Friday, August 18, 2006

German words in English

It is a fascinating fact that some German words have established in the English language, as they seem kind of unique.. here are some of the most important..

abseil v. descend a steep rock face etc. by using a doubled rope coiled round the body and fixed at a higher point (E: rapel)
achtung int. attention! angst n. fear, anxiety, inner torment
ansatz n. initial assumption for the solution of a mathematical problem
autobahn n. motorway
bildungsroman n. novel describing personal development and formation
blatt n. (pl. blätter) newspaper
blitz n. swift action ~krieg n. war waged by surprise
bratwurst n. (pl. G: ~wĂĽrste E: ~wursts) barbecued sausage
braunerde n. geological term (non-calcic brown soils)
doppelgänger n. a person of almost identical appearance but not related
dummkopf n. (pl. ~köpfe) moron, simpleton
durchkomponiert adj. musical term, opposite of strophic
edelweiss n. alpine flower
eigen(~value, ~function, ~vector) n. mathematical terms
ersatz n. substitute
fach n. a singing vocal type, e.g.: lyric, coloratura, heldentenor
fest n. (usually in compounds) abundance
festschrift n. (pl. festschriften) collection of learned papers, usu. honouring a colleague gastarbeiter n. (pl. gastarbeiter) (lit) guest worker
gedankenexperiment n. thought experiment
gemĂĽtlich adj. cosy ~keit n. cosiness
gestalt n. (pl. ~en) the whole (appearance) of something
gesundheit n. health, here: interjection if someone sneezes
gneiss n. G: Gneis geological term
graben n. geological depression, ditch (F. Herbert, Dune)
glockenspiel n. musical instrument
hausfrau n. house-wife (usually slightly derogatory or patronising)
heldentenor n. tenor voice especially suited for heroic operatic roles
hinterland n. district behind coast or river banks
kaffeeklatsch n. get-together, cf. kitchen cabinet, chardonnay society
kaputt adj. not functioning
kindergarten n. day-care centre, playschool, preschool
kitsch n. without artistic taste, corny
kummerbund n. waist-band worn under tuxedo (really of Hindustani & Persian origin: kamar-band "loin-band")
lederhosen n. shorts made from leather
leitmotiv n. (also–but not in G.) leitmotif musical theme, esp. with Wagner lied n. (pl. ~er) song, esp. by Schubert
lumpenproletariat n. rabble-proletariat (coined by Marx/Engels)
meister n. (usually in compounds) expert
realpolitik n. politics of the possible Reich (3rd) n. period of the Nazi regime (1933-45)
riesling n. dry white wine
rucksack n. (pl. G: ~säcke E: ~sacks) bag with harness carried on one's back
sauerkraut n. fermented cut cabbage
schadenfreude n. delight about someone else's misfortune
schlepp (G: schleppen) v. to drag around
schmalz n. sickly sentimentality
schnaps n. (E: schnapps) type of gin, strong liqueur, spirits
schnitzel n. meat cut
schuss n. downhill ski run
sitzprobe n. rehearsal of a musical stage work where singers are sitting and without costumes spiel n. smooth talk for the purpose of selling, cheating, seducing
sprechgesang, sprechstimme n. intoned speech with melodic contours
strafe v.(!) 1. cover with gun fire, 2. slide sideways in computergames
strudel n. dessert, cake stumm adj. mute
sturm und drang late 18th century novel style
torschlusspanik n. sense of panic in middle-age brought on by the feeling that life is passing you by (Weird and Wonderful Words, Eric McKean, OUP)
ĂĽber- adj. (mostly spelt uber) over as in Overlord (cf. meister)
umlaut n. diacritical vowel urtext n.
original, authorised text
verboten adj. prohibited
wanderlust n. fond of walking/hiking
weltanschauung n. world view, philosophical stance
weltschmerz n. depression
windjammer n. large sailing ship
wunderkind n. exceptionally gifted child
zeitgeist n. societal attitude, spirit of the times
zugzwang n. in chess: a player is forced to move, but any move will be disadvantageous

1 comment:

spot said...

we also use wahnstimmung because noone could/can think of an English equivalent.Lots of anglo saxon words are basically germanic in origin or at least derived from a joint precursor.