. 10
( 12)


and masculine nouns referring to humans in revised or new texts would cause
inconsistencies with the traditional use of the generic masculine. In addition, it
would be too costly in terms of time, money, and effort to revise the entire legal
code, and the revisions would yield legal texts with “rather ugly formulations”
(Hellinger 1995:306“307).
A 1991 report prepared by a Swiss task force set up by the Swiss Federal
Government, in contrast to the German Federal Government report, supported
visibility and symmetry in the two types of legal language it identi¬ed in
Swiss Standard German, administrative language (Verwaltungssprache) and
legislative language (Gesetzessprache). The co-existence of generic masculines
in existing legislation and sex-speci¬c masculines in new legislation was not
viewed as a threat to legal consistency; the aesthetics of inclusive language was
also not an issue. Acceptable means of achieving linguistic equality included
abbreviations for double forms such as those using a slash (Antragsteller/innen
˜applicants™) and those with capital -I- (AntragstellerInnen), although not in
legislative language (Hellinger 1995:307“308).

7.4.4 The print media
A brief comparison of several online newspapers provides an example of the
range of current approaches in the German print media to the issue of non-
sexist language. The text in these examples comes from the information the
newspapers provide on readership, employees, contributors, and so on.
Sociolinguistic issues 261

At one end of the range of approaches is the use of capital -I- in die
(40) die tageszeitung: 250 MitarbeiterInnen, 7.000 GenossInnen und
202.000 LeserInnen (davon 84%, die exklusiv die taz lesen)
verp¬‚ichten sich tazt¨ glich der Pressevielfalt. (www.taz.de [July 24,
˜250 employees, 7,000 cooperative members, and 202,000 readers
(84% of whom read the taz exclusively) commit taz-daily to media
The use of Paarformeln, which can be found in newspapers like the Frankfurter
Rundschau and Die Zeit, follows the principle of visibility and avoids the stigma
attached to the use of abbreviations like capital -I-.
(41) a. Frankfurter Rundschau: Jedes Jahr bewerben sich viele
Kandidatinnen und Kandidaten auf einen Praktikumsplatz in der
FR-Redaktion. (www.fr-online.de [July 24, 2007])
˜Each year many candidates (-fem. and candidates-masc.) apply for
an internship in the FR editorial department.™
b. Das sind 51 000 Leserinnen und Leser (+3 Prozent) mehr als noch
vor einem Jahr. (www.zeit.de [August 3, 2007])
˜That™s 51,000 more readers (-fem. and readers-masc.) (+3 percent)
than a year ago.™
At the other end of the range of approaches is the use of the generic masculine
plural “ found, for example, in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung “ which does
not follow the principle of visibility.
(42) Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: Die F.A.Z. hat t¨ glich 910.000
Leser. (www.faz.net [July 24, 2007])
˜The F.A.Z. has 910,000 readers daily.™
In between these two “extremes” we ¬nd a mixture of forms in newspapers like
the S¨ ddeutsche Zeitung and the Swiss Neue Z¨ rcher Zeitung.
u u
(43) a. S¨ ddeutsche Zeitung: F¨ r die S¨ ddeutsche Zeitung arbeiten
u u u
etliche der besten Journalisten Deutschlands . . . Damit ist die
S¨ ddeutsche Zeitung f¨ r ihre Kern-Zielgruppe “ H¨ hergebildete,
u u o
Einkommensstarke, Fach- und Fuhrungskr¨ fte “ schon lange zum
Lieblingsmedium geworden. (www.sueddeutsche.de [July 24, 2007])
˜Quite a few of the best journalists work for the S¨ ddeutsche
Zeitung . . . With that, the S¨ ddeutsche Zeitung has long since
become the favorite medium for its core target audience: the highly
educated, those in high-income brackets, specialists, executives.™
262 German

b. Neue Z¨ rcher Zeitung: Dabei m¨ ssen die Verfasserinnen und
u u
Verfasser von Meinungsbeitr¨ gen den echten Vor- und Nachnamen
nennen. Nutzern, welche die Richtlinien f¨ r Leser-Kommentare
nicht befolgen, kann die Registrierung entzogen werden.
(www.nzz.ch [July 24, 2007])
˜In doing so, authors (-fem. and authors-masc.) of opinion pieces
must provide their real ¬rst and last names. Users who do not follow
the guidelines for reader commentaries can have their registration

The example from the S¨ ddeutsche Zeitung makes use of a generic mascu-
line plural (Journalisten) as well as alternative forms, which include neutral
plural forms derived from participles (H¨ hergebildete) and adjectives (Einkom-
mensstarke) and plurals that do not refer explicitly to people (Fach- und
F¨ hrungskr¨ fte). The example from the Neue Z¨ rcher Zeitung makes use of
u a u
splitting (Verfasserinnen und Verfasser) as well as a generic masculine plural
(Nutzern). While the interspersion of generic masculine plurals may be driven
by stylistic considerations, linguists like Hellinger and Schr¨ pel (1983:53“54)
have argued that the criterion of visibility must have a higher priority than the
criteria of stylistic elegance and economy.

7.5 Jugendsprache

7.5.1 Speakers and usage
The term Jugendsprache ˜youth speech™ is commonly used to refer to the
variety of German spoken by young people, teenagers in particular. Barbour and
Stevenson characterize Jugendsprache as a kind of jargon, which they de¬ne as
a variety of a language spoken by a subculture group that is usually characterized
by an inventive and frequently changing vocabulary (1990:6, 276). The purpose
of jargon is to signal membership in a closed social group. The use of frequently
changing vocabulary therefore makes it dif¬cult for those who do not belong to
the group to acquire the speech variety. Young people view their speech as more
direct, spontaneous, and “cool” than adult speech, which they characterize as
dry and serious (Schlobinski 1995:333). Jugendsprache thus has a distancing
as well as an identity-building function; it also serves as a means of protest
(Ehmann 2005:12) “ an effect of the use of words that are considered vulgar
or taboo in the standard language. Not all young Germans use Jugendsprache,
however, and not every user of Jugendsprache uses it invariably: context plays
an important role in determining use. Furthermore, Jugendsprache is not a
homogeneous language variety; it differs from group to group and situation to
situation (Schlobinski 1995:334). However, general features of Jugendsprache
can be identi¬ed. These are discussed in the following section.
Sociolinguistic issues 263

7.5.2 Linguistic features Lexical features The main features that distinguish Jugend-
sprache from other varieties of German are lexical in nature. A number of
glossaries and dictionaries have been published that deal with the lexicon
of Jugendsprache (e.g., M¨ ller-Thurau 1983; Ehmann 2001, 2005),22 which
is in a constant state of ¬‚ux, as many words go out of style as quickly as
they gain popularity. Popular means of enriching the vocabulary are through
semantic change, borrowing, derivation and compounding, reduction, and other
word-formation processes. While many of these processes are also common in
the standard language, others are not, for example, “lexical mutation” (see the
discussion below). These processes yield lexical items that are unique to the
lexicon of Jugendsprache, although some will ¬nd their way into the colloquial
language of other groups, as has, for example, the word geil ˜terri¬c™ < geil
˜horny™ (Schlobinski 1995:335).
A popular means of creating new words is by changing the meaning of an
existing word. Some types of semantic change that can be found are broadening,
narrowing, shift, amelioration, and pejoration.23
(44) a. broadening: h¨ mmern ˜to hammer™ > ˜to hammer; to work hard™
b. narrowing: tricky ˜wily; dif¬cult™ > ˜wily™
c. shift: Brett ˜board™ > ˜very good pop or hip-hop song™
d. amelioration: porno ˜very™ < porno- (e.g., pornogra¬sch
e. pejoration: Massage ˜massage™ > ˜blow™ (e.g., Kopfmassage ˜blow
to the head™)
Many words are borrowed from English, often with a slight change in mean-
ing. These words are easily “eingedeutscht” (integrated); they are in¬‚ected
like German words and often serve as the base for derivation and other word-
formation processes.
(45) a. Supporter ˜parents, grandparents, aunt; ¬nancially strong sponsor™
b. muddeln ˜to muddle along™
c. relaxt ˜calm, relaxed™
New words are created through derivation. For example, a number of verbs
in Ehmann 2005:148“150 are formed with the pre¬x ver-:
(46) a. verchecken ˜to forget; to sell™ (checken ˜to check; to understand
b. verdackeln ˜to miss; to forget™ (der Dackel ˜dachshund™)
c. vereiern ˜to pull someone™s leg™; ˜to take someone for a ride™
The formation of superlatives is particularly productive. Androutsopoulos
(1998:105) notes in particular the use of the pre¬xes hyper-, mega-, ober-,
264 German

