Monday, 3 August 2009

Speak German! Jawohl!?

Octogenarian linguist Wolf Schneiders guide to the contemporary German language glutted by English loan words that aren't words or phrases but artificial constructs of the advertising industry and Deutsche Bahn, largely. Not as one-sided as I thought it'd be: and does respect many constructions adopted over the years from French and English. A kind of manifesto for thinking out natural German terms for Brainstorming, anti-ageing cream, 'Service Point' (customer service or information desk at the train station) and other such imports. Argument partly is that contemporary Germany denigrates its own linguistic culture, through a confused sense of identity and lack of pride in cultural achievements, stemming in part from obvious disasters of twentieth century history (interesting that he uses a loan word, Desaster, to describe the Nazi period).

A bit right wing (solid CDU/CSU feel to the work) for me at times - too much perhaps on Leitkultur and the dangers of multiculturalism. A treatment of bilingual Turkish Germans and their linguistic contributions would have been interesting.

On the whole, witty and some points well made and with almost English humour (sorry!:)). Ja, er hat Recht: man sollte mehr German speaken, soforth!
"Speak German - warum Deutsch manchmal besser ist" by Wolf Schneider, Rowohlt Taschenbuch.

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