Fresh Denglish


I do hope you all are about to have a brilliant new year. I celebrated New Year’s Eve in Munich of all places, romantically located near the beautiful Olympic Stadium of the ill-fated 1972 Olympic Games. Walking around downtown Munich on New Year’s Eve in a big outdoor food market, I found me some Denglish. My first impression of a proud German city was that very little outdoor advertising was in any other language but German. The first bit is ‘ha ha’ funny because it still looks German, but the second one is just breathtaking. In both cases, the English is aimed at non-German speakers. Although the Germans I know can rattle off a list of English words that go through a German grinder and get served up like sausages to an unexpecting audience (‘handy’ for mobile phone comes to mind), they seem to do it more selectively than the Dutch. Of course, this is entirely open to discussion.

13 Responses to “Fresh Denglish”

  1. Larry says:

    Germans tend to be less familiar with English (generalizing wildly here, but there’s some truth to it), so Denglish comes out even more bizarre. I heard someone once insist very strongly that ‘handy phone’ was once, somewhere, coined in English to describe a portable telephone (most likely pre-cellular) and the term just never caught on, but I don’t buy it.

    Off to clean vacuumly!

  2. eliane says:

    With their last spelling reform they decided to spell ketchup “phonetically”: ketchap. I think that says it all.

  3. Larry says:

    The new spelling can be either Ketchup or Ketschup. Ketchup is itself a ‘phonetic’ mangling of something else entirely, as is ketjap.

    They also decided to allow ‘Majonäse’, though, which to me looks too much like it has something to do with noses.

  4. Natashka says:

    Well, ketjap is the original Chinese word (ku chiap), which is a kind of fish sauce.

  5. Marsvin says:

    Speaking of mobiles, isn’t “ringtone” a Dutch invention?

  6. Larry says:

    My point is that ‘ketjap’ (Ind. kecap, soy sauce) bears about as much resemblance to whatever Chinese word/sauce you might want to put forward as its origin as ‘ketchup’ does. ‘Ketchup’ is just an approximate rendering of something whose etymological origin is uncertain, so the question of a ‘correct’ spelling of ketchup is debatable at the very least.

  7. Larry says:

    ‘Ringtone’, Dutch? Really?

  8. Natashka says:

    Regarding ringtone: link please!

  9. Marsvin says:

    Well, if you Google for ‘ringtone’, or even ‘ring tone’, practically only Dutch sites come up. So there.

  10. Larry says:


    ‘Well, if you Google for ‘ringtone’, or even ‘ring tone’, practically only Dutch sites come up. So there.’

    Not true. The first page of hits for ‘ringtone’ contains just one Dutch site (see if you can guess which one it is), the first page for ‘ring tone’ contains none at all. Even if mainly Dutch sites came up, it wouldn’t prove anything other than that ringtones were a popular theme for Dutch sites.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that ‘ringtone’ was coined by someone working at Nokia though.

  11. Marsvin says:

    Oops. It seems that does have a preference for Dutch sites, although this doesn’t show up as much with other queries. My mistake.

  12. Koos says:

    “I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that ‘ringtone’ was coined by someone working at Nokia though.”
    So then ringtone is a Finnish word?

  13. IndoRuwet says:

    This word comes from the German
    “handy kein Schnur”
    Meaning, does not have a cable.

Powered by WordPress - Copyright © 2005-2021 Oh La La, The Netherlands. All rights reserved.