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How much effect has American English had on German in the last sixty years?

I was fortunate to be stationed in Germany with the US army from 1959 to 1962. In that time I started my interest in foreign (to me) languages. I spoke to local people about every day. Until now American soldiers continue to be stationed there and I think have caused a change in the language. Do you have an inkling of how to say the amount of change there is? I shall try to write that in German, someone please improve my translation. Ich war gluecklich In Deutschland stationiert zu sein mit dem US Armee von 1959 bis 1962. Wahrend der Zeit Ich fing meine Interese an in fremdliche (zu mir) Sprache. Ich habe bald jeden Tag mit localen Leute. Bis jetzt, Amerikanischen Soldaten sind weiter dort stationiert und Ich glaube haben gemacht ein Anderung in die Sprache. Haben sie eine Ahnung wie Mann can sagen wie viel anderung es gibt. (1) wie viel Andering. (ein bessere Uebersetzung),

November 25, 2017



No, they don't have any influence on the amount of English words in German language - that influence come from the internet, the media, wherever, but not from the military. All they do is fly their helicopters so children need to wear sound-cancelling headphones at night, or use them to "hunt" horseback riders, usually stay in their walled-in ghettos with their own shopping and leisure facilities (they've gotten more, er, intent on security and shutting themselves off since 9/11), and teach English to those Germans they see on a regular basis - since our English teachers at school usually are bad at English, especially at pronunciation, you really notice a difference.

I'm sorry if this sounds rude, but there have been altogether too many incidents of irresponsible behaviour, outright lies and rudeness, usually from the military administration (but a lot of the frustration also came with the former mayor of the local town, who e.g. claimed for years that the helicopters would never fly over that town, when clearly they did it on a regular basis. "If the military says they don't, I'll believe them."). The Americans you see in town are normal, friendly people, and I do like to help them find the right kind of dairy at the supermarket. Also, this is apparently is a vast improvement from the days when my mother was afraid to go out in the evening if Americans were around, and my father was threatened by an American at gunpoint and was told by German authorities not to press charges "because the Americans are our friends and it won't be any use anyway", and apparently the Americans these days are asked to please try and follow German laws, like sticking to the speed limit and paying for train tickets... (I don't know how much of a problem the latter ever was, but - strangely, I thought - there's a sign at a station, put up by the military, that says just that.)


I grew up in the sixties and seventies (late baby boomer) where English had a certain influence on our language. In the eighties I visited an American club where GI came to do some line dance. English words filled many spaces formerly filled with German words. Especially in advertising, economy, music and politics you would be hard pressed to find a sentence without an English word. Since US inventions surpassed British ones (just like in the music business) we tend to use more American words than British. I prefer 'guess' and rarely use 'suppose' and there are many more examples I just can't remember.

Younger people may think it's the internet that promotes the English language, but it started with the GIs. There would not be so much English around if it were not for the possibility to chat once in a while with someone from abroad. That may be the reason why I can speak a better English than I can speak French, even if I can almost spit across the French border from where I live.


Mhh, I'm younger, born in the eighties and blame the internet and media in general, but it's also because the Americans weren't everywhere. There were also the Brits (yes, English, but you made a point about the culture and language, the Brits were in NRW the most populated area) and the French (plus the Russians, forming the DDR). In the region I grew up in there was French military until the late 90s. (I actually wouldn't exist without them - my grandfather was stationed here and took his wife and child with him, my dad stayed because he fell in love, fast forward and you got me.) And despite a lot of focus on French in that city including French-German schools decided upon in the élysée contract. There's a lot of English around.

That had to come from somewhere. I believe ads using English words comes from them trying to sound younger and more modern. The US are global players in the worlds media and economy, so that explains the focus on the US rather than the UK and why there is so much around here, not just the military bases.


(1) Was für eine Überraschung, Ihre Antwort zu lesen! In der ganzen Zeit, in der ich vor 60 Jahren in Deutschland war, waren alle Einheimischen so freundlich wie möglich. Ich hatte den Eindruck, dass die beiden Völker kein Problem hatten. (2) Ich glaube, dass fast alle meine Freunde zustimmen würden, dass Angela Merkal weitaus respektabler ist als Trump., Ken


I admire how much Germany isn't influenced by the USA despite everything. I also hope they don't have the tacky talentless celebs constantly in their media like here in Britain. Here in Britain when Thatcher was making the rest of Europe hate us, because the EU was preventing upper classes and corporations mistreating most people, such as EU saying genetically modified ingredients should be labelled and workers should have enough breaks, she was making millions unemployed and making our economy closely linked to USA, based on not much more than banking, which crashes every few years when many can't pay back the debts they're encouraged to have. While in Germany they're not encouraged to think they should constantly take out credit. They have manufacturing, such as cars and boats with good pay and conditions, and affordable higher education. If anything Germany has influenced the USA, as after Germany couldn't have a military, the V-2 team were made the head of Nasa. I hope the same goes for their language too.

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