To what extent are Anglicisms essential in German print advertisements?

Analysis by the means of advertisements found in the German InStyle

Bachelor Thesis, 2018

54 Pages, Grade: 1,0


Content Table


1. Anglicisms
1.1 Definitions and explanations
1.1.1 Foreign words
1.1.2. Anglicisms
1.1.3 Borrowings
1.1.4 Tokenistic Borrowing
1.2 History of the English language in the German-speaking world
1.3 Different types of Anglicisms
1.3.1. Necessary Anglicisms
1.3.2 Luxury Anglicisms
1.4 Importance of English in the German-speaking-world

2. Advertisement
2.1 Definition & History
2.2 Objectives of advertisements
2.3 Components of advertisements and their functions
2.3.1 Slogan
2.3.2 Running Text
2.3.3 Images
2.4 Advertising language

3. Anglicisms in advertisements and their importance
3.1 Analysis of examples print advertisements in the InStyle
3.2 Functions of Anglicisms in advertisements
3.2.1 Necessity, economic of language, shortage of words
3.2.2. local colour
3.2.3 "Coolness"
2.3.4 Peculiarity
2.3.5. Concealment and euphemism
3.2.6. Variation in expression

4. Discussion: Pros and Cons of the use of Anglicisms in German print advertisements
4.1 Supporters of Anglicism in advertisements
4.2 Opponents of Anglicism in advertisements
4.3 Summary

5. Conclusion

6. Bibliography


Keywords: Anglicism, foreign languages, language development, advertisement, German advertisement, print advertisements


“Brilliance for Everyone mit der Weihnachtskollektion”

“Mit der “easy-to-wear” Kollektion ...”

“Ein edles Blazer wie ein Wollblazer verbindet die beiden Styles zu einem harmonischen

Look mit Klasse”.

These are some examples of Anglicisms that I came across during my research regarding the necessity of Anglicism in German print advertisements in the fashion and lifestyle magazine InStyle. Often, we see an advertisement and do not even notice how many Anglicisms we come across because we are already used to them, although they are a foreign body in the German language. Anglicisms have sneaked into the German language and are a part of our everyday language; Anglicisms have an omnipresence in our daily life.

The same applies to advertisements which are found everywhere nowadays. When you open a newspaper or a magazine, when you watch television, when you listen to the radio, when you chat on facebook with your friends, when you go to the cinema - everywhere you look, advertisements can be found. Every single day, each person absorbs about 3000 advertising messages on average (Kloss 2007, 14). In this flood of advertisement, it becomes harder to stand out and catch the customers' attention every day. Therefore, advertisers take advantage of Anglicism to stand out from the mass of advertisements.

This thesis analyses both the omnipresence and importance of both Anglicisms in advertisement by assessing their extent for essentiality for German print advertisements. The fashion and lifestyle magazine InStyle was chosen as a representative in order to analyse the number of Anglicisms and their effects on the reader. The first section will deal with the influence of the English language on the German by defining the most critical terminology, analysing the history of the English language in Germany and how it became so influential. Furthermore, different types of Anglicisms and borrowings will be introduced. The second section deals with the advertisement in general, how it has developed and what a typical print advertisement contains. Particular attention is paid to the language if advertising and the objectives of ads. In the last section advertisements from InStyle magazine have been analysed and evaluated. The functions of Anglicism will be explained helped by these examples. Last but not least, this thesis consists of a discussion whether the English influence is destroying it or enriching the German language.

1. Anglicisms

The German language is made up of a lexicon of around 300,000 to 500,000 words, which are not only based on words of German origin. Many lexemes are influenced by different languages- especially the English language- due to an exchange of culture, integration of economy and even through wars (Zürn 2001, 71). In the contemporary world, the English influence is steadily growing in importance and seems to be the only language that is influencing the modern German language and its development. The history of linguistic development will be discussed in this chapter in order to assess to what extent Anglicisms are essential in the modern language of advertisement in German-speaking countries.

1.1 Definitions and explanations

First of all, some relevant terms regarding the use of Anglicism shall be defined and explained in further detail. Generally speaking, Anglicisms are foreign words from an English context used in a host language. However, some distinctions have to be made regarding the usage of English terms in a host country: Anglicisms and borrowings.

