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June, 2005 - Nr. 6


The Editor
The Youth Forum
Rachel Seilern
Zurich Connection
From the Locker Room
Vienna Connection
EU! Meet the Europeans
Berlin-Vergewaltigte Stadt
An Italian Straw Hat
KW & Beyond
A Memorable Gala
Concordia opens Patio
Kumar liest Kumar
Festival of Chefs
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Healthy Heart
Rallies for Human Rights
Top Honors for Niebelungen
TSO & Soulful Strains
TSO & Impressionist Music
TSO & Star Wars
Canadian Opera Company
National Ballet of Canada
Academy of the Arts
15th Wine Auction
Eurovision Song Contest
The "Grandpa Gang"
Gärten für Deutschsprachige
Invitation to Dancers
Parenthood on a Low
New Arena Dazzles
Celebrations in Praise
Rare Books Returned
Common German Words
Potsdam Pool Designed
Water Got Cleaner
100 Millionth Volkswagen

German words common in many languages

  TWIG - Far from being confined to Germany, Switzerland and Austria, German words are pepping up languages around the world, according to the Wiesbaden-based German Language Society. The most popular of those Teutonic treasures have just been confirmed in a study — and the results are wunderbar for friends of the German language.

From Kazakhstan to Korea and Argentina to Australia, over 450 people provided the German Language Society with 7,500 examples of German words used outside of Germany.

The list, which was intended to prove that German is indeed a global language, sends an interesting message about Germany’s image abroad.

Globally, the most popular German words aren’t Gesundheit and Kindergarten — though those two terms remain the ones cited most often in English-speaking countries. Contest participants actually sent in Butterbrot most often, a German word for "bread and butter" that is in common use in Russian and Ukrainian.

Not surprisingly, German history played into the survey, with Blitzkrieg, Hinterland and Wermut among the most well-known German words in some countries. But German culinary terms were even more popular, with Bier, Kuchen, Zwieback, and Bratwurst cited often.

Words associated with the German auto industry also ranked high on the list, among them Fahrvergnügen (the joy of driving), Autobahn, and Volkswagen, which in Greece refers to any small car used to transport goods. Similarly, Wirtschaftswunder is a common word for an economic miracle — and not just in English-speaking countries.

Not all of the words bode well for Germany’s image abroad, however. The German Language Society was only slightly alarmed that kaput is understood nearly all around the globe, and that arubaito, a Korean form of Arbeit (work), refers to a poorly-paid part-time job or training position.

The language survey, according to a German Language Society article, gives Germans an opportunity to reflect on how foreigners see them. Sweden has adopted the German words besserwisser (know-it-all) and Streber (nerd, someone who’s overly ambitious) as their own.
Republished with permission from "The Week in Germany"


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