The Americanization of Germany
American English words are penetrating the German language: . Some people even think that this invasion from America is a serious danger. Education tried to prevent any changes in the German language for decades with little success. But why, after all, does Germany and the German language become Americanized? A look at the history and relationship between the two countries makes clear the answer.
After World War II, relations between the German Federal Republic and the United States of America became stronger than ever. Connections between Germany and the USA are still very intense today viewing politics, military, economy, and culture. When Germany and the US fought side by side against Communism, contacts tightened, and acquiring of the English language continued (Carstensen 15). One has to mention the importance of the Marshall Plan on German economy that had supplied Europe’s reconstruction with $ 12 billion between 1948 and 1950 and had evoke the basis of the NATO (Steilberg and Flemming 152). Germany was very thankful for America’s widespread help. This friendliness created an “America Mania“ within the German youths. English vocabularies, like “okay“ or “cool“ are included in the German language today and are not unusual any more. America’s supremacy in the world has consequences on the German country and the German language. English became the language of command for German soldiers serving for the Western system of defense (Carstensen 16).
Today, almost all vocabulary-innovations are created by the youth. Communication between different languages brings these innovations about (Sanford 3). Young people take the advanced opportunities to travel around the world like no other generation before did. Studying at an American high school for some time, spending a year after graduation as an au pair, or taking part in a University exchange program is very common to do.
Another area of widespread Americanization is advertising. People working in this business tend to create words with an “English touch“. Some popular examples are “multimedia“, “handy“, everything concerning the Internet, or the Deutsche Bahn, like “InterCity“, “Service-Point“, “Park and Ride“, or “BahnCard“. German magazines are called “GIRL!“, “Quick“, “Hobby“, or “Fit for Fun“. Especially airlines prefer German-English-vocabulary mixtures in campaigns. Firms are producing job offering advertisement packed with English words, as “marketing“, “director“, “promotion“, or “business“ for example. Furthermore, there is the cosmetic industry that has used English words ever since. Asking for “lotion“, “spray“, “eye liner“, or “moisture cream“ in Germany seems the most natural thing in the world. Not to forget that daily advertising on TV showers a flood of English expressions in our minds. “Mega-Perls“, “just be“, “fair play“, “comedy show“, or “online service“ are the most striking examples, always underlined by an English song.
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- Sabine Krieg (Author), 1998, Americanization of Germany, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/19671