The "Denglish" Language

Authored by:
Olivia L.

Olivia L.

German and English, Deutschland und Amerika. These ties are very strong and prevelant in the day to day german culture. There isn't anywhere you go that you don't see something I consider to be American such as coca-cola, marvel comics, and crocs. (Just when I thought I have escaped seeing tik tok for a year, it pops up again on a different continent!) However, I would say this is mostly prevelant with the Hollywood movies. Nearly every movie I have enjoyed watching in the US has made it's way here, sometimes with a German translation and other times not. In fact, many people admit they would much rather watch the English film than the German one. According to my friends, that's due to the fact that Hollywood has a much larger budget and can simply "put on better movies" than the German cinemas.

This cultural tie is especially prevalent in language including swears, slang, catch-phrases, and even memes (never would I have thought I would hear "Januar, Februar, Maerz, April, Mai, Juni, Jason Durillo" sung in a german accent). These phrases have made their way to Germany through movies, books, and tv shows, plus the main source: social media. Thus resulting in the mixture of language we call Denglish. At first, I thought that this Denglish was simply in my conversations around the dinner table or with friends because I was an American whom they wanted to include in the conversation, but the longer I've been here the more I've noticed it doesn't matter if im around or not. English phrases and slang can also be heard on the television whether watching a modern german film, a reality show, or a game show; English is not hard to find. Another contribution to the denglish language is the fact that students begin learning English in the third grade. So by the time they are in seventh grade, students have enough understanding to watch movies and pick up on common phrases that wouldn't be taught in the classroom setting.

The Denglish language isn't necessarily Enlgish words being used in a German sentence, but also English phrases being directly translated into German, regardless if the sentence structure is correct or not. For example, Germans say "Macht Sinn" which directly translates to "makes sense" which is grammatically incorrect, but people say it anyway. The denglish language is so prevelant that I could be having a conversation completely in German when suddenly someone would drop a "same", "weird", or even "seems chill" before continuing the conversation in German. This is known as smudging the language, and it happens with many other languages here too. For example, where I am people call their cash "Pott money" which comes from Ireland, or they say "rendevous" from the french language which refers to a romantic date. But for the most part, language smudging only occurs with small words carried over from another language that aren't used very often in every day conversation, whereas denglish has enough vocabulary to be considered its own dialect.

The "Denglish" language was definitely not something I expected when coming over to Germany, but it's definitely a big part of the teenage and young adult German culture. 

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