A New York Times story by Richard Bernstein describes the confusing mixture of English and German in today’s Germany:
Not long ago, Lufthansa, the airline, made a bit of news when it changed its slogan from “There’s No Better Way to Fly,” in English, to the German, “Alles für diesen Moment,” or “Everything for This Moment.”
What was the German national airline doing with an English slogan aimed at its German clientele in the first place? Who knows really? But whatever it was doing, many companies in Germany have used English, or some mishmash of German and English – the not very beautiful term for this is Denglish, a combination of Deutsch and English – to appeal to their German customers.
Now, as the Lufthansa example illustrates, there are some signs of a reversal, or, at least, the German press has reported on a few other companies reverting to the language that the population of this country actually speaks. The chain of perfume shops called Douglas (a German company, pronounced DOO-glahss) went from “Come in and find out,” to “Douglas macht das Leben schöner,” or “Douglas makes life more beautiful.”…
A private company in Hanover, Satelliten Media Design, in conjunction with Hanover University, keeps track of one key aspect of the entire mixed language phenomenon, annually tabulating the 100 words most used in German advertising. In the 1980’s, only one English word made the list. The word, a bit improbably, was “fit.” By 2004, there were 23 English words on the chart.
The first four words are still German – wir (meaning we), Sie (you), mehr (more) and Leben (life). In fifth place is the English “your,” followed farther down the list by world, life, business, with, power, people, better, more, solutions and 13 more.
The article has lots more examples, along with some speculation as to why English words are so popular (“English is hipper and quicker in general”). Thanks to Douglas for the link!
For more on Denglish, see Transblawg (also here and here).