Number one for English language teachers

Your English: Words from other languages: German

Type: Article

Tim Bowen helps you avoid any angst and indulge in some linguistic wanderlust with these words from the German language.

german flag

The concept of schadenfreude (enjoyment in the misfortune of others) is, of course, not unknown in English but there is no English word for it, although ‘gloating’ comes close. Similarly, an unspecified feeling of worry is commonly referred to in English as angst, the German word for ‘fear’ or ‘anxiety’. Many thousands of English words are related to German, for example, stone/Stein, hound/Hund and snow/Schnee. There are, however, some German words that are used in English because there is no actual English equivalent. There are numerous words associated with food and drink. Perhaps the most notable is delicatessen, although the letter ‘c’ has replaced the ‘k’ in the original German. It is unlikely that one would purchase a hamburger (nothing to do with ‘ham’ but ‘from Hamburg’) in such an establishment, but one might acquire some sauerkraut (pickled cabbage) or perhaps some stollen (a fruit cake commonly eaten at Christmas), accompanied by a glass of spritzer (white wine mixed with soda water). 

There is the increasing use of the prefix über- (German for ‘over’) to mean ‘an extreme example of a person or thing’ or ‘to a great or extreme degree’ as in über-model, über-fan, über-famous and über-cool

Outdoor types with a keen wanderlust (desire to travel) probably carry a rucksack (backpack) and, if they venture up mountains, may need to abseil down (use ropes to descend more rapidly). Children often attend kindergarten before they begin primary school and politicians sometimes refer to realpolitik (politics based on practical ideas rather than moral ones). 


Teaching tip
: ask learners to use a search engine to find further examples of German words used in English. Have them present their findings to the class. Ask them which word is the most interesting and why.


 
  

Rate this resource (4.67 average user rating)

  • 1 star out of 5
  • 2 stars out of 5
  • 3 stars out of 5
  • 4 stars out of 5
  • 5 stars out of 5

You must be signed in to rate.

  • Share

Readers' comments (2)

  • Hi Kacenka,

    Hello from London! Many thanks for the lovely feedback. We shall pass it on to Tim. Glad your students loved the article. Have you had the chance to use any of the other articles in the series with them yet?

    Best wishes,
    The onestopenglish team

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • My students loved it (I'm based in Berlin). Together, we brainstormed some additional words: "autobahn", "lederhosen", "strudel", "schnitzel", and "gemütlichkeit". Hello from Germany! Katerina

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

sign in register

Powered by Webstructure.NET

Access denied popup