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Informalization and Hybridization of Speech Practices

Polylingual Meaning-Making across Domains, Genres, and Media

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Edited By Amei Koll-Stobbe

Speech practices as discursive practices for meaning-making across domains, genres, and social groups is an under-researched, highly complex field of sociolinguistics. This field has gained momentum after innovative studies of adolescents and young adults with mixed ethnic and language backgrounds revealed that they «cross» language and dialectal or vernacular borders to construct their own hybrid discursive identities. The focus in this volume is on the diversity of emerging hybridizing speech practices through contact with English, predominantly in Europe. Contributions to this collected volume originate from the DFG funded conference on language contact in times of globalization (LCTG4) and from members of the editor’s funded research group «Discursive Multilingualism».

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Anglicisms in German: Tsunami or trickle?

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Abstract: The influence of English upon German is subject to an ongoing debate in the German popular media and on the internet. One recurring theme is the view that English is having a negative effect on German, particularly in relation to the volume of anglicisms in the language. This paper disputes this belief by exploring the lexical influence that English has on German. The study makes use of three corpora of spontaneous spoken modern German as well as drawing on previous research on conventional printed sources. It is argued that perceptions often alluded to in the popular media and on the internet regarding anglicisms, such as that they are “flooding” the language, “destroying” its grammatical system, replacing the native lexicon, and are incomprehensible, are unfounded. The study concludes that anglicisms are restricted in number and semantic fields, become integrated or nativized into German through hybridization and other processes, and are semantically innovative.

Keywords: anglicisms, lexical influence, integration, nativization

1 Perceptions of anglicisms in German

The issue having to do with the influence of English on German has important socio-political implications and is frequently discussed in the German media. This topic and its associated movement to free the German language from foreign influences have a long and undulating history. Its proponents, who have been active for centuries about the state of the German language, include language societies, public figures, and purists. The most recent surge of anti-foreignism sentiment emerged shortly after the reunification...

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