super-, uber-, and ultra- in his (fanzine) corpus. Examples from Ehmann 2005
of words that contain these pre¬xes are the following:
(47) a. hypertonisch ˜fantastic™
b. Mega-Deal ˜big (awesome) thing™
c. superlustig ˜particularly funny; totally inept™
d. ultra-geil ˜super terri¬c™
The suf¬xes -i and -o are particularly productive in Jugendsprache.
(48) a. der Behindi (pronounced “Biheindi”; c.f. English behind) ˜a
backward person™
b. der D¨ si ˜sleepyhead, daydreamer™
c. laschi ˜wimpy, boring™
d. peino ˜embarrassing™
e. der Trivialo ˜unimaginative person™
f. der Karriero ˜career oriented person™
Conversion, another derivational process, also plays a role in creating new
lexical items.
(49) a. m¨ llen ˜to blather™ (c.f. M¨ ll ˜garbage™)
u u
b. zoffen ˜to quarrel™ (c.f. Zoff ˜trouble™)
In addition to derivation, we also ¬nd examples of compounding in Jugend-
sprache. These compounds are often very creative, with the meaning of the
parts not necessarily adding up to the meaning of the whole.
(50) a. Nagelstudio ˜brothel™ (˜nail studio™)
b. Milcht¨ te ˜twirp™ (˜milk carton™)
c. Rhythmuspr¨ sident ˜drummer™ (˜rhythm president™)
d. Sehdeckel ˜eyes™ (˜sight lids™)
The compound Milcht¨ te, for example, is a person, not a ˜bag™ (T¨ te), and
u u
Sehdeckel are eyes, not eyelids.
Another word-formation process that enriches the Jugendsprache vocabulary
is clipping, a type of reduction.
(51) a. Stino (< Stinknormalo) ˜super normal person™
b. Compi (< Computer-Experte) ˜computer expert™
c. Spezi (< Spezialist) ˜specialist™
As in the standard language, words that are the products of reduction can be
used in other word-formation processes. The verb alken ˜to booze it up™, for
example, can be viewed as derived (through conversion) from Alk ˜alcohol™,
itself the product of clipping (< Alkohol ˜alcohol™). Clippings are also used in
the formation of compounds. The compound Compi-Spezi ˜computer specialist™
is in fact made up of two clippings.
Sociolinguistic issues 265

Some words in the Jugendsprache lexicon do not fall into traditional word
formation categories. A process that Ehmann terms “lexical mutation” is prob-
ably best described as the replacement of letters or morphemes of an existing
word to create a new word “ one that often has a different meaning.
(52) a. labundig ˜lively, fun-loving™ (cf. lebendig ˜lively™)
b. zotteln ˜to walk leisurely™ (c.f. zockeln ˜to plod™)
c. mittenmang ˜right in the middle™ (cf. mittendrin ˜right in the middle™)
d. vordergestern ˜totally out of fashion™ (cf. vorgestern ˜day before
Vowels have been replaced in labundig and consonants in zotteln. In
vordergestern, the morpheme vor ˜before™ has been replaced by the morpheme
vorder ˜front™. In mittenmang, drin ˜inside™ has been replaced by mang, which
Ehmann (2005:95) views as being derived from Menge ˜crowd, heap™. Other
examples of word formation in Jugendsprache that are dif¬cult to characterize
are lexical items like doppeldidoch and hoppeldihopp.
(53) a. doppeldidoch ˜(emphatically) to the contrary!™ (cf. doch ˜to the
b. hoppeldihopp ˜quickly™ (cf. hopp ˜quick™)
The word doppeldidoch can be viewed as a product of compounding, but the
“linking” material, -di-, adds a complicating twist to the process. One can see
evidence of reduplication in hoppeldihopp, but there is more going on than
simple reduplication. There is also clearly a connection between these two
words (both contain the sequence -eldi-). The process of “lexical mutation,” as
well as the “creative wordplay” evidenced in lexical items like doppeldidoch
and hoppeldihopp, are particularly striking examples of the inventiveness that
characterizes the vocabulary of Jugendsprache.
Another characteristic feature of the Jugendsprache lexicon is the use of lex-
ical items that are considered vulgar in the standard language. This is a feature
that is common to the speech of young people in general; Cheshire (1982:155),
for example, views swearing as an important symbol of “vernacular identity”
for boys and girls. Androutsopoulos (1998:415) argues that the “vulgar” portion
of the German Jugendsprache lexicon centers around ¬ve “word nests,” groups
of lexical items (words, phrases) that have as their basis a single morpheme.
(54) a. arsch ˜ass™ lahmarschig, verarschen
b. fuck/¬ck ˜fuck™ abgefuckt, ¬cken
c. kack ˜crap™ Kacker, abkacken
d. kotz ˜puke™ großkotzig, abkotzen
e. scheiß/schiss ˜shit™ Scheißer, Scheißdreck, beschissen
Although these words are not found exclusively in Jugendsprache, their roots
are used to create new lexical items that are (at least initially) unique to the
266 German

speech of young people. Among the relatively new creations that can be found
in Ehmann 2005 are the following:

(55) a. abkacken ˜to be bored™ (Standard German: ˜to fail completely™)
b. anfucken ˜to insult™
c. Arsch-Raller ˜ass™
d. Schneckenschiss ˜weakling; coward; rubbish™

Notice that these words can have meanings that are not considered vulgar.
However, although their meaning may be innocent, their form still supplies
them with a certain amount of “shock” value. Sentence-level and discourse features At the sentence level,
one feature that characterizes Jugendsprache is the use of intensi¬ers such as
absolut, echt, total, and voll.
(56) das ist echt gefragt, lange Haare und Assi sein (attested;
Androutsopoulos 1998:343)
˜that™s really hot, long hair and being antisocial™

Intensi¬ers can be doubled, increasing the intensifying effect.

(57) a. Da waren wir echt voll begeistert. (attested; Androutsopoulos
˜We were really massively excited.™
b. Die Leute sind echt total nett. (attested; Androutsopoulos 1998:351)
˜The people are really totally nice.™

One position in which intensi¬ers are used that is not typical of the stan-
dard language is before NP complements of copulative verbs like sein ˜to be™
(Androutsopoulos 1998:352).

(58) a. es ist absolut die Wucht, die ich hab (attested; Androutsopoulos
˜it is absolutely the force that I have™
b. Das ist total der Beschiss, das Ding (attested; Androutsopoulos
˜That is totally the rip-off, that thing™

Words like echt and total occur in the standard language as well as in
Jugendsprache (although they are used differently in Jugendsprache). The
word ey, on the other hand, can be considered a marker of Jugendsprache,
since adults use words like wa and ne instead (Schlobinski 1995:333). Ey is
used in expressive speech acts as an intensi¬er.24
Sociolinguistic issues 267

(59) echt geil ey! (Schlobinski 1995:333)
˜Really terri¬c!™
It also serves as an evaluation marker.
(60) scheiße, ey! (Schlobinski 1995:333)
Ey is also used in communicative speech acts.25 It can serve as an attention
(61) ey, wann kommst™n? (Schlobinski 1995:333)
˜Hey, when are you coming?™
It functions as an address signal.
(62) ey, Alter, was sagst du dazu? (attested; Androutsopoulos 1998:479)
˜Hey, dude, what do you say?™
It also functions as a structuring signal, marking the structure of the discourse. It
is used, for example, to signal the end of a discourse contribution (Schlobinski
et al. 1993:137).
(63) ich haue ihr in den Bauch (.) sie merkt nichts ey (Schlobinski et al.
˜I hit her in the stomach; she doesn™t notice anything.™
A class of words that also have discourse functions are “root words.” These are
formed by removing the in¬nitive suf¬x from a verb (Schlobinski 1995:322).
(64) a. achz ˜moan, groan™
b. seufz ˜sigh™
c. st¨ hn ˜groan™
d. w¨ rg ˜choke™
According to Schlobinski (1995:322), the purpose of these words is to express
speci¬c actions and to comment on them. For example, w¨ rg expresses dislike
and revulsion (Schlobinski 1995:322), as the following (attested) example (from
Androutsopoulos 1998:487) demonstrates:
(65) Speaker A: Ich habe mir mit so einem Teil . . . meinen rechten
Zeige¬nger abges¨ belt. Hier, schau mal, fehlt immer noch ein St¨ ck.
a u
˜I sawed off a piece of my right index ¬nger. Here, take a look, a
piece is still missing.™
Speaker B: W¨ rg. ˜Choke.™
In the following example, the speaker uses these root words to describe and
comment on the act committed by making the preceding utterance.
268 German

(66) [In der Region gibt es] ein einziges Fanzine [. . .], dessen Macher ich
ubringens bin (protz prahl!!!) (Androutsopoulos 1998:186)
˜In the region there™s only one fanzine . . . by the way, I™m its
producer (show off, brag!!!)™

According to Schlobinski (1995:323), root words were an invention of writers
who were faced with the task of translating English sound words into German.
These root words (as well as onomatopoeic words) became an essential com-
ponent of comic-book language and eventually found their way into colloquial
speech via the language of young people (Dolle-Weinkauf 1990:70).
The use of intensi¬ers and other words with discourse functions (ey, root
words) are just some of the sentence-level and discourse features that char-
acterize Jugendsprache. For example, Androutsopoulos (1998:481“486) notes
the use of insults in Jugendsprache as well as the formulaic language that
characterizes forms of address, leave-taking, expressions of surprise, and so
on (508“522). For further discussion of these and other characteristics of
Jugendsprache, see, for example, Henne 1986, Schlobinski et al. 1993, and
Androutsopoulos 1998.

7.6 The German of foreign workers

7.6.1 Speakers
Foreigners in Germany can be divided into several categories, including, but not
limited to, Arbeitsmigranten (foreign workers), Aussiedler (former residents of
eastern European countries of German descent), and Asylanten (asylum seek-
ers). This discussion is concerned with Arbeitsmigranten, in particular those
who were initially recruited to work in German industry during the labor short-
age in the 1950s. These workers were originally referred to as Gastarbeiter
˜guest workers™ because their stay was viewed as temporary. However, many
have remained in Germany for decades, many of their children have been born
there, and relatively few show an interest in leaving (Barbour and Steven-
son 1990:194). Thus, terms such as Migrant, Immigrant, Arbeitsmigrant, and
ausl¨ ndischer Arbeiter are used increasingly in the German literature in place
of the term Gastarbeiter (Clyne 1995:194). In addition to being inaccurate, the
term Gastarbeiter is considered offensive by a number of those to whom it
has been applied (Fennell 1997:2). Following Fennell 1997, the term “foreign
worker” is used here to refer to this group of foreigners.
The largest numbers of foreign workers in Germany come mainly from
Turkey, Italy, the former Yugoslavia, and Greece. They have tended to lead a
marginal existence because of their status as temporary members of the work
Sociolinguistic issues 269

force and the government™s position that Germany is kein Einwanderungsland
(not an immigration country). Although the social conditions for foreign work-
ers have improved since the 1950s (notoriously bad living conditions have
gotten better), problems of integration, education, social equality, and racial
tension remain (Fennell 1997:50).27 Fennell argues that many of the social
problems that foreign workers face would be alleviated if they had better pro¬-
ciency in German. The linguistic skills of foreigners in Germany have been the
focus of a number of studies since the late 1960s.28 Some early studies sought
to understand the “untutored” knowledge of foreign workers with the goal of
improving language teaching programs for adults. Most studies, however, have
focused on the linguistic features of Foreign Worker German (FWG) and the
insights it can shed on the acquisition of a second language in general (Barbour
and Stevenson 1990:195).

7.6.2 Linguistic features
The German of foreign workers varies from very rudimentary to more native-
like. Regardless of the native language of a speaker, each level of pro¬ciency
exhibits common structural characteristics.29 The speech of those with only a
very basic competence in German can be characterized as highly simpli¬ed
in comparison to Standard German, the target language. For example, articles,
prepositions, pronouns, and verbs are deleted (Clyne 1968:131).
(67) a. Das Rinus. (Das ist der Rhein. ˜That is the Rhine.™)
b. Patiente essen. (Ich habe Patienten [das] Essen gebracht. ˜I brought
patients food.™)
c. Krankenkasse viel Geld. (Von der Krankenkasse bekommt man viel
Geld. ˜From the health insurance company you get a lot of money.™)
One verb form, typically the in¬nitive, tends to be generalized (Clyne
(68) a. Ja, ich nicht viel sprechen deutsch. (spreche)
˜Yeah, I don™t speak German a lot.™
b. Ich heute bringen Kartoffel mit Reis. (brachte)
˜I brought potatoes with rice today.™
c. Ich habe gut sprechen. (gesprochen)
˜I have spoken well.™
There is a tendency to delete bound morphemes (Clyne 1968:135).
(69) a. Ein gut Kostum. (ein gutes Kost¨ m ˜a good suit™)
b. Viel schenke. (viele Geschenke ˜many gifts™)
The generalized use of nix (niks) for nicht, nichts, nie, and kein is typical of
FWG (Clyne 1995:195).
270 German

(70) a. niks mehr zur¨ ck (Clyne 1968:135)
(nicht mehr zur¨ ck ˜not back again™)
b. niks gut Wetter (Clyne 1968:135)
(nicht/kein gutes Wetter ˜not/no good weather™)
The generalized use of the pronoun du is also common (Clyne 1968:135).
(71) a. Bitte du sprechen. (said to the speaker™s boss)
please you speak
b. kennt dir schenke (said to the speaker™s employer)
could to-you give
The order subject“verb“object is favored (Bodemann and Ostow 1975:
(72) Und die Frau garnik verstehen Deutsch
and the woman nothing-at-all understand German ˜And the woman
doesn™t understand any German.™
The auxiliary and main verb are kept maximally close together, although nega-
tion can occur between them, since negation occurs immediately before the
main verb (Bodemann and Ostow 1975:139).
(73) Aber er wollte niks mache neue Fabrik. (Bodemann and Ostow
but he wanted not make new factory ˜But he didn™t want to build a
new factory.™
The non-verbal portion of phrasal verbs tends not to be separated from the
verbal portion (Bodemann and Ostow 1975:139).
(74) Jetzt diese altere Leute rausmachen. (Bodemann and Ostow
(cf. Jetzt macht er diese alteren Leute ˜raus. ˜Now he™s putting these
older people out.™)
Although the speech of some foreign workers shows evidence of fossilization
(non-native features have become permanent), the speech of others can be
characterized as being at an intermediate stage on the way to acquisition of
the target language. A number of studies have sought to identify sequences
of acquisition and stages on the continuum of development of FWG. The
Heidelberg Research Project on “Pidgin-German,”31 which studied the German
of adult Italian and Spanish workers, found, for example, that the use of simple
verb forms is learned ¬rst, and copula and modal verbs are acquired before
the auxiliary (Klein and Dittmar 1979:131). Clahsen et al. (1983), who studied
the acquisition of word order and negation by adult speakers from Italy, Spain,
Sociolinguistic issues 271

and Portugal, identi¬ed seven stages of development, where acquisition of one
stage implies acquisition of the preceding stage. For example, if speakers are
able to place adverbial phrases between the ¬nite verb and the direct object
(stage 6), they are also able to produce verb-second order in main clauses
(stage 5).

(75) Stage 5
franz¨ sich kann ich auch noch heute (Clahsen et al. 1983:141)
French can I also still today ˜I can still speak French today.™
(76) Stage 6
ich habe nur eine kleine weintraube (Clahsen et al. 1983:153)
I have only a small bunch-of-grapes ˜I only had a small vineyard.™32

In addition to investigating the different stages of acquisition, a number of
studies of FWG have also studied the factors that correlate with success-
ful progression towards linguistic competency in German. The Heidelberger
Forschungsprojekt “Pidgin-Deutsch” (1975:129“131), for example, identi¬ed
several social factors that play a role. The most important factor is the amount
of contact with Germans during leisure time. The second most important factor
is the age of the learner upon arrival in Germany. Other factors include the
amount of contact with Germans at work, the type of employment, and the
length of stay in Germany.
Although second- and third-generation foreigners do not have as much dif-
¬culty learning German as their parents, they still face problems because of
bilingual education that is less than ideal (Clyne 1995:195). Fennell (1997:83)
predicts, however, that the linguistic abilities of the children of foreign work-
ers in Germany will develop like those of the offspring of foreigners in other
immigration countries such as Australia and the United States, where second-
generation speakers tend to be diglossic (speaking their parents™ native lan-
guage at home and English at school/work) and third-generation speakers are
often monolingual in English. Fennell views the progression of third-generation
immigrants in Germany to higher educational levels as an indication that they
too are developing native ¬‚uency in German.

7.7 Language contact

7.7.1 A brief history
Although language contact can bring about changes in all areas of grammar
(phonology, morphology, syntax, etc.), the vocabulary of a language is typically
the most susceptible to change. Speakers of German may lament the current
wave of borrowings from English, but history shows us that this is by no means
272 German

a new phenomenon. The vocabulary of modern German displays evidence of
centuries of contact with other languages.
Some of the earliest borrowings still found in German today are of Celtic
origin. A number of words are assumed to stem from a period of contact
with Celtic civilization during the Iron Age (Wells 1985:54) “ Germanic and
Celtic share the term —¯sarno- for ˜iron™ (Polom´ 1972:64) “ but it is often
± e
dif¬cult to determine whether common vocabulary items re¬‚ect common stock
or borrowing from one language into another. Polom´ (1972:64) speculates
that Fichte ˜spruce™ (OHG ¬uhta) might re¬‚ect one of the oldest borrowings
from Celtic into Germanic. Words that are generally held to be borrowings
from Celtic because of their phonological features are Amt ˜of¬ce™ and Reich
Contact with Roman civilization during Germanic times left behind a signif-
icant number of loanwords from Latin that have survived into modern German.
The following examples are from this ¬rst “Latin wave” (Waterman 1991:35“
36; Stedje 2001:55).

