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Adopt a German word

<h1>Click an Anglicism. Adopt its German equivalent. Support the German language.</h1>
  1. Select an anglicism to see its endangered, unloved German equivalent.
  2. If you promise never to use the anglicism again, you can adopt this endangered German word.
  3. Help save your adopted word by using it as often as possible! Your pledge will form one of the 140k pledges that we're trying to collect - one for every stammwort in the Duden.


I have just adopted "der Blödsinn" :)

May 10, 2014



I have adopted "weiterleiten" (instead of forwarden").

That said, there are some words where I would happily prefer the anglicism, since it either has a slightly different/ broader meaning or the German version is just cumbersome (like "spam" = "unerwünschte Massenemail" - who would actually say that?!)


I've never stumbled on 'forwarden' before, but isn't it yucky.

EDIT: although 'gekidnapped' is even worse.

EDIT2: and yes, some of the suggestions are unacceptable. I'm sorry, 'mit Google im Internet suchen' instead of 'googlen' is completely unviable -- certainly not in spoken language, and it defines everything, ultimately.


I agree: I have nothing against "googlen" oder "skypen", because they are just so handy and refer to a certain brand :) "Ich muss mit meiner Mutter per Skype sprechen" vs. "Ich muss mit meiner Mutter skypen"

But "forwarden", "updaten", "downloaden" etc. sound horrible even to my non-native ears :) I use them sometimes, but mostly in an ironical way in a combination with other horrible sounding Denglisch-jargon :)

Some things I don't agree with:

Trainee = der Auszubildende (IMO you can be a trainee without being an Azubi)

Jobben = arbeiten (to me at least there is a difference. Jobben is what you do for example when you work in a restaurant to finance your law studies. It is working to earn money, but not for a carrier)


forwarden and uploaden are awful, but there already is a problem with finding another word for "updaten". A fitting German translation would be "auf den neuesten Stand bringen", which is a whole phrase instead of a single word. Since people opt for shortness, I guess it will get firmly adapted into the German language.


What's wrong with "aktualisieren"? :)


Why is an anglicism so much worse than a latinism? If we want to preserve German words, we should avoid these too, I think.


"Why is an anglicism so much worse than a latinism? If we want to preserve German words, we should avoid these too, I think."

The biggest problem comes with spelling/pronounciation. I guess that most words which get adopt to a language change their sound/spelling over time to match with the genereal rules of said language. Ak-tu-a-li-sie-ren fits perfectly with the pronounciation and spelling with german which is why most people don't have such an issue with it.

The other thing is that some people don't like change. Languages always will change their most used vocab and or rules over time and mostly it comes so slow many people don't notice them but those who do will react a bit ... angry/afraid. There are also many words from the french language and nobody complains :P people just get used to everything.

My biggest problem with denglish is that a lot of people use it / do it to sound smarter, to show that they are special and modern ... which I hate.


I do not have a problem with the language changing. I always view such actions like the one above critically. Because as you said, a language evolves, and that's the way it should be. In the end, the majority will decide if a word gets adapted or dropped again, and all we can do is change our personal vocabulary to only contain the words we want to prevail.

Latinisms are much older than anglicisms and had time to be integrated into our grammar. But being established doesn't make them "better" words than anglicisms. I guess some day there will be new rules to adapt the grammar and spelling of English words as well. I don't think borrowing words from English is any better or worse than from Latin, Greek or French. People may do it to sound smart or hip, but in the end, the words that will stay are the ones which are useful. Words that don't have an exact match yet. Words that are shorter. Words that invoke a picture that another word doesn't, words that fit. If we would restrain ourselves to the use of words with germanic roots, our language would have huge gaps.

So I didn't want to say that "aktualisieren" is a bad word. It's just strange to accept it and to condemn "updaten" at the same time, because in the end, they play by the same rules, and if you choose to avoid one for some reason, you should avoid the other, too.


Hmph. I am going to start using the word 'Actualize' in the hope that it pleases damn nobody! If you'll excuse me now, I'm off to actualize my accounts :P


A latinism is better clearly because there are plenty of borrowings from Latin, from all the eras that concern German (starting with Wein, Käse and the like): it's simply more natural to take from something that has contributed much already.

Borrowings from English aren't like that. Plus, the likes of 'uploaden' are pretty nasty, because they don't follow the orthography or the phonological constraints too well.

On the other hand, in 'aktualisieren' you put together a word from pieces that already exist and are common and familiar in the language. It may ultimately be a borrowing, but ultimately everything is a borrowing.