1.1.1 Foreign words

Language is built upon different elements and indigenous words as well as borrowings from other countries (Brundin 2004, 12). Bartztsch et al. state that every language is continuously changing, developing and merging with other languages in order to increase its lexicon (2004: 7). Any words used in the German lexis that are not German are considered to be foreign words. These foreign words are used entirely unchanged and untouched of their original form in the host language. Examples for foreign words can be taken from any language: "eau de toilette" from a French background, "Fresco" from the Italian art context and of course English, foreign words such as "meeting" or event" all show how common foreign words are within the German language. On the other hand, German expressions are also used in other languages, as for example the term "kindergarten" is widespread.

1.1.2 Anglicism

Anglicism refers to foreign words that originate from only an English background leaving Anglicisms as a subcategory of foreign words. According to Zindler, an Anglicism is a word from the English vocabulary used in the German language (1959: 2). Yang adds that English words include any words from any Anglo-American country such as the United States, Canada, Australia or South Africa (1990: 23). In this paper, the mentioning of the word English will, therefore, refer to any Anglo-American influence (= Britain, Ireland, The United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand) as a further specification would be difficult due to strong similarities between all these countries. Furthermore, Anglicism does not only refer to a word itself, but also the written form, grammatical changes and word formations of the English language. The following terms, all taken from the Instyle magazine are all great examples of Anglicisms and how they are used in the German language: "florale Prints", "durch die City fahren" and "Street Style."

1.1.3 Borrowings

A differentiation also has to be drawn between foreign words and borrowings. Foreign words are taken over without translation, whereas borrowings are adapted to the host language. Borrowings are the adaptation of English expressions, varying only in the extent of which they are adopted, transferred or translated. They can be distinguished into several subcategories: hybrid forms, borrowing meaning, borrowing creation, borrowing transmission and borrowing collocation. The most important ones will be explained briefly: hybrid forms mix the foreign and the host language and build a new word. An example of a mixture of both styles is "live-Sendung" (English: "live- broadcast" and German: "Direktsendung") (Schütte 1996, 35). Borrowing creations will be used if an English word or phrase exists without having a proper German translation, such as the expressions "do-it-yourself for "Heimwerken". (Kupper 2006, 13). These two forms of borrowings are prevalent in the printed advertisement, which will become clear in a later section of this paper (analysis of ads).

1.1.4 Tokenistic Borrowing

Another subcategory of borrowings that is worth mentioning is the tokenistic borrowings: these borrowings are words that seem to have an English origin, but actually, do not exist in the English language. Phimer (1999: 148) calls them neologism with an English background for they are often referred to a pseudo-Anglicism. The most well-known example is the word "Handy" which sounds English from a German perspective. However, this word is used very differently in each language. In an English context, it stands for something being practical or useful ("something is handy"). The German word "Handy" is translated as "mobile phone" or "cell(ular) phone" in British or American English respectively (Sagmeister-Brandner 2008, 78).

1.2 History of the English language in the German-speaking world

After having defined the most critical terms, the next chapter looks into the history of Anglicism to understand their development and increase of importance. In general, English is used as a mother tongue, auxiliary language, teaching language and literary language (Kupper 2006, 26). It is used as the official language in 37 countries around the world, and the total number of people that speak English in any kind amounts to about 1 billion people, a fifth of the worldwide population (Skudlik 1990, 7). The next section will explore the historical development of English influence on the German language.

Other languages have always influenced the German language: first Latin, then after that the Slavic languages influenced Middle High German, the French language led to changes from the 12th century onwards and the Italian language in the Early High German Time (Kupper 2006, 35). The English language was not very influential until the 17th century when England became a significant economic player due to its trading and naval power and the growth of British colonies. At the beginning of the 18th century, the industrialisation had started in England, decades before it began in Germany, and therefore mainly English technical terms were adopted in Germany. English became even more potent than French replacing several French expressions: "mannequin - model", "ensemble - team" and also French hotel names like the Continental were changed into an English pronunciation (Kupper 2007, 47).