(77) German Latin
a. Fenster ˜window™ fenestra
b. Kampf ˜battle™ campus
c. Kessel ˜kettle™ cat¯nus
d. Mauer ˜wall™ m¯ rus
e. Pfeffer ˜pepper™ piper
f. Plaume ˜plum™ pr¯ num
g. Pfund ˜pound™ pond¯ o
h. Straße ˜street™ (via) str¯ ta
i. Tisch ˜table™ discus
j. Ziegel ˜brick™ t¯ gula

The age of these borrowings can be seen in the evidence they provide of
having undergone the High German Consonant Shift (they were borrowed into
Germanic before the High German Consonant Shift). We can see the shift of
p > pf in Kampf, for example, and the shift of t > z ([ts]) in Ziegel.
Words of Greek origin found their way into German, often via Latin, although
the dissemination of some words is not a clear-cut matter (Wells 1985:56):
Kirche ˜church™ (< Lat. kyrica < Gk. kuri(a)kon ˜(house) of the Lord™), Almosen
˜alms™, Bischof ˜bishop™, Engel ˜angel™, Teufel ˜devil™.
The second wave of Latin words found their way into German vocabulary
through the Klosterkultur in German monasteries during the Old High German
period. Not just words involving religious matters, but also words from scribal
culture, gardening, crafts, and so on were borrowed from Latin into German
(Waterman 1991:71“72; Stedje 2001:69“70).
Sociolinguistic issues 273

(78) German Latin
a. Altar ˜altar™ alt¯ re
b. Kloster ˜cloister™ claustrum
c. predigen ˜to preach™ praedic¯ re
d. Tinte ˜ink™ tincta
e. schreiben ˜to write™ scr¯bere
f. Tafel ˜tablet™ tabula
g. Petersilie ˜parsley™ petrosilium
h. Zweibel ˜onion™ c¯ pulla
i. Pinsel ˜paintbrush™ p¯ nicillus
j. Seide ˜silk™ s¯ ta

These words, unlike those borrowed earlier, did not undergo the High German
Consonant Shift. The p in Petersilie and the t in Tafel, for example, remained
unshifted. Many loan translations from Latin found their way into German
during this period (Waterman 1991:72):33 Gotteshaus ˜house of God™ < Lat.
domus De¯; Gewissen ˜conscience™ < Lat. conscientia; Wohltat ˜good deed™ <
Lat. bene¬cium.34
During the Middle High German period, the in¬‚uence of French on German
was particularly great. See chapter 5 (section 5.4.1) for a brief discussion of
the words and af¬xes that were borrowed into German during this time. Some
words from the Netherlands found their way into German as well: Wappen
˜coat of arms™ (cf. the related High German word Waffen ˜weapon™, with f <
p), T¨ lpel ˜fool™.
The Early New High German period saw borrowing from Latin (the third
Latin wave), Greek (often via Latin), and Italian. Latin had a particularly
strong in¬‚uence on German during this period, through the Church, and to
a greater degree through the intellectual movement of Humanism. According
to Waterman (1991:120“121), the bulk of Latin loanwords that can still be
found in German entered the language at this time, some examples of which
(in the areas of theology, law, medicine, etc.) are the following: Absolution
˜absolution™, Amnestie ˜amnesty™, Arterie ˜artery™, Doktor ˜doctor™, Hypothek
˜mortgage™, Kathedrale ˜cathedral™, Medizin ˜medicine™, Sekte ˜sect™, Student
˜student™, Text ˜text™.
Those words of Greek origin that found their way into German during this
period include the following (Stedje 2001:132): Akademie ˜academy™, Archiv
˜archive™, Chirurgie ˜surgery™, Epidemie ˜epidemic™, Grammatik ˜grammar™,
Gymnasium ˜high school™, Mathematik ˜mathematics™, Orthographie ˜orthog-
raphy™, Polizei ˜police™, Problem ˜problem™. Italian loans entered the language
in the areas of music and ¬nance (Stedje 2001:26): Bass ˜bass™, Allegro ˜alle-
gro™, Violine ˜violin™, Fagott ˜bassoon™; Konto ˜account™, Kredit ˜credit™, Bilanz
274 German

During the earlier portion of the New High German period, the in¬‚uence
of French on the German lexicon was once again particularly strong (see the
discussion in chapter 5, section 5.6). Later on, during the eighteenth century,
English loans found their way into the language, in particular through the
in¬‚uence of literary movements and politics and government. Some of the
words and expressions that stem from this period are the following (Waterman
1991:177; Stedje 2001:151): Blankvers ˜blank verse™, Humor ˜humor™, Opposi-
tion ˜opposition™, Parlament ˜parliament™, ein Gesetz einbringen ˜to introduce
a bill™, zur Ordnung rufen ˜to call to order™. During the nineteenth century, the
in¬‚uence of English increased in a number of ¬elds, including commerce, fash-
ion, foods, and sports (Waterman 1991:177“178; Stedje 2001:151): Beefsteak
˜steak™, Bonds, Match, Partner, Pullover, Rekord, Roastbeef, Scheck, Smoking
˜dinner jacket™, Sport, Streik, Trainer ˜coach™.
The in¬‚uence of English increased during the twentieth century, with the
impact of American English being particularly great following the Second
World War. The following list of borrowings gives an idea of some of the areas
of vocabulary that have been affected by this period of borrowing:
(79) Babysitter, die Band (B[µ]nd), Bestseller, Business, Comics,
Computer, Handout, Jeans, killen, Layout, Look, Make-up,
Manager, News, Quiz, Service, Spray, Team, Teenager, Trend
It is not uncommon that a borrowed word will have a meaning in German that
is somewhat different from its meaning in English. For example, a Drink is an
alcoholic drink, a Job typically means temporary employment, and a Meeting
is a political, scienti¬c, or sports gathering.
The material borrowed from English includes more than just loanwords.
There are also loan translations, loan “renditions,” and semantic loans. A loan
translation involves translating each part of a foreign word or expression into the
native language, as the following loan translations from English demonstrate.
(80) a. Flutlicht < ¬‚oodlight
b. Einkaufszentrum < shopping center
c. herumh¨ ngen < to hang around
A loan rendition translates only a part of the foreign word into the native
(81) a. Luftbr¨ cke (literally ˜air bridge™) < airlift
b. Ubertreibung (literally ˜over driving™) < overstatement
c. Titelgeschichte (literally ˜title story™) < cover story
Semantic loans expand the meaning of a word already in the language on the
basis of a similar word in another language. For example, the verb kontrollieren
originally meant ˜to supervise, inspect™, but on the basis of the English verb
Sociolinguistic issues 275

to control, it acquired the additional meaning ˜to control™. Other examples of
semantic loans from English are feuern, which acquired the meaning ˜to ¬re™
as in ˜to let go™, and realisieren, which acquired the meaning ˜to realize™ in the
sense of ˜to understand™.
There are a variety of social, political, and scienti¬c reasons for the large
number of borrowings from English that have found their way into German
since the Second World War. Steffens (2003:5), touching brie¬‚y on the causes
of the relatively large number of Anglo-Americanisms in German, mentions
the following:35 the economic assistance of the United States in the form of the
Marshall Plan; the Federal Republic™s policy of alliances, which was oriented
towards the West; the dominance of the United States in the domains of science
and technology; the dominance of English in international communication; the
status of English as the ¬rst foreign language worldwide; the role-model func-
tion of the American lifestyle. Steffens (2003:5) also mentions the importation
of technical innovations together with the terms designating them as one of
the reasons for the large number of Anglo-American loans in German. Other
factors that Steffens notes include linguistic economy (Anglo-Americanisms
are typically short and succinct); the close relationship between English and
German; the higher stylistic and communicative value often ascribed to Anglo-
Americanisms; and the desire to impress “ to signal that one is educated,
modern, and cosmopolitan or a member of a particular group.

7.7.2 Recent English in¬‚uence
The Uberfremdung ˜foreign in¬ltration™ of the German language “ the rampant
use of Anglo-Americanisms “ is a topic that is currently of concern to linguists
and non-linguists alike. For example, a national survey carried out by the
Institut f¨ r Deutsche Sprache in 1999 determined that roughly one quarter of
the population is concerned about changes in the language, the most important
change being the increase in Anglo-Americanisms (Zifonun 2002:2).
In an article in Die Zeit titled “Sonst stirbt die deutsche Sprache” ˜Otherwise
the German language will die™, Zimmer (1995:42) cites the following examples
that demonstrate the degree to which English has had an impact on German.
(82) a. Miles & More f¨ hrt ein ¬‚exibleres Upgrade-Verfahren ein: mit dem
neuen Standby oneway Upgrade-Voucher kann direkt beim Check-in
das Ticket aufgewertet werden. (Lufthansa)
b. In der Pipeline ist das Upgrade eines Kalibrationskits f¨ r
Proofscreenmonitore und als Highlight ein Digitizer f¨ r
CAD-Applikationen. (a computer magazine)
One of Zimmer™s concerns is that Germans do not take the trouble to replace
English words by those that have been adapted to the German linguistic system;
276 German

he ¬nds fault in particular with the lack of phonological and morphological
assimilation of borrowed items. Pittner (2001:234), in response to Zimmer
1995, argues that speakers do a better job of integrating foreign words into
German than Zimmer claims, citing the use of foreign stems in productive
word-formation processes: for example, in the derivation of words like com-
putern ˜to use a computer™, auspowern ˜to completely use up one™s power™, and
Newcomerin ˜newcomer™.
In a report on a study of neologisms that entered German in the 1990s,
Steffens (2003:5) notes that relatively many belong to relatively few domains.
(83) a. Computer/Internet: doppelklicken, E-Mail, Homepage
b. Media: Bezahlfernsehen, Latenightshow, Multiplexkino
c. Society: Babyklappe, Minijob, Ostalgie
d. Sports: Carvingski, Gelbsperre, inlineskaten
e. Economy: Globalisierungsfalle, outsourcen, Scheinselbst¨ ndigkeit
Neologisms can also be found in the following areas:
(84) a. Banking and ¬nance: Eurogeld, Gewinnwarnung, Onlinebanking
b. Leisure and entertainment: H¨ pfburg, Infotainment, raven
c. Telecommunication: Call-by-Call, Festnetz, Handy
In an attempt to relativize the impression that neologisms are only borrowings
from English, Steffens points out that more than half are the products of word-
formation processes in German.
Zifonun (2002:8), like Steffens (2003:8), sees no danger of Uberfremdung of
the German language, given the tendency of speakers to integrate English loans
into German. Although she argues that some developments deserve attention
(e.g., the increased integration of unin¬‚ected words), she does not see the gram-
matical system of German as being in danger. She argues for the use of German
terms whenever possible when services and information for the general public
are involved. However, she does not view the assimilation (Eindeutschung)
of Anglo-Americanisms in a negative light, calling it a Gl¨ cksfall ˜godsend™:
According to Zifonun, a concise Anglo-Americanism is preferable to a bad
translation. She concludes that today, just as in earlier times, German can be
enriched by words from foreign languages.36