"It's simply more natural to take from something that has contributed much already". Maybe, but does that make it wrong to borrow from new sources as well?

German has borrowed a lot from French as well, and the words changed over time to fit the German spelling. Anglicisms will do that too one day, I'm sure. Endings like "-ieren" actually were created to integrate foreign words into our grammar. Now that we have this building block, we can easily tack it on new words, but the existence of this block tells us that at one time, the desired verb did not fit well, but it was deemed useful enough to adapt it anyway.


First of all ... sry that I need to answer to that old post ... but Duolingo seems to have some kind of end for chains ... I agree with your first two paragraphs however:

"So I didn't want to say that "aktualisieren" is a bad word. It's just strange to accept it and to condemn "updaten" at the same time, because in the end, they play by the same rules, and if you choose to avoid one for some reason, you should avoid the other, too."

I wouldn't say that you need to condemn both if you don't like one of them. At the end it is just a subjective decision. You can either despise it, because of the spelling or because of its sound. Yes saying that you don't like it, because it isn't a german word is wrong. But if you don't like anglicisms in general, due to their sounds ... that seems legit in my eyes. But like you said: people will decide at the end if they want to keep using one word over the other.


Puffmais - popcorn... Sußes Wort... :P


Okay, there is a decent chance that I will start to use Puffmais when I'm speaking English too, if only because that word is so adorable.


hahaha ... "Puff" in German is a brothel


Yes, but it's also the sound of a tiny explosion. Make of that what you will.


I understand wanting to preserve a language, but I don't really get this fear that arises from adopting foreign words. In English we almost applaud such an action, in fact using Latin or french words often becomes a way to sound more intelligent.

English is not afraid to admit when we simply don't have a word to describe something as beautifully as another language like: Deja vu, Doppelgänger, Jalapeno, or ad nauseam.

It's especially weird with these words that very recently have been created, or had their meanings changed. Words like "Newbie", "googled", or "spam".

Take "Newbie" for example, sure the word "Anfänger" gets the message across that someone is new to something, but does it carry with it the implications of a nerdy insult? I mean, if I wanted to call someone a beginner I'd call them a beginner. If I was playing a game with someone, and they sucked, I would call them a newbie (more as a joke).

There are sometimes more complex meanings that words have that a simple translation won't give.


You mean well, but take care. Using German words for things that have never had a popular German word is something that is associated with antisemitistic parts of the society. So please: If you come to Germany, say Touchscreen, not "Berührungsbildschirm".


You are right here. I think there are different categories of loanwords. There are words that already exist in German and the new word is cooler (from English), sounds more sophisticated (from Latin/Greek), more elegant (from French). This can sometimes be stupid, I think it is weird to use 'body' instead of 'Körper'... Then there are words that come to Germany (or any other country) together with the concept they represent, like 'computer' (you can say Rechner but it is not as exact) or 'touchscreen' (I've never heard Berührungsbildschirm!) or, long ago, 'Wein' or 'Fenster' from Latin. It would be weird to invent other words for those, no? Most people do not notice they are loans as spelling and pronounciation have been adapted. And this will happen for the new anglicisms as well... So using a loanword / its translation into German is often not only changing a word against another one, there is a lot of attitude behind this.


"It would be weird to invent other words for those, no?"

That's what people in Finland have been doing! There is an actual board that invents words for new things, so that we wouldn't need to use anglisms. Of course it isn't functioning as well as it used to (thanks to internet, it is pretty hard to keep up with all new things), but because of them we have words like:

  • .Computer = tietokone (literally: knowledge machine)
  • Telephone = puhelin ("talk thing", add matka or äly and you have a mobile or a smart phone)
  • Touchscreen = kosketusnäyttö (touch display)
  • Volume = äänenvoimakkuus ("sound strenght")
  • Plastic = muovi (totally artificially invented word with no meaning whatsoever)
  • Movie = elokuva ("living picture")
  • Bus = linja-auto ("line car", funny word because it is still half a loan word ;) )

And people actually use them.

Sometimes they fail to make them popular, so we also have words like "televisio" or "mikrofoni", but they are always "localized" and twisted to match the rules and rhythm of the language


They have that sort of board for Hebrew as well. I find it pompous and ridiculous, at least in Hebrew it is.


They do this in Iceland, too but it's an island so it is easier there (before internet at least). Finnish is full of Swedish loans, by the way! And also other loans like my favorite "bratwursti"


Yeah we have a lot older Swedish and Russian words, but often they have changed so much on the way that people aren't aware of the roots and if you say it out loud Swedish/Russian wouldn't even recognize the word.

