LINGUIST List 15.2771
Mon Oct 04 2004
Review: Socioling/Applied Ling: Gardt & Hüppauf (2004)
Editor for this issue: Naomi Ogasawara <naomilinguistlist.org>
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Globalization and the Future of German
Message 1: Globalization and the Future of German
From: Alexander Onysko <csab4165uibk.ac.at>
Subject: Globalization and the Future of German
EDITORS: Gardt, Andreas; Hüppauf, Bernd
TITLE: Globalization and the Future of German
PUBLISHER: Mouton de Gruyter
Announced at http://test.linguistlist.org/issues/15/15-2096.html
Alexander Onysko, German Department, Macalester College.
This volume contains six solicited essays and a selection of papers
presented at a conference on the future of European languages at New York
University in 2002. The contributions focus on various aspects of
globalization and their implications for the future of German. Due to its
general scope, the book attracts a diverse readership from the fields of
German studies, teaching German as a foreign language, and cultural studies.
Selected articles could supplement teaching in the field of German studies
or serve as readings in introductory classes in sociolinguistics or
language contact. The 22 articles of the volume are divided into 7 chapters
which will be
summarized in the following:
SUMMARY and COMMENTS
1. Introduction: Globalization -- Threats and Opportunities (Bernd Hüppauf)
In his introductory article, Hüppauf discusses the two faces of
globalization which are, on the one hand, the fear of a cultural and
linguistic monoculture and, on the other hand, the opportunity to create a
peaceful and unified
world where individual languages can thrive alongside English as a global
means of communication. Globalization is often perceived as a threat when
it comes to the commercial interests of large corporations. Their policies
invoke the interpretation of globalization as an "imperialist struggle for
domination" (p. 7). Propelled by capitalistic philosophies, the growing
spread of English is then frequently objected to as a "colonizing act of the
Americanization of the world" (p. 8). While Hüppauf acknowledges the
relevance of such subjective feelings of loss of identity and
homogenization, he concludes his article with a positive outlook on how
societies should cope with the emerging multilingualism in a globalized world.
2. Globalization and Language
This chapter sets out with an essay on "The Past Present and Future of
World English" by David Crystal. He provides a well-crafted and insightful
overview of the global spread of English that is reminiscent of his book
"English as a Global Language". Crystal's essay explores the argument that
"a language becomes a world language for one reason only -- the power of
the people who speak it" (p. 30). Accordingly, the estimate that more than
1,400 million people speak English today (400 million as a first language,
400 as a
second language and 600 million as a foreign language) is tied to the
historical development that turned Great Britain and the USA into the
world's political, technological, economic, and cultural powerhouses.
Despite the increasing knowledge of English all over the world, Crystal
takes a conservative stance as far as the linguistic impact of English on
other languages is concerned: "When a language adopts words -- and also
sounds and grammatical constructions -- it adapts them. [...] This will
happen to the loan-words currently entering German and other languages too"
(p. 42). While,
historically, the adaptation of English borrowings has been a common
reaction of German (e.g. English "cake" turned into German "Keks"), there
is some evidence in the German newsmagazine "Der Spiegel" that orthographic
adaptation of English loans is no longer happening or even reversed as in
"Club" and "Handicap" whose assimilated variants ("Klub, Handikap")
gradually vanished during the 90s and finally ceased to exist by the year
1999. At least for the German language it seems, thus, necessary to take a
critical view on the sweeping statement that adoption leads to adaptation
on all linguistic levels. Instead, we can assume that the pressure to
phonologically and orthographically adapt English borrowings is receding
due to the growing knowledge of English in the German speaking world.
Robert Phillipson's contribution "English as Threat or Resource in
Continental Europe" calls for the implementation of language policies that
strengthen linguistic diversity and abandon fundamental paradoxes of
in the European Union. In contrast to popular conception that linguistic
diversity comes at a high price in the European Union, Phillipson cites that
"only 0.8% of the total budget for all EU institutions, meaning 2 euros per
year for each European citizen" is actually spent on translation and
interpretation services (p. 54). It would be interesting to see whether
this value has substantially increased after the expansion of the European
Union to 25 member states in May 2004. The major paradox, however, lies in
that while, theoretically, all languages of the European Union share
the same status as official and working languages, the actual "working
languages" are often restricted to English and French rendering "some
languages more equal than others" (p. 56).