1. Identify as many instances as possible of assimilation, reduction, and dele-
tion in the following examples of colloquial speech.
(a) Der Kaffee ist teuer. ˜The coffee is expensive.™ [tɐ k afe ©s t ”©ɐ]
(b) Sie geht baden. ˜She™s going swimming.™ [zi kep pa¦tn]
(c) Wir sind nicht fertig. ˜We™re not ready.™ [vɐ z©n n©c fµɐ8t ©c]
¸ ¸
Sociolinguistic issues 277

(d) Auf Wiedersehen. ˜Good-by.™ [f vi¦tɐzen]
(e) Wir haben es geschafft. ˜We did it.™ [vɐ hams k™ʃaft ]
2. Consider the following sets of synonyms and determine the stylistic level of
each member in the set (colloquial, neutral, formal).
(a) der Mann, der Alte, der Gatte
(b) die Hochschulreife, das Abitur, das Abi
(c) die Birne, der Kopf, das Haupt
(d) verstehen, kapieren
(e) das Zuchthaus, der Knast, das Gef¨ ngnis
(f) etwas ausplaudern, etwas preisgeben, sich verplappern
(g) verr¨ ckt, plemplem
(h) entschlafen, hopsgehen, sterben
3. List possible gender-inclusive alternatives to the following expressions:
(a) der Sch¨ ler ˜pupil™
(b) der Mitarbeiter ˜colleague™
(c) der Lehrer ˜teacher™
(d) der Polizist ˜police of¬cer™
(e) der Rechtsanwalt ˜attorney™
(f) der Student ˜student™
(g) der Autor ˜author™
(h) der Koch ˜chef™
4. Identify the means by which the following words were added to the vocabu-
lary of German Jugendsprache (derivation, conversion, compounding, etc.):
(a) supergeil
(b) arschcool
(c) Klampfer ˜guitarist™ (klampfen ˜to play guitar™)
(d) Stip ˜scholarship™ (Stipendium ˜scholarship™)
(e) Schlagi ˜drummer™ (Schlagzeuger ˜drummer™)
(f) t¨ rlich ˜naturally™ (nat¨ rlich ˜naturally™)
u u
(g) Fun
(h) Arschtyp
(i) Straightheit
(j) Brilli ˜someone who wears glasses™
5. What do the following words mean as they are used in German?
(a) der Bodybag
(b) die Peperoni
(c) das Ticket
(d) der Dress
(e) die City
(f) der Slip
(g) der Pony
(h) der Flipper
278 German

1 For general introductions to sociolinguistics, see, for example, Dittmar 1973, 1997
(both in German), Hudson 1996, Trudgill 2000, and Wardhaugh 2002. For more
comprehensive overviews, see Coulmas 1998 and Ammon et al. 2005.
2 A seminal ¬gure in the study of language as it is spoken in its social context is
William Labov, who has focused in particular on the issues of linguistic variation
and change. See, for example, Labov 1994, 2001, and 2006.
3 The de¬nition of the term “register” varies considerably in the literature. For exam-
ple, it is often used to refer to “varieties according to use,” in contrast to dialects
(in the broad sense of the term), which are de¬ned as “varieties according to user”
(Hudson 1996:45). This notion of register is fairly complex, and involves several
dimensions, including “¬eld” (subject matter and activity), “mode” (means of com-
munication), and “tenor” (variation in formality; relationship between participants)
(Halliday 1978:33). We take a simpler (narrower) approach here (following, e.g.,
Wardhaugh 2002:50“51) and de¬ne registers as those varieties that differ according
to subject matter and activity. We also separate the notion of style (tenor) from
4 The transcriptions here and elsewhere in this chapter conform to the conventions
adopted in chapter 1.
5 The concept of “weak form” was originally used for English by Jones (1956:126“
6 Durrell (1992) uses the term “register” to refer to the stylistic level of language
that is in¬‚uenced by subject matter, medium, and situation, and identi¬es three
main register types, which he labels R1, R2, and R3 (1992:3“8). These registers
correspond roughly to the categories of style identi¬ed here (colloquial, neutral, and
formal): R1 is everyday colloquial speech, R2 is a neutral register, and R3 is the
register of modern written German.
7 Phrases like meinem Bruder sein Zimmer are more common in casual colloquial
speech (in salopper Umgangssprache) (Dudenredaktion 2001:353).
8 The dative preposition von instead of the genitive is acceptable (and in fact required)
in the standard language when case would not otherwise be expressed overtly, for
example, in phrases like der Preis von sechs H¨ usern ˜the price of six houses™ (with
the genitive instead of von, there would be no case marking on the noun H¨ user).
See Dudenredaktion 2001:353 for additional situations in which von in place of the
genitive is acceptable in the standard language.
9 See Langer 2001 for discussion of the stigmatization of the tun + in¬nitive con-
10 Relative clauses are of course also found in the colloquial language. In particular,
they are found instead of the “extended” adjective phrases that are typical of formal
written German (see section 3.4 for examples and further discussion).
11 Demonstrative pronouns are essentially identical in form to relative pronouns; com-
pare Table 2.8 and Table 2.9.
12 Pronouns of “politeness” are capitalized here to distinguish them from their non-
polite counterparts. For example, Ihr is the pronoun that means ˜you (singular,
polite)™, whereas ihr simply means ˜you (plural)™.
Sociolinguistic issues 279

13 Abstract nominal constructions such as Eure Majest¨ t ˜Your Majesty™ and Eure
Gnade ˜Your Grace™ were used to address those at the highest levels of society
(Metcalf 1938:64).
14 See Metcalf 1938 (which covers developments in the sixteenth through eighteenth
centuries) for detailed discussion of the situations in which the various forms of
address were used. Augst 1977:23“44 also provides a historical overview that
includes usage conventions.
15 See Brown and Gilman (1960) for an analysis of the traditional “modern” use of du
and Sie that is based on the notions of power and solidarity.
16 A speaker signals disrespect by not using Sie, the pronoun of respect.
17 See Besch 1998:16 for a discussion of the reasons for switching to du and further
discussion of the conventions that govern this switch.
18 The use of Fr¨ ulein ˜Miss™ to address an unmarried woman has been replaced by
Frau in of¬cial and administrative language (Amts- und Verwaltungssprache) as
well as in colloquial speech (Klann-Delius: 2005:188). This use of Frau is similar to
the use of Ms. in English, in that it is correct regardless of a woman™s marital status.
19 The examples of abbreviations in this section are from Dudenredaktion 2001:
20 The examples here of alternatives to splitting are from Dudenredaktion 2001:
21 The situation in Austria with respect to legal language is similar to the situation in
Germany (Clyne 1995:147).
22 See Neuland 1999:41“42 for additional dictionaries that deal with Jugendsprache.
23 The examples in this section are from Ehmann 2005.
24 According to Schlobinski et al. (1993:136), expressive speech acts are those with
which speakers express subjective experiences, opinions, and judgments.
25 Communicative speech acts are those with which speakers organize their speech,
structure topics and contributions, regulate conversation sequences, and so on
(Schlobinski et al. 1993:136).
26 A single period between parentheses, (.), indicates a short pause.
27 See Fennell 1997 for a discussion of the living conditions, education, employment
opportunities, and other aspects of the social conditions of foreign workers.
28 Gastarbeiterlinguistik has in fact become a recognized sub¬eld of linguistics in
29 Many studies have sought to explain the commonalities in FWG and the deviations
from Standard German. See Barbour and Stevenson 1990 for an overview of various
theories that have been proposed. See also Fennell 1997 for a discussion of the issue
of classifying FWG (pidgin, creole, etc.).
30 This as well as other examples from Bodemann and Ostow 1975 are reproduced
here in standard orthography. Although non-standard pronunciation in the original
examples is generally not indicated, non-standard in¬‚ection is.
31 Although various studies, including the Heidelberg Research Project on “Pidgin-
German,” refer to FWG as Pidgindeutsch ˜pidgin-German™, it cannot be considered
a pidgin in the strict sense of the term. A pidgin is a highly simpli¬ed language
that develops as a mixture of two of more languages in a language contact situation
where speakers do not know each other™s languages.
280 German

32 The speaker used the word Weintraube ˜bunch of grapes™, but meant instead to say
Weinberg ˜vineyard™.
33 A loan translation is a word or expression that has been formed by translating a
corresponding word or expression in another language.
34 The pre¬x ge- was often used to translate Latin con ˜with™, as in Gewissen (< Lat.
35 I use the term “Anglo-Americanisms” for words and expressions borrowed from
American and/or British English.
36 For a book-length treatment of Anglicisms in German, see Onysko 2007.

ablaut A vowel alternation used to signal grammatical distinctions; found in irregular
verbs in German and English (e.g., sing, sang, sung; singen ˜to sing™, sang ˜sang™,
gesungen ˜sung™).
acoustic phonetics The sub¬eld of phonetics that deals with the physical properties
of speech sounds.
acronym A word formed from the initial letters of the words in a name or a phrase
(e.g., NATO < North Atlantic Treaty Organization).
adjective A category of word that describes a property that can be attributed to
entities named by nouns (e.g., sch¨ n ˜beautiful™, klein ˜small™, nett ˜nice™).
adjunct An optional constituent (e.g., vor dem Konzert ˜before the concert™ in Ich
habe sie vor dem Konzert getroffen ˜I met her before the concert™).
adjunction A syntactic operation that adjoins (attaches) one phrase, YP, to another
phrase, XP, by creating a position to which YP can move. A copy of XP (a new
XP node) is made above it that immediately dominates the two adjoined phrases,
the old XP and the moved YP.
adposition A cover term for prepositions, postpositions, and circumpositions.
adverb A category of word that is often used to describe the action of a verb (e.g.,
schnell ˜quickly™); adverbs can also modify adjectives and other adverbs (e.g.,
sehr ˜very™) and sentences (e.g., leider ˜unfortunately™).
af¬x An obligatorily bound morph that does not realize a lexeme (e.g., un- and -s in
unmasks; zer- and -t in zerst¨ rt ˜destroys™).
affricate A stop followed by a fricative with essentially the same point of articulation
(e.g., [pf] in Pfund ˜pound™, [ts] in Zunge ˜tongue™).
agent The thematic role of the entity that initiates or carries out an action and is
capable of volition (e.g., the role of Julia in Julia k¨ sste ihr Kind ˜Julia kissed her
allomorph One of the realizations of a morpheme (e.g., /™/, /™n/, and /s/ are some of
the allomorphs of the nominal plural morpheme in German, e.g., in Jahre ˜years™,
Ohren ˜ears™, and Autos ˜cars™).
allophone One of the phonetic realizations of a phoneme (e.g., [x] and [c] are ¸
allophones of the German phoneme /x/, as in Na[x]t ˜night™ and ni[c]t ˜not™).
alveolar ridge The ridge immediately behind the upper teeth.
ambisyllabicity The presence of a single segment in two neighboring syllables.
analogy A process in language change that alters the form of an existing word or
morpheme because of its similarity to other words or morphemes. The process
typically introduces greater regularity into the language (e.g., the use of a

282 Glossary

“regular” past form for backen ˜to bake™, backte ˜baked™, instead of the original
“irregular” form buk ˜baked™).
analytic A type of language in which words are typically composed of a single
anaphor A type of noun phrase that does not have independent reference; it receives
its reference from the noun phrase to which it refers, its antecedent (e.g., sich
˜himself™ in Der B¨ rgermeister verteidigte sich ˜The mayor defended himself™ is
an anaphor whose antecedent is der B¨ rgermeister ˜the mayor™).
antecedent A linguistic unit to which another (typically later) unit in the discourse
refers (e.g., in die Frau, mit der er verheiratet ist ˜the woman to whom he is
married™, die Frau ˜the woman™ is the antecedent of the relative pronoun der
antepenultimate syllable The third-to-last syllable (e.g., mo in Har.mo.ni.ka
approximant A speech sound produced when one articulator is close to another, but
not close enough to produce audible friction (e.g., w in English win).
argument The arguments of a verb are the subject and the verbal complements (e.g.,
zerst¨ ren ˜to destroy™ has two arguments, a subject and an object).
articulatory phonetics The sub¬eld of phonetics concerned with how human speech
sounds are produced by the vocal organs.
arytenoid cartilages Two cartilages at the back of the larynx to which the vocal cords
are attached.
aspect A category of the verb that expresses the internal temporal contour of an event
or situation in various ways (e.g., as completed, ongoing, habitual, etc.).
aspiration The period of voicelessness accompanied by a burst of air following the
release of a stop (e.g., the p in English pin [p ©n] and German Pass [p as]
˜passport™ is articulated with aspiration).
assimilation The change of a feature or features of one sound to match those of a
neighboring sound (e.g., the change of [n] to [m] in i[m]put ˜input™).
attributive adjective An adjective that modi¬es a following noun (e.g., rote ˜red™ in
rote Rosen ˜red roses™).
auditory phonetics The sub¬eld of phonetics that investigates the way that speech
sounds are perceived by listeners.
auxiliary verb A verb that accompanies the main (lexical) verb (e.g., hat ˜has™ in hat
gekauft ˜has bought™; muss ˜must™ in muss kaufen ˜must buy™).
back A feature that involves the placement of the body of the tongue and
characterizes consonants as well as vowels; [+back] sounds are articulated
behind the palatal region in the oral cavity.
base An item to which an af¬x is attached (e.g., activate serves as the base for the
pre¬x de- in deactivate; L¨ sung serves as the base for the suf¬x -en in L¨ sungen
o o
blend A new lexeme formed from parts of two or more existing lexemes (e.g.,
brunch, from breakfast and lunch; jein ˜yes and no™, from ja ˜yes™ and nein ˜no™).
breathy voice A state of the vocal cords in which the arytenoids are slightly apart and
the ligamental cords are vibrating while allowing a high rate of air¬‚ow through
the glottis.
case A morphosyntactic category that provides information about the grammatical
role (subject, direct object, etc.) of an element in a sentence. The cases found in
Glossary 283

German are nominative, accusative, dative, and genitive (e.g., ich ˜I™, mich, mir,
circum¬x A discontinuous af¬x that surrounds the base to which it is attached (e.g.,
ge . . . t in gekauft ˜bought™).
circumposition A category of word that functions like a preposition but surrounds
(rather than precedes) its NP complement (e.g., von . . . an in von diesem Tag an
˜from this day on™).
clause An expression that contains (minimally) a subject and a predicate (e.g., Das
Kind schl¨ ft ˜The child is sleeping™; ob das Kind schl¨ ft ˜if the child is sleeping™).
a a
clipping A word-formation process that shortens an existing word by deleting part of
it (e.g., deli from delicatessen; Uni from Universit¨ t ˜university™).
clitic An unstressed word that cannot stand alone but must be attached to a
neighboring stressed word, with which it forms a unit (e.g., s in she™s).
closed syllable A syllable that ends with a consonant (e.g., both syllables in
leng.then; both syllables in s¨ ß.lich ˜sweetish™).
coda The segments that follow the nucleus of a syllable (e.g., [ls] in monosyllabic
Hals [hals] ˜neck™).
code-switching The process whereby a speaker switches from one language variety
to another within a single conversation.
cognates Words in two or more languages that have descended from the same word in
their ancestor language (e.g., German Zunge ˜tongue™ and English tongue).
complement A phrase that combines with a word to create a larger phrase with that
word as its head; the choice of complement is determined by properties of the

head (e.g., in the VP die T¨ r offnen ˜open the door™, the NP die T¨ r ˜the door™ is
the complement of the V offnen ˜open™).
complementary opposites Two words that have the type of oppositeness of meaning
where the negative of one implies the positive of the other (e.g., single and
married; wahr ˜true™ and falsch ˜false™).
complementary distribution When two sounds never occur in the same phonetic
environment (e.g., German [i¦], which only occurs in stressed syllables, and [i],
which occurs in unstressed syllables).
complementizer A functional category that includes words like English that, whether,
and if, and German dass ˜that™, weil ˜because™, and ob ˜if™; a complementizer
takes a sentence (IP) as a complement to form a complementizer phrase (CP).
complex word A word (lexeme) composed of more than one morpheme (e.g.,
unlivable, hopefully; Zerst¨ rung ˜destruction™, Erlaubnis ˜permission™).
compound A lexeme formed by adjoining two or more lexemes (e.g., girlfriend,
football; Nachtmensch ˜night person™, Kaffeem¨ hle ˜coffee grinder™).
conditional sentence A sentence that consists of a main clause and a conditional
clause, one which expresses a condition (e.g., Wir spielen heute draußen, wenn es
nicht regnet ˜We™ll play outside today if it doesn™t rain.™).
consonant A speech sound produced by impeding the ¬‚ow of air in some way (e.g.,
[p], [s], [m]).
consonantal A feature involving the presence or absence of obstruction in the vocal
tract; a sound is [+consonantal] if it is produced with major obstruction in the
vocal tract.
constituent One of the components out of which a phrase is built up (e.g., das and
Buch are the constituents of the NP das Buch ˜the book™).
284 Glossary

