||[Apr. 20th, 2004|04:51 pm]
The Duden online is promoting its tome on Fremdwörter (foreign words) in the German language and has links to a series of articles (in German) discussing the influx of foreign terminology over the last few hundred years. One of them also mentions a bit about exports, and there I find myself reading:|
Es gibt jedoch auch den umgekehrten Prozess, dass deutsche Wörter in fremde Sprachen übernommen und dort allmählich angeglichen werden, wie z. B. im Englischen bratwurst, ersatz, fräulein, gemütlichkeit, gneis, kaffeeklatsch, kindergarten, kitsch, leberwurst, leitmotiv, ostpolitik, sauerkraut, schwärmerei, schweinehund, weltanschauung, weltschmerz, wunderkind, zeitgeist, zink.
(There is also the reverse process, where German words are borrowed and gradually assimilated by a foreign language, as in the English bratwurst, ersatz, fräulein, gemütlichkeit, gneis, kaffeeklatsch, kindergarten, kitsch, leberwurst, leitmotiv, ostpolitik, sauerkraut, schwärmerei, schweinehund, weltanschauung, weltschmerz, wunderkind, zeitgeist, zink.)
(In case there's any doubt where the author leaves none: the claim is not that those are German words that have given rise to English terms; the claim is that those are English words, umlauted up to the nines and everything. The lack of capitalization for the words listed, all nouns, is further proof that in that context those words are no longer German.)
Now, c'mon, says I, dropping words like weltschmerz and weltanschauung (the author inexplicably leaves out my beloved schadenfreude) is a classical leitmotiv of mine, especially when having a kaffeeklatsch with the fräuleins, but... gemütlichkeit? schwärmerei? I've encountered the words aplenty, but never in an English text. (And what in the world is a gneis?) Well, I haven't been reading enough. The author is absolutely correct (well, almost), and the OED backs him up. ( Here's what the OED has to say about the list (with the more rare and pedestrian terms included for completeness):Collapse )