In his article "Global English -- a New Lingua Franca or a New Imperial
Culture" Hans Joachim Meyer expresses his concern that German is endangered
by the English language. For him this would be a "self-inflicted tragedy"
rooted in the widespread contempt of German speakers for their mother
tongue (p. 82). Meyer's impressionistic argumentation succeeds in raising
awareness towards the cultural value of German. Rudolf Hoberg's article,
"English Rules the
World. What will Become of German?", supplies Meyer's arguments with
statistical data. Despite the fact that German is twelfth in the world and
first in the European Union as far as the number of speakers is concerned,
German publications in the fields of natural sciences and the humanities
have declined during the last decades (from 3.5% in 1980 to 1.2% in 1996
in natural sciences and 8% in 1974 to 4.1% in 1995 in the humanities; cp.
Figure 1 and 2 p. 91).
Chapter 2 finishes with an overview of "National Language Policies as a
Response to the Pressures of Globalization". Before her discussion of
various national language policies in western and eastern European
countries, Petra Braselmann claims that "where English is responsible for
languages dying as in the United States or Australia, not the globalizing
function of the language but the pressures of assimilation in everyday life
are the cause" (p. 102). Language policies such as the notorious "Loi
Toubon", however, try to battle the globalizing aspect of English which, in
my mind, evokes the image of Don Quixote chasing the windmills.
3. The Impact of English on the Vocabulary and Grammatical Structure of German
This section consists of two articles. In "German as an Endangered
Language?", Peter Eisenberg fulfils the expectations created in the heading
of the CHAPTER (emphasis added). His article provides an insightful account
of how borrowings (or "alien anglicisms" as he calls them) are morphologically
integrated into German. Unsurprisingly, this is one of the standard
linguistic questions in research on anglicisms in German that has been
dealt with in numerous studies (cp. Allenbacher 1999, Busse 1993,
Carstensen 1965, Glahn 2002,Görlach 2002, and Yang 1990, to name but a
few). Despite the plethora of research, Eisenberg's analysis is innovative
in that he postulates several morpho-phonological reasons why verbal,
nominal and adjectival anglicisms are either prone to integration or resist
it. Adjectival anglicisms, for example, are described as inflected or
non-inflected depending on the phonological quality of their word-final
syllables. For Eisenberg,
adjectival anglicisms such as 'trendy' and 'sexy' are not inflected due to
the fact that, "simple stems with a second unstressed open full syllable in
German generally avoid a naked reduced syllable following them" (p. 130).
While this postulate is essentially confirmed in a corpus of anglicisms in
"Der Spiegel" of the year 2000, German also shows derivational productivity
that bypasses the lack of the inflection of 'trendy'. Thus, the suffixation
of the nominal base anglicism 'trend' with the German adjectival suffix
'-ig' creates the derived adjective 'trendig' which, as an attribute,
follows the inflectional paradigm of its noun, e.g.: "eine trendige Farbe"
[a trendy color] (Der Spiegel 2000: 45/281). The comparative form 'sexier'
of the anglicism 'sexy' is interesting as it actually ends in a reduced
'schwa' sound (e.g. "...desto sexier bist du" [gloss: the sexier you are],
Der Spiegel 2000: 19/275). This form is
probably a direct importation of the English comparative construction which,
however, coincides with the regular comparative suffix '-er' in German.
In contrast to Eisenberg's contribution, Hermann H. Dieter's article
("Does 'Denglish' Dedifferentiate Our Perceptions of Nature? The View of a
Nature Lover and Language 'Fighter'") will surprise the reader at this
stage. Dieter's essay is not concerned with the analysis of structural and
lexical impacts of English on German, but is instead a tour de force
against the degeneration of the German language as perceived by the author.
He emphasizes the interrelation between linguistic diversity and
biodiversity: "Linguistic dedifferentiation under the pressure of the one
more favoured language [...] leads to a dedifferentiation of our perception
of 'nature' and our
possibilities to sustainably protect and cultivate it!" (p. 147). His
example for the increasing lack of differentiation in German is "Bad Simple
English, or Denglish" which surfaces in various catch phrases in
advertisements (e.g. "Busy for Nature"; "Greening our children's future",
p. 148-49). "Think global, speak local" is Dieter's imperative for the
creation of a linguistically and culturally sustainable future (p. 152).