Although the beginning of the 20th century marked a slight drawback of the Anglo- American influence on the German language due to the purist attitudes after World War One and the Nazi era, it gained importance again after World War Two due to to the strong positions against nationalism and isolation. Of course, the American occupation of West Germany left evident marks as well, and the American English moved into Europe and Germany; especially areas such as the tourism industry, the media and international organisations were strongly influenced by Americanization in the post-war time. Especially fashion magazines, like for example the Vogue, came from America (Crystal 2003, 90- 95). English expressions additionally found their way into the everyday life of Germans (Kupper 2007, 49). In respect of the fashion vocabulary, “events” and “style” are words that are commonly used in this context. The English influence went as far as the introduction of pseudo-Anglicism, such as “handy” or “pullunder” (Polenz 1999, 402).

From the 1960s onwards, the use of Anglicism grew steadily due to the economic, technological, military and cultural dominance of the United States. The areas where English words are used include technology, sport, media and science. The modern population was more prone to use foreign words than previously before because nations and their cultures became closer to each other, more dependent on each other and more connected to each other. The German linguistic researcher Eisenberg says in one of his interview with "Die Welt" that the German language was much stronger influenced by English words than other European countries (Heine 2014). In our today's world, the use of Anglo-American words and expressions as well as Anglicism are part of the everyday language. As English borrowings are even included in DUDEN, they cannot be erased from everyday life. Although the exact number of accepted Anglicisms in the German language is not known, it is certain that this number is high. Furthermore, the English language plays an important part in the German world: Heine (2014) states in his article "Denglisch-Flut: So viel Englisch steckt wirklich im Deutschen" that "for current data only estimates are available"1.

1.3 Different types of Anglicism

Depending on the degree of integration into the host language, Anglicism can be differentiated into different kinds. The degree of integration depends on "plural and case marking, allocation of grammatical gender, participation of borrowed items in word- formation and, sometimes, adaptation to German spelling system" (Androutsopoulos 2011). Moreover, Winford (2003: 37) differentiates Anglicism in "necessary loans" and "luxury loans". This separation is hugely relevant for this paper as it shows which words are essential and which ones are used somewhat out of habit, referring back to the central research question of the necessity of Anglicism.

1.3.1 Necessary Anglicisms

Generally speaking, necessary Anglicisms are English borrowings that do not have an equivalent in the German language and are therefore used to introduce a new object or concept. Even if a similar German word exists, it usually is not a direct translation but only a description of the original expressions (Zürn 2001, 208). The English terms are more straightforward and help the German language to expand and are therefore used as enrichment. This is often the case for technical terminology because a translation of the word would complicate understanding (Yang 1990, 73). Technical terms refer primarily to the areas of computer science and new product developments with an English background.

Taking the InStyle magazine and its advertisements as an example, several prime loans were found:

(1) Online

(2) Loungewear

(3) Touch-Screen-Infotainment-system, Wi-Fi- hotspot, activity key

Example (3) illustrates explicitly the need for the English word as all three terms are technical terms referring to a digital product, most likely developed in North America and therefore named with an English term. For the examples (1) and (2) a matching translation is lacking in the German language which explains why Anglicisms are adopted.

1.3.2 Luxury Anglicisms

Luxury Anglicisms are English words that are used in the German culture only because of comfort and not out of need (Onysko and Winter-Froemel 2001, 1550-1567). According to Matras (2009: 150), one key character of luxury Anglicisms is that an adequate translation in the host language is present. This translation could be used without any difficulties (with possibly slight nuances between the English and the German language). Anglicisms are used when an object or concept is already lexicalised in the host language, but one wants to express it more fashionably and attractively. The following examples, taken from the InStyle magazine, shall illustrate the difference from luxury Anglicisms to necessary Anglicisms:

(4) Sales (the German word “Schlussverkauf’ could have been used)

(5) Fashion (= “Mode”)

(6) Mr Right (the German expression "Traumprinz" could have been used)

(7) Location (German equivalent would be “Veranstaltungsort”)

(8) Prints (appropriate would be the German term “Druck” or “Muster”)

For all these Anglicisms, an adequate German expression or translation exists. The advertisers, however, chose to use the English term. The advisors' intentions and reasons for that choice will be explained in another section (Functions of Anglicism).

