What The Hell Is Homeoffice Or A Few Examples of Denglish

What The Hell Is Homeoffice Or A Few Examples of Denglish

The spread of COVID-19 urged a lot of us to work from home and this new experience seems to establish itself as a normal, permanent one in the post-corona era. In Germany, it became one of the highliest discussed topics in the media which inspired me to dedicate my next German vocabulary section to Denglish, a linguistic phenomenon in the German-speaking countries representing a mixture of words borrowed from English as well as so-called pseