! It’s bad enough having to do housework, if you make me give up the pretence as well I shall go on strike!

The last Friday
What, ever? And I thought we had until the 21st before the world ends? – Although that is a Friday, so maybe you meant that all along?

Fluffy foot
I’d suggest you get that checked out. You may be turning into Big Foot… or possibly a hobbit, although they tend to be more hairy than fluffy.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas cards
You mean made of cardboard and covered in glitter? Maybe the apocalypse really is almost upon us… we’re all going to become characters in a scene from a Christmas card…

White porcelain heroes
I have no comment to make on this one, other than 😀 😀 😀

Mostly not all that funny, I know, but those are the best of a bad bunch.

Stuff that has annoyed me over the past few days

1. Not being able to sleep. The most annoying thing is that I’m actually really tired – too tired even to read, but as soon as I switch out the light every trace of sleepiness goes away and I’m left lying there, tired but wide awake. Grrr. The boyfriend is coming over tonight though, perhaps that will make things better.

2. The announcement on my tram yesterday. “Crackle. Hiss. Passangers. Mumble, mumble. Fizzle. Karlsruhe. Mumble, mumble. Crackle. Thank you.” You’d think by now someone would have invented a tram announcement thingy that could actually be understood!

3. Shop assistants. Why is it that they only ever offer assistance when you’re perfectly fine on your own. No, I do not help to walk the six steps to the other side of the shop and pick up a roll of sellotape thank you very much. But when you do need help they all seem to magically become incredible busy or get kidnapped by aliens.

4. Finally finding the perfect present for one of my relatives only to discover that none of the shops in Karlsruhe has it. Not one! It has now been ordered from Amazon, meaning I have to pay extra because of postage. Again, grrr.

5. The fact that I forgot to put a book in my bag yesterday and had nothing to read all the way to work. And all the way back. That’s an hour’s worth of tram journey with no reading material. Dooom!

6. The presenter on the radio station we listen to during our lunch break at work. She’s just so goddamn cheerful!
And just to balance things out a bit, here are some things that have amused me today:

– When you type in “subject to German law” on Google UK, the second link to come up is about strip searching. (In case you’re wondering why I typed that into Google it was to do with a translation I was proofreading.)

– They played Teenage Dirtbag by Wheetus on the radio today. The word gun was blocked out but they left dick and ass in. That’s Germans for ya – bad language is fine but please don’t sing about weapons! I know, not that funny but it amused me. Simple minds and all that…