One has to bear in mind that even comfort or convenience can be seen as a reason, even if it is not an exact reason (Schütte 1996, 29). In our globalised world, this argument has established itself, and one can argue that stylistic reasons are causing the need for these “luxury Anglicisms”. This might leave the questions open if the luxury Anglicisms are in fact luxury or necessary Anglicisms after all or if there should be a made a differentiation between essential and luxury Anglicisms, but also desirable Anglicisms. These would be Anglicisms used when there is a slight connotation or impression created by the use of English.

1.4 Importance of English in the German-speaking-world

The next chapter will discuss the reasons for the growing importance of the English language and how it became the lingua franca as well as the modern world language.

The most obvious reason for the growing influence of the English language is globalisation and the process of approximation of the different economies and cultures since the 17th century. These developments led to the need for an international language to communicate appropriately in our globalising world. As the English-speaking countries do cover not only a large percentage of the world's area but also have a firm political, economic and cultural standing, it is self-evident that the English language spreads. Especially in the field of technological development and research, the United States plays a vital role, and therefore an English terminology has been adapted all over the world. It becomes clear that political as well as economic factors govern the geographical extent of such a language, commonly referred to as lingua franca, which is defined by Hans Joachim Meyer (2004: 65­84) as a language "(...) used in a larger territory in which various national languages are spoken"; the lingua franca brings nations together. The English language is not only the modern lingua franca but also the first world language. A language becomes a world language when it loosens itself from its mother language and becomes independent and functions in many ways (McCrum, 2010). This is the case for the English language. Examples of the usage of English in foreign languages are the conjugation of Anglicisms or the addition of articles to Anglicism, or merely the above mentioned tokenistic borrowings that are supposed to look and sound English, are however alienated in their original meaning (Ondreka 2013). These examples show how the English language is becoming an active part of other languages. In countries like for example the Netherlands, English plays a critical role in everyday life: a lot of universities are running English curriculums, and movies and series are not adopted but only played in English (Huetter 2017).

This contact allows the merging of language and the development of words. Kupper (2004) differentiates the main reasons for the adaption of Anglicisms into external or non­verbal features and verbal features: non-verbal bases are for example the colonialism of England, the standing of the United States as a leading world power, the shift of cultural, technological and economic development from Europe to the United States, the significant number of English speaking population, the growing number of international organizations with a need for a homogenous language and the out of this resulting peer pressure. Here the link can be made to the differentiation between necessary and luxury loans. The external or non-verbal factors accompany the explanations for necessary loans. In contrast to that, verbal factors might explain why luxury loans are used although there might be an adequate translation of a respective Anglicism. Verbal factors refer to the advantages of the English languages in form of briefness, convenience and structure: the practical and morphologic structure of the English lexicon, the monosyllabism of many words, the rather short sentence structure, the quicker adoptable grammar and the need of fewer words in general to express oneself (Kupper 2004, 63).

2. Advertisement

2.1 Definition & History

Generally speaking, the aim of advertisement is persuasion. It is important to mention that it is not successful persuasion, but just the attempt of to persuade is decisive. Ads are trying to change the customer's opinion of product or service to convince him or her to buy it through a planned and public message. Seyffert defines advertisement as "a form of emotional influence that tries to achieve voluntarily contact, self-fulfilment and reproduction through a conscious process"2 (Seyffert 1966, 7).

Advertisements evolved with increasing production of merchandise and services offered, meaning production or supply over the actual demand or need. Retailers and producers recognised that they had to get in contact with their customers more intensively to sell more of their goods. Although the first advertisements were only informative in the form of flyers, posters and catalogues, the function quickly grew into a persuasive one. Through a steadily developing economy and the evolution of modern media, advertisement grew in importance and also in facets: billboards, shop-windows, newspaper, radio, television and today the internet and social media. These forms of media are used to present advertisements in the form of ads, radio commercials, television commercials letters etc. The focus in this thesis is put on the traditional print advertisement.