contextual in¬‚ection The in¬‚ection required by the syntactic context in which a word
form occurs (e.g., the ¬rst person singular ending on the verb, -e, required by the
presence of the subject ich ˜I™ in Ich komme ˜I™m coming™).
continuant A feature that characterizes sounds made with free or nearly free air¬‚ow
through the center of the oral cavity. Vowels and fricatives are [+continuant];
stops, nasals, and laterals are [’continuant].
converses Two words that are relational opposites; they express a relationship
between two entities by expressing the position (direction, role, etc.) of one with
respect to the other from two alternative points of view (e.g., vor ˜before™ and
nach ˜after™; one can say either A kommt vor B ˜A comes before B™ or B kommt
nach A ˜B comes after A™).
conversion The creation of a new lexeme by changing the part of speech of an
existing lexeme without the use of af¬xation (e.g., the verb dirty from the
adjective dirty; salzen ˜to salt™ from Salz ˜salt™).
copula A “linking verb” whose main function is to link the subject of a sentence with
the predicate (e.g., be, become, remain; sein ˜to be™, werden ˜to become™, bleiben
˜to remain™).
copulative compound A type of compound in which each member of the compound
is equal; one member does not modify another (e.g., Alsace-Lorraine;
schwarzweiß ˜black and white™).
coronal A feature that characterizes sounds produced with the blade of the tongue
raised from its neutral position (e.g., [ʃ] is [+coronal]; [c] is [’coronal]).
creaky voice A state of the vocal cords in which the arytenoids hold one end of the
vocal cords tightly together so that they can vibrate only at the other end.
degree A grammatical category in the in¬‚ection of adjectives; used to express
comparison. The degrees found in German are positive, comparative, and
¨ ¨
superlative (e.g., alt ˜old™, alter ˜older™, altest ˜oldest™).
derivation A word-formation process that creates a new lexeme, typically by adding
an af¬x to a base (e.g., rethink from think; dornig ˜thorny™ from Dorn ˜thorn™).
determiner A functional category that serves as the speci¬er of a noun phrase (e.g.,
the, a, this; der ˜the™, ein ˜a™, dieser ˜this™).
diacritic A small mark added to a phonetic symbol to change its value in some way
(e.g., the wedge, , placed under a symbol to indicate that the sound is voiced,
dialect A variety of a language that is associated with a particular geographical area
or social group.
diglossia A situation in which a community uses two distinct forms of the same
language: a prestige form learned in school and used in one set of contexts, and a
vernacular form acquired as a native language and used in another set of contexts.
This term is also applied to contexts in which two different languages function in
the same way.
diphthong A vowel in which there is a change in quality within a single syllable (e.g.,
the vowels in dry, cow, toy; the vowels in klein ˜small™, laut ˜loud™, and deutsch
diphthongization A process in which a monophthong becomes a diphthong (e.g.,
MHG [u¦] became ENHG [a…8]).
direct object The NP complement of a transitive verb (e.g., den Ball in Er schlug den
Ball hart ˜He hit the ball hard™); the more directly affected NP complement of a
Glossary 285

ditransitive verb (e.g., ein Buch in Sie schenkte ihm ein Buch ˜She gave him a
distinctive feature A feature that is capable of distinguishing one phoneme from
another (e.g., the feature [back], which distinguishes the phoneme /u¦/ from /y¦/ in
ditransitive A verb that takes two NP objects, a direct object and an indirect object, is
ditransitive (e.g., geben ˜to give™: Ich gab meinem Sohn eine Gitarre ˜I gave my
son a guitar™).
dominance A relationship between nodes in a tree diagram. X dominates Y if it is
higher in the tree than Y and connected to Y by a continuous set of lines that
branch downward. X immediately dominates Y if no other nodes intervene.
dual The value for the morphosyntactic category of number that indicates two (e.g.,
the Gothic pronoun wit ˜we two™ is a dual form).
epenthesis A process that inserts a sound in the middle of a word (e.g., the insertion
of [p] in the pronunciation of warmth as warm[p]th).
epistemic modality The type of modality that expresses a speaker™s degree of
con¬dence in the truth of a proposition.
evidentiality A semantic category that involves the expression of different attitudes
towards the source of the information in the proposition.
event time The time at which an event (situation) takes place.
experiencer The thematic role of the entity that feels or perceives something (e.g., the
role of das Kind ˜child™ in Das Kind sieht den Ball ˜The child sees the ball™).
extraposition The movement of an element from its normal position to a position at
the end of a sentence.
feature A characteristic of some aspect of language. Phonetic features characterize
the properties of sounds (e.g., [voice], [aspirated], [sonorant]). Grammatical
features identify grammatically relevant characteristics of words and phrases
(e.g., [feminine], [plural], [past]).
¬nite A ¬nite verb in German is a verb form in¬‚ected for person, number, tense,
and mood (e.g., l¨ uft ˜runs™); a ¬nite clause is a clause that contains such a
foot A stressed syllable and any following unstressed syllables that intervene before
the next stressed syllable (e.g., "sch¨ .ne.re "Haa.re ˜more beautiful hair™ is made
up of two feet, sch¨ nere and Haare).
fossilization When non-native features become permanent in the speech of a language
free variation The substitution of one sound for another without a change in meaning
(e.g., ha[ʁ]t , ha[ɐ8]t ˜hard™).
fricative A type of consonant produced by placing two articulators close together to
create a narrow passage through which air is forced, producing a turbulent air¬‚ow
(e.g., [f], [z], [c]).
front A feature of vowels that involves the position (from front to back in the mouth)
of the highest point of the tongue; [+front] vowels are produced with the highest
point of the tongue at the front of the mouth (e.g., [i¦], [µ], [“]).
functional category A category of word that conveys grammatical information rather
than semantic content (e.g., determiners, conjunctions).
gender A morphosyntactic category that divides nouns into classes; the relevant
genders in German are masculine, feminine, and neuter.
286 Glossary

generative-transformational syntax A version of generative grammar that
recognizes a “transformational component” that mediates between the underlying
structure of sentences and their surface structure.
glottis The space between the vocal cords.
goal The thematic role of the entity towards which a motion takes place (e.g., the role
of Italien ˜Italy™ in Wir sind nach Italien gereist ˜We traveled to Italy™).
gradable antonyms Two words that occur at the opposite ends of a scale that
includes intermediate terms; the negative of one term does not necessarily imply
the positive of the other (e.g., big and little; heiß ˜hot™ and kalt ˜cold™).
grammatical function The function of a noun phrase in a sentence (e.g., subject,
direct object, indirect object).
grammatical word A word de¬ned by its position in a paradigm (e.g., ˜dative plural
of haus™, which is realized by the word form H¨ usern ˜houses™).
head The element around which a phrase is built; the obligatory element in a phrase
(e.g., N in NP, V in VP).
high A feature of both consonants and vowels; [+high] sounds are produced by
raising the body of the tongue above its neutral position.
homorganic Having the same place of articulation.
hyponym A semantically more speci¬c word whose meaning is included in the
meaning of a more general word (e.g., Eiche ˜oak tree™ is a hyponym of Baum
immediate constituent One of the parts into which a linguistic unit is immediately
divisible (e.g., NP, VP, and In¬‚ are the immediate constituents of IP).
imperative The mood used to express commands and requests.
indicative The mood used to express statements of fact and questions.
indirect object The less directly affected NP complement of a ditransitive verb,
typically in the dative case in German (e.g., ihm in Sie schenkte ihm ein Buch ˜She
gave him a book™).
indirect speech Reported speech (in contrast to a direct quote); used to report what
someone said, asked, or commanded (e.g., She said that she was sick, in contrast
to She said, “I™m sick”).
in¬nitive The non-¬nite form of a verb typically used as the citation form. In German,
the in¬nitive is formed with the basic stem and the suf¬x -(e)n (e.g., lieben ˜to
love™, sammeln ˜to collect™).
in¬‚ection The creation of different word forms of a lexeme, typically through the
addition of af¬xes (e.g., the creation of the verb form lacht ˜laughs™ by adding the
suf¬x -t to the stem lach ˜laugh™).
inherent in¬‚ection The in¬‚ection that is required because of the information that a
speaker chooses to convey (e.g., the plural suf¬x -er on Kinder ˜children™; the
superlative suf¬x -st on the adjective kleinst ˜smallest™).
instrument The thematic role of the entity with which an action is performed (e.g.,
the role of einem scharfen Messer ˜a sharp knife™ in Sie beschneidet die Stiele mit
einem scharfen Messer ˜She cuts the stems with a sharp knife™).
intonation The changes in pitch over the course of an utterance.
intonational phrase Each intonation pattern that contains a nucleus.
intransitive verb A verb that does not take a direct object (e.g., fallen ˜to fall™,
schlafen ˜to sleep™).
Glossary 287