Bratwursti is a nice one :)

One thing that I've noticed that we use also a lot of directly translated German phrases and compound words.

EDIT: Can't think of good example at the moment though. But I've just noticed that many idioms, directly translated to English, don't make any sense, but in Finnish they don't just make sense, it is the exact way how we would say it too :)


Good point. Interestingly, it looks like the site was actually created by British men. Maybe many Germans are too aware of this connotation that you describe to want to take the initiative on something like this.


But there might be a possibility that it a lot of anglicism will change over time when "denglish" get less popular again. Touchscreen may turn into = Tatschschirm or Tatschbild ... or anything with Tatsch (because there is a verb called tatschen and it according to the Duden it comes from middle german "in plumper Art und Weise irgendwohin fassen") Schirm of the word is just like Netz (from Netzwerk) a shortversion of Bildschirm. (I know that Schirm and Netz are already own words but context makes everything in a language). Touch and Tatsch sound the same (at least for me) and screen gets often turned into Bild or Schirm.

This is NOT my offering what people should say instead of Touchscreen. Just an assumption how the word might change in 20 years or more. ... of course with the assumption that german itself does not change so much.


We should have eine Feier for this :)


Or maybe a Fest?


Natürlich ist mein Wort Selbstverständlich

Selbstverständlich ist natürlich mein Wort


So, naturally is your word... self explanatory?


I knew it was ambiguous........

of course the good word is the most complicated one. :p


Natürlich. Das ist Selbstverständlich.


What word is not to be used? I couldn't think of an Anglicism that replaces Selbstverständlich


I thought "Natürlich" itself would be a substitute, and it's close enough to "Naturally".


Natürlich is a perfectly acceptable German word though, not a recent loanword from English. It derives perfectly fine from 'Natur' (which, obviously, means nature).


Is "evident" starting to show by??? (Desperately trying to justify my preference)

I'm foreseeing the Anglicism coming, I'll be prevented on that day.


you can say 'evident' in German as well, but it is very high in style. It also has a Latin root, and I guess it came to English through French.


(and Natur as well as nature come from Latin by the way...) I guess all our languages would be quite poor without loans! Try to speak English without French loans one day, I think it is not really possible.


Ok, ok.....Rechner then.

But I still keep Selbstverständlich in secret.


Yeah, I was aware that they come from Latin, but they're so strongly integrated into our vocabulary that you can't find a replacement. It's modern anglicisms, whose phonology and spelling don't fit German at all (why is Baby not written Bejbi? Or pronounced /'ba:bi:/? Handy should be Händi, Download Daunloud, the list goes on). All these latin words have long since been Germanised. And good luck finding a replacement for all of them that doesn't sound stupid.

I could become friends with Fernsprecher for Telefon though, but it already has another meaning... :(


Btw. Why are most example sentences on that site so mean or at least dark ... Maybe I was just lucky with my 15 different words I checked


That's an awesome site! Thanks for sharing. :)


I just adopted "der Schlussverkauf" instead of "sale" It's a great idea!


Hmm. That doesn't really work either: der Schlussverkauf is not just any sale, it means closing out sale (or an end of season sale) Or am I totally wrong?


"to be on sale" can also mean "im Sonderangebot sein".


That's the word I'm most familiar with.


Some of these are easy enough, but who in their right mind is going to say "mit Google im Internet suchen" instead of "googlen"? That would be like an English speaker saying "I searched that on Google" instead of "I googled it". It just sounds odd.


We should adopt more Anglo words in English too. The French invaders have put our language down for too long! (I'm mostly joking about the French oppressing our language.)


Great! I wish we do the same with French! I love English, but I don't like it when it replaces beautiful and varied words in anglicisms. After that, all languages begin to look the same...


Du hast soeben „der Berührungsbildschirm” adoptiert. (Touchscreen)

I'm crying.


Der Verkaufsleiter - the sales manager


Ah, and I was wondering why. :D

I was in Germany a couple of months ago and among other things I also went to one fast food there. My German pronunciation is not perfect, but still I ordered "Kaffee zum mitnehmen" in German and the girl behind the counter was quick to clarify if I meant a coffee to go. Well, yes. :)

Thank you for the site! I'm gonna adopt my word as well. :)


haha yes, I also always order "Kaffee zum mitnehmen" and they give me a "kaffee to go" :)


I adopted die anfänger - newbie


I've adopted "die Feier" or "the party". Awesome idea!