Advertisement, as we know it today, was born in the late 17th century when the letterpress was invented, and the first newspapers were printed while retailers were able to advertise their product against payments (Bolten 2013). Mass advertisement started in the 20th century and had grown immensely in the last 70 years. From simple posters on walls or announcements in newspapers, the advertisement includes nowadays the use of television, radio, movies, the internet and primarily social media. But not only the medium of advertisement has changed with time, but also the purpose has changed: being informative in the beginning, advertisements transformed into more persuasive causes (Ammon 2010, 101­122). Nowadays, they promote products, to build a corporate identity of the product and with it of the whole corporation. Critics like Baumgart feel that advertisements have lost their original and primary purpose and are only focusing on the seduction of customers (Baumgart 1992, 28).

2.2 Objectives of advertisements

Referring back to the informative and persuasive role of advertisement, the objectives of advertisements will now be explained through the АША concept which was introduced by Elmo Lewis (1898). АША stands for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. The primary objective is to communicate a message to potential customers in the most effective way to achieve a kind of action. Advertising acts in an informative but especially persuasive and manipulating way. Schweiger and Schrattenecker (2009: 55) express some general objectives: conservation of sales, stabilisation of market capitalisation (fight against competition), expansion (increasing the market capitalisation), acquisition of new markets and the introduction effect (introducing a new product while paying explicit importance on the image). There are primary objectives, such as making the product or service popular and well known, and more secondary ones, like spreading knowledge about the product, setting a specific image or motivation.

But how are these objectives achieved? The АША-model assumes a first contact with the advertisement. To succeed in the first step, the advertisement has to combine content, composition, message and motives in a manner that is appealing to the potential customer. It has to catch the attention by being easily understandable, appealing, persuasive and influencing. For that, the language plays a crucial role. Essential features of the advertising language will be discussed in a later section. If the attention is caught, the advertisement will be deemed to excite a particular interest in the product offered: the customer wants to learn more about the advertised product. If attention and interest work together, the customer will develop a desire for the advertised product, which will result in the last step- "action"- in the form of buying the product (Kupper 2006, 182). It becomes clear how important language is for advertisement and how much influence words have to fulfil the objectives of ads.

2.3 Components of advertisements and their functions

To successfully practice advertising, the design and presentation are significant: it has to match the target group and should consider how the different elements mesh with each other. Advertisers should pay particular attention towards the various components of the advertisement, its structure, medium and content. The most important parts are the slogan, the running text and images. Of course, the components depend very much on the medium of advertisement whether it is a television spot, a radio spot or a classical printed advertisement. As the primary focus of this paper lies on traditional advertisements in written form, the primary focus of this chapter is put on the components of these advertisements.

2.3.1 Slogan

The slogan is the eye-catcher of the advertisement and is used to catch the customer's attention. Its primary goal is to capture the consumer's attention with a short and succinct phrase. It usually has unique typography to allow the customer to recognise the brand or the product. It is the component with the highest influential power as its primary goal is to lead to recognition as it is repeated in every advertisement. Baumgart (1992: 42-44) compares the slogan to a business card of the brand or a product. The most important feature is its ability to attract the attention of the customer by putting the focus on the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) to animate the customer to purchase the product (or service) offered. Janich (1999: 45) points out that this is very important as the USP differentiates the product from others. Moreover, slogans should match rhythmic and syntactic phrases and be reminiscent of known phrases that will stick in the customer's head. To do so, advertisers use stylistic devices such as alliterations, metaphors, comparisons, climax and symbols. Examples of that are the brand name (9) "Coca-Cola" or (10) "Müller-Milch" (both alliterations), (11) "Red Bull verleiht Flügel" (metaphor). The alliterations in examples (9) and (10) helps to remember the brand


1 “für neuere Zeiten gibt es nur Schätzungen“

2 ״Werbung ist eine Form der seelischen Beeinflussung, die durch bewussten Verfahrenseinsatz zum freiwilligen Aufnehmen, Selbsterfüllen und Weiterpflanzen des von ihr dargebotenen Zwecks veranlassen will."

Excerpt out of 54 pages


To what extent are Anglicisms essential in German print advertisements?
Analysis by the means of advertisements found in the German InStyle
Vienna University of Economics and Business  (Department for Foreign Languages)
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
Anglicism, Anglicisms, German advertisement, print advertisements, effects of anglicisms, foreign languages, language development, advertisement, history of Anglicisms
Quote paper
Helen von Diergardt (Author), 2018, To what extent are Anglicisms essential in German print advertisements?, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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