isogloss A line drawn on a dialect map to separate the area in which one linguistic
form is used from the area in which a variant form is used.
Item and Arrangement A model of morphology that views words as the
“arrangement” (concatenation) of morphemes, each realized by a particular
Item and Process A model of morphology that views words as the output of dynamic
processes such as af¬xation, vowel change, etc.
jargon A register characterized by obscure vocabulary; used to signal membership in
a closed social group.
larynx The part of the windpipe (trachea) that contains the vocal cords; commonly
called the voice box.
lateral A sound produced by allowing air to escape on either side of the tongue (e.g.,
the l sound in Lippe ˜lip™).
lax vowel In German, a vowel that is produced closer to the mid-central position of
the vowel area than its tense counterpart (e.g., the vowels in ich ˜I™, d¨ nn ˜thin™,
muss ˜must™, denn ˜because™, K¨ ln ˜Cologne™, oft ˜often™).
length The duration of a sound relative to the duration of other sounds (e.g., the a
sound in Staat ˜state™ is [+long]; the a sound in Stadt ˜city™ is [’long]).
lexeme An abstract unit of vocabulary that is realized by one or more word forms
(e.g., Haus, Hause, Hauses, H¨ user, and H¨ usern are all word forms of the
a a
lexeme haus ˜house™).
lexical category A category of word that has semantic content; includes the
categories noun, verb, adjective, preposition, adverb.
lingua franca A language used for communication purposes between groups of
speakers with different native languages.
linking element The -(e)s- that occurs between two elements in a compound in
German (e.g., Wohnungsmangel ˜housing shortage™, Kindesalter ˜childhood™).
liquid A cover term for laterals and various types of r sounds.
loan rendition A word formed by translating only part of the elements of a foreign
word literally into the native language (e.g., Luftbr¨ cke, literally ˜air bridge™,
from airlift).
loan translation A word formed by translating each of the elements of a
foreign word or expression into the native language (e.g., Flutlicht, from
loanword A word borrowed from a foreign language that has been integrated in the
new language (e.g., Streik ˜strike™, from strike).
location The thematic role that speci¬es the place where something is located or takes
place (e.g., the role of dem Haus ˜the house™ in Die Kinder spielten vor dem Haus
˜The children played in front of the house™).
low A feature of both consonants and vowels; [+low] sounds are produced by
lowering the body of the tongue below its neutral position.
manner of articulation The way in which the airstream is impeded (by the lips,
tongue, velum, etc.) in the production of a speech sound.
matrix clause The superordinate clause in which another clause is embedded (e.g.,
Die Frau ist meine Schwester ˜The woman is my sister™ is the matrix clause in the
sentence Die Frau, die dort steht, ist meine Schwester ˜The woman who is
standing there is my sister™).
288 Glossary

matrix verb The main verb of the matrix clause (e.g., glauben ˜to think™ in Ich
glaube, sie hat Recht ˜I think she™s right™).
meronym A word that designates an entity that is a part of another entity (e.g., Zehe
˜toe™ is a meronym of Fuß ˜foot™).
mid A term used in the characterization of tongue height in the classi¬cation of
vowels. A mid vowel is made with the tongue neither raised nor lowered;
in a three-way contrast, mid vowels can be characterized as [’high] and
minimal pair Two words that differ in meaning and that are identical in form except
for one sound that occurs in the same place in each word (e.g., leiden ˜to suffer™
and neiden ˜to envy™).
Mittelfeld The portion of a German sentence that occurs between the ¬nite and
non-¬nite verb forms in a main clause.
modal verb An auxiliary verb that expresses modality (e.g., k¨ nnen ˜can™, m¨ ssen
o u
˜must™, sollen ˜should™).
modality A semantic category that involves the expression of different attitudes
towards or degrees of commitment to a proposition.
monophthong A vowel (a pure vowel) in which there is no change in quality within a
single syllable (e.g., the vowels in bit, bet, and bat; those in Kind ˜child™, Mann
˜man™, and gut ˜good™).
monophthongization A process by which a diphthong becomes a monophthong
(e.g., MHG guot ˜good™ became ENHG gut).
mood Modality distinctions that are marked by verbal in¬‚ection. The three moods
that are relevant in German are indicative, subjunctive, and imperative.
morph The realization of a morpheme; the constituent elements of a word form (e.g.,
the word form Wohnung ˜dwelling™ is made up of two morphs, /vo¦n/ and /…N/).
morpheme The smallest unit of language that bears meaning; realized by morphs
(e.g., the morpheme {wohn} ˜dwell™ is realized by the morph /vo¦n/).
morphology The study of the structure of words.
morphosyntactic category A category that is referred to by rules in both morphology
and syntax; a category that plays a role in the paradigm of a lexeme (e.g., case,
number, person, tense).
Nachfeld The portion of a German sentence that follows the non-¬nite verb forms in
a main clause.
nasal A feature used to describe sounds produced by lowering the velum (e.g., [m] is
[+nasal]; [f] is [’nasal]).
nasal sound A speech sound produced by lowering the velum so that the airstream is
allowed to pass through the nasal passages.
natural class A class of sounds that have a feature (or features) in common (e.g.,
front rounded vowels, voiceless fricatives).
node Any point connected by a line in a tree diagram.
noun A category of word that is used to name entities (e.g., Erde ˜earth™, Stolz ˜pride™,
Kind ˜child™).
nucleus (intonation) The most prominent stressed syllable in a stretch of speech;
associated with a change in pitch (e.g., the syllable ein- in Das musst du doch
einsehen! ˜But you have to recognize that!™).
nucleus (syllable) The core of a syllable, usually a vowel (e.g., the monophthong in
dass ˜that™, the diphthong in mein ˜my™).
Glossary 289

number A morphosyntactic category that expresses contrasts that involve countable
quantities. The number contrasts in German are singular and plural.
obstruent The class of consonants that includes stops, fricatives, and affricates.
onset The segment or segments in a syllable that precede the nucleus (e.g., the ¬rst
two segments, [ʃm], in monosyllabic schmal ˜narrow™).
open syllable A syllable that ends in a vowel (e.g., both syllables in be.tray; both
syllables in Ki.no ˜cinema™).
oral sound A speech sound produced by raising the velum against the back of the
throat so that the airstream passes only through the mouth.
palate The hard palate is the front part of the roof of the mouth; the soft palate
(velum) is the soft area at the back of the roof of the mouth.
participle The non-¬nite forms of a verb other than the in¬nitive. German has two
participles, the present participle (e.g., tanzend ˜dancing™) and the past participle
(e.g., getanzt ˜danced™).
patient The thematic role of the entity that undergoes an action and often undergoes a
change of state (e.g., the role of seinen Sohn ˜his son™ in Der Vater umarmte
seinen Sohn ˜The father hugged his son™).
penultimate syllable The second-to-last syllable (e.g., tro in Zi.tro.ne ˜lemon™).
percept The thematic role of the entity that is felt or perceived (e.g., the role of den
Ball in Das Kind sieht den Ball ˜The child sees the ball™).
periphrasis The use of a multi-word expression in place of a single word (e.g., the
use of w¨ rde kommen instead of k¨ me to express ˜would come™).
u a
person A morphosyntactic category that identi¬es the participants in a situation. A
typical distinction is among ¬rst person (the speaker or a group including the
speaker), second person (the person or persons addressed), and third person
(anyone else).
phone A speech sound.
phoneme The minimal unit in the sound system of a language, capable of making
contrasts in meaning; an abstract unit with phonetic variants (e.g., /l/, /r/, /z/,
which contrast in the words Lippe ˜lip™, Rippe ˜rib™, Sippe ˜clan™).
phonemic transcription A representation of speech sounds using only phonemes as
symbols (e.g., /z©x™r/, representing the pronunciation of sicher ˜safe™).
phonetic transcription A representation of speech sounds that provides phonetic
detail as well as phonemic distinctions (e.g., [z©cɐ], representing the
pronunciation of sicher ˜safe™).
phonetics The study of the sounds of human speech; three branches of this ¬eld of
study are articulatory phonetics, acoustic phonetics, and auditory phonetics.
phonology The study of the sound systems of languages.
phonotactics The permissible sequences of segments (sounds, phonemes) in a given
phrase An expression larger than a word that acts as a syntactic unit, with at least two
levels of representation, the word level and the phrase level (e.g., der Apfel ˜the
apple™, nach Hause gehen ˜go home™).
phrase structure rule A rule that indicates how a phrase is formed out of its
constituent parts (e.g., PP ’ P NP).
pidgin A highly simpli¬ed language that develops as a mixture of two of more
languages in a language contact situation where speakers do not know each
other™s languages.
290 Glossary

pitch The auditory property of a sound that allows listeners to place it on a scale
ranging from low to high.
place of articulation The place in the vocal tract where the airstream is impeded in
the production of a consonant.
plural The value for the grammatical category of number that indicates more than one
portmanteau morph A morph that realizes more than one morpheme (e.g., /t / in
liebt ˜loves™, which realizes the morphemes {third person}, {singular}, {present},
postposition A category of word that functions like a preposition but follows (rather
than precedes) its NP complement (e.g., entlang ˜along™, as in die Straße entlang
˜along the street™).


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