Show Less
Restricted access

Twentieth-Century Borrowings from German to English

Their Semantic Integration and Contextual Usage


Julia Schultz

While there are plenty of studies on the impact English has exerted on the German language, the reverse contact situation has been relatively neglected. This monograph sets out to shed light on the German influence on the English lexicon in the twentieth century. It provides the first systematic appraisal of the semantic integration and contextual usage of the words adopted from German in the past few decades. The results presented in this study are based on the evaluation of a comprehensive lexicographical corpus of 1958 twentieth century German borrowings retrieved from the Oxford English Dictionary Online. The present-day usage of the borrowings is illustrated with linguistic documentary evidence collected from a wide range of English language corpora.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Chapter One Introduction


While there are plenty of surveys on the impact English has exerted on the German language, the reverse situation has received fairly little attention. German words and meanings that have been taken over into English in the recent past have been neglected in previous studies. The present monograph sets out to provide significant insights into the influence of German on the English lexicon in the twentieth century. The various German borrowings1 which entered English during that time will be divided into different semantic fields to offer an overview of the variety of areas and spheres of life enriched by German in the last few decades.

Until the release of Pfeffer’s 1987 work Deutsches Sprachgut im Wortschatz der Amerikaner und Engländer, which provides a historical overview of over 3000 German words adopted into British and American English since 1500, most book length investigations of the influence of German on the English lexicon came to the conclusion that German was a comparatively minor donor language. The borrowings were believed to be relatively few, and the majority of them were classified as technical terms unknown to the “average” speaker of English. Stanforth (1994, 1) draws attention to the fact that

Daß die deutsche Sprache im zwanzigsten Jahrhundert – und besonders nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg – viele Anglizismen übernommen hat, ist allgemein bekannt. Weniger bekannt dagegen ist die Tatsache, daß es einen (freilich weniger intensiven) Gegenstrom von deutschen Wörtern gibt, die in die umgekehrte Richtung entlehnt werden.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.