4. Internationalizing Science and Technology
The two essays in this chapter focus on the plight of German as an
international language of the sciences. Konrad Ehlich ("German and Other
Non-English Languages of Academic Communication") stresses the fact that
the future of scientific multilingualism will be decided in Europe. In
scientific multilingualism can survive, it is necessary to create
"educational-political concepts for the future of scientific communication"
(p. 183). Ulrich Ammon ("German as an International Language of the
Sciences") presents interesting data that show how the significance of
German as a scientific language has increased at the end of the 19th and
the beginning of the 20th century. Since 1920, however, German has
experienced a rapid decrease so that in 1996 merely 1.2% of natural science
publications were in German. English, on the other hand, has risen to be
the dominating language of
science used in 90.7% of natural science publications in 1996 (p. 162-63).
Today, German scientists find themselves in a catch-22 situation: when
publishing in German, they are criticized for being provincial; when
publishing in English, they can be held responsible for betraying their own
language (p. 168).
5. Language and Identity
The chapter on Language and Identity starts out with a personal account of
the President of the German Bundestag (Wolfgang Thierse), who takes a
similar stance as other authors in the volume that call for a cultivation
of the German language. However, he speaks out against any legal
restrictions for the use of anglicisms and agrees with the frequently
mentioned truism that "sensibly and sensitively deployed [...] Anglicisms
and Americanisms complement our language, extend our thinking and enrich
our culture as a whole (p. 189)".
In "Language and National Identity" Andreas Gardt emphasizes that the
concept of 'nation' is constructed from a political, ethnic, cultural, and
volitional point of view. Above all, language incorporates these components
and functions as the mortar of the construct of national identity. As an
example, Gardt relates to the reunification of Germany and states that "the
debate on the
use of Anglicisms in German is due to a reconsideration of the role the
German language plays for the national identity of the Germans" (p. 204).
This valuable observation, however, calls for further research as it is not
self-evident whether Germany's reunification indeed has a substantial
impact on the current discussion of Anglicisms in German. In Austria, for
example, popular and scientific opinions about the use of anglicisms in
German show a similar range than Germany's discourse (cf. Kettemann & Muhr
The remaining two contributions in chapter 5 exemplify how language is used
as a tool to shape national identity. Joshua A. Fishman provides an
interesting historical account about Yiddish and its relation to German.
Basically, tendencies of 'Ausbau' (differentiating Yiddish from German) and
'Einbau' (assimilating Yiddish to German) have symbolized the degree of
differentiation or identification of Yiddish speakers with German speaking
communities. David L. Valuska and William W. Donner discuss the example of
Pennsylvania German that has led to the creation of an "American
Pennsylvania German identity" (p. 238). For them, the future of
Pennsylvania German is not necessarily one of language loss. The teaching
of Pennsylvania German, presence in the Internet, and folk-traditional
meetings play a decisive role for the survival of the language.
6. German in the USA
With the exception of Peter Wagener's study, which gives a methodologically
engaging account of real-time language change in two immigrant speakers of
German in Wisconsin, the contributions of this chapter focus on issues of
teaching German as a foreign language in the US. Keilholz-Rühle, Nobbe and
Rau sketch the international role of the German Goethe-Institut which is
the main supporting institution for about 18 million learners of German
worldwide (two-thirds of which reside in Central and Eastern European
countries, p. 247). As far as the US is concerned, the authors stress the
importance of an increased cooperation between the Goethe-Institut, the
German consulate, exchange-program organizations, and particularly
with the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG). Lack of
cooperation with the latter is the major point of criticism in John
Lallande's article that discusses important measures of the AATG to
counteract the dropping of enrollment numbers in German programs at US
colleges and universities. Robert C. Reimer (p 268) and Helene Zimmer-Loew
(p. 282) mention that since 1970 enrollment numbers have decreased from
203,000 students to 89,000 in 1998. In connection with the declining
numbers of learners of German in the US, the conclusion of Rühle, Nobbe,
article adroitly expresses the unisonous voice of the contributions in this
chapter: "'in this place, it takes all the running you can do to keep in
the same place'" (p. 252).
7. Language and the Creative Mind
In the final chapter of the volume the articles by Prisca Augustyn and
Yasemin Yildiz add new perspectives to the understanding of German in the
context of globalization. Augustyn discusses the semiotic implications of
anglicisms in German. For her anglicisms in German can be interpreted "as
signs of a desire for a community outside the traditional infrastructure we
[...]" (p. 311). She concludes that instead of analyzing the linguistic
implications of anglicisms in German, the primary concern should be the
cultural alienation of the young generation and the concomitant social
polarization of German society. It is, however, important to mention that
the semiotic implications of anglicisms signalling speaker-distance to
locality vary with the function of anglicisms in German. In the fields of
advertisement, fashion, trends, and life style (the last three are also
anglicisms in German) anglicisms signal aesthetic values. However,
anglicisms in German can also occur as technical jargon in the fields of
computer, communication and business
terminology (e.g. "SMS", "Leveraged Buyout", "Proxy Server", "Motherboard",
"Equity"; Der Spiegel 2000). In the latter function, semiotic implications
appear secondary to the referential qualities of these anglicisms.