Never used 'realise' anyways in the sense of 'begreifen, vergegenwärtigen', so that was an easy choice to adopt.


Greifen, cognate with English 'Grip'...

It may sound a bit odd, it's not exactly commonly used, but you could quite easily 'grip' something instead of 'realise' it .. You might sound like you are a character in some dodgy sci-fi or fantasy novel, but it would be understandable. It exists in living speech as 'my grip on reality is being challenged by this post I just read on the internet'.The odd thing is that in English, grip in the sense of understanding something has mutated to 'grasp' That's my grasp of the situation, anyway...


Let's adopt "Klar" instead of "OK"... we'll see if my Arbeitskollegen don't burn me down for being "intellectual".


actually, I read once that OK came to English from German. Many people working in the print media in the US were Germans and when they had proof-read sth. they marked it with O.K. (ohne Korrektur - without correction) when it was without mistakes. But the pronounciation is English of course! (And about that anecdote - I think it is just one of several theories where the word okay comes from!)


Well, to my knowledge, OK comes from World War II. After a confrontation, american officers reported an "OK" status when none of their men where killed in action. O.K. = Zero Kills.


On TV I learned that it comes from a misspelling of the US president (forgot which one though, maybe I find that clip again ...) when he signed stuff with O.K = oll correct. People didn't really care about spelling that much back then and because it was the president it must have been "oll correct"


Ha! It's hilarious!

I adopted der Warteschlange - queue. I'm sure no one will be confused when I use it :D


it's die Warteschlange, because the last compound is die Schlange = the snake

Warteschlange literally means "waiting-snake"


Right, thanks. I'm not a good foster father :<


Ok, I just adopted Firmennetz instead of intranet and I pledged never to use intranet when I speak German. And my question to German speakers: if I chanced to talk to someone German in the work environment, which as possible maybe because I do work for a global company, and I say to them "Firmennetz", would they understand me, and what would they think about me?


yes, that is very likely. Compoundnouns mostly describe what they mean by themself already. Firmen- is just the compound version of Firma Firma = firm, company Netz = Net (sometimes shortversion of Netzwerk = network) So it is a network inside the company. Of course Intranet is just any intern network (internes Netzwerk)... So you probably would need context (like most of the time). But you said you work for a global company so I am pretty sure they would get what you mean ... i hope so xD


The admin will love you!


I've adopted der Aufhänger (gimmick).

Although I will admit to huffing a little at seeing anglicized terms being called "nasty". Most of them seem to be shorter and easier to use than the original German terms. 'Sides, languages borrow words from each other all the time. Not sure where the panic is coming from.


I have adopted 'des Rastel' the word for mystery. does this mean that a mystery is ein or eine Rastel?


Funny! "des Rastel" is Austrian/Bavarian for table mat/coaster (the thing that goes under hot pots/pans on your sensible wooden table). "des" is dialect for "das".

My wife pronounces even "Rastal", but she was born in Upper Austria. :)


actually it is "das Rätsel". So it is "ein Rätsel" Also ... Rätsel is more a puzzle than a mystery. Mystery = das Mysterium, adjectiv: mystisch. I wouldn't say it is a straight anglicism per se


Ich bevorzüge der/die Weltenbummler/-in statt 'Globetrotter'....


I did "der puffmais"


I have adopted "der Schlafanzug" meaning pyjama/pajama in English. I'm new to German but I adopted this word because I use Schlafanzug everyday! I hope to finish my German Tree (I started today). 5.12.13


I have a question: I want to adopt a word to replace "timing", but I just can't find a good one.

How would you say something like: "Perfect timing!" in German?

The colloquial way is "perfektes Timing!" which sounds a bit funny, even to me. And I have the feeling that older people don't get the meaning.


Zeitgefühl? Mein Synonymwörterbuch schlägt "Zeitabstimmung" vor.


I was on board with this when it seemed like a fun way to keep in touch with the past and celebrate German and all, but when you get to the part on the web page that calls them "nasty" Anglicisms or "nasty denglish", it starts to seem a bit too derogatory, mean-spirited and, well, nasty. So: pass.

One curious thing though is I think the creators of the site aren't even German, I think they are British. At least one of them is, anyway.


Oh that is lovely! I am now the proud adoptive mama of der Puffmais.


'Freundchen' does not seem endangered, but it's a great word. It is a slightly sarcastic German word translating to: 'my friend', 'chum', 'buster'.

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