Yildiz draws attention to the fact that the issue of language and
globalization is not merely a matter of the spread of English, but it can
also be related to the phenomenon of transnational migration. Thus, the
influx of Turkish "Gastarbeiter" into Germany has lead to new forms of
German as in the example of "Kanak Sprak". This language is a hotchpotch of
vocabulary items of different varieties, registers and turns of speech
"which in this form
do not occur in either of the two languages" (p. 327). As such, Yildiz
regards "Kanak Sprak" as an example of language creativity "simultaneously
within and beyond the scale of national languages" (ibid.). With regard to
English influence on German, lexical creativity is evident in the examples
of hybrid compounds of English and German elements (e.g. "Abendtalk" =
'evening talk show', "Abschiedsparty" = 'goodbye party') and so called
pseudo anglicisms (e.g. "Talk-Lady" meaning 'female talk show host',
"Coverboy" coined in analogy to E. 'cover girl'; er Spiegel 2000).
The volume concludes with a positive outlook on how German could become
more popular at American Universities and Colleges again. John M. Grandin
reports that the University of Rhode Island has successfully revived its
German program by educating engineers in German and by giving them an
opportunity to work as interns in German companies.
This volume provides a multi-faceted view on how globalization, mainly
regarded as the spread of the American culture and the English language,
influences the international position of German. The majority of the
contributions argue from a socio-cultural and historical perspective. The
discussions revolve around questions of identity, language policy,
educational issues, and the role of German as a language of science and
technology. Apart from that, the structural integration of anglicisms in
German, their semiotic implications and the creative linguistic reaction of
touched upon in a few articles. The volume is generally well-edited and the
occasional spelling error (not to be mentioned in detail here) does not
really interfere with the conveyance of the message. In figure 1 on page 91
(Proportion of the languages in natural science publications), however, the
symbols of French and German for the year 1992 are mixed up, which can
cause some minor confusion. On page 130, reference is made to the
adjectives of group "4g" which should actually be "1g".
As far as the future of German is concerned, the bottom line of the various
contributions is that German is in dire need of positive attitude among its
mother tongue speakers. While legal restrictions concerning the use of
anglicisms in German are generally not favoured, initiatives and
investments seem necessary to increase the status of German as a foreign
language and to provide incentives for the use of German as a scientific
language. Thus, various contributors to this volume concede, that it is vital
to raise awareness about the current plight of German as an international
language and to implement positivistic measures that foster the
international position of German. In light of these demands, the volume is
successful both in raising awareness about the current critical situation
of German and in postulating some strategies of how the national and
international prestige of German could be revived.
Allenbacher, Peter Kurt. 1999. "Anglizismen in der Fachlexik".Frankfurt am
Main: Neue Wissenschaft.
Busse, Ulrich. 1993. "Anglizismen im Duden". Tübingen: Niemeyer.
Carstensen, Broder. 1965. "Englische Einflüsse auf die deutsche Sprache
nach 1945". Heidelberg: Winter.
Crystal, David. 1997. "English as a global language". Cambridge: University
Glahn, Richard. 2002. "Der Einfluss des Englischen auf gesprochene deutsche
Gegenwartssprache". Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.
Görlach, Manfred. 2002. "English in Europe". Oxford/New York: Oxford UP.
Kettemann, Bernhard, Rudolf Muhr (eds.). 2002. "Eurospeak: Der Einfluss des
Englischen auf europäische Sprachen zur Jahrtausendwende". Frankfurt am
Main: Peter Lang.
Yang, Wenliang. 1990. "Anglizismen im Deutschen: am Beispiel des
Nachrichtenmagazines Der Spiegel". Tübingen: Niemeyer.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Alexander Onysko is a PhD candidate at Innsbruck University/Austria. His
research interest is language contact and multilingualism. The topic of his
dissertation is: "Anglicisms in German: borrowing, lexical productivity and
code-switching in a written corpus of 'Der Spiegel'". He currently teaches
German at Macalester College, St. Paul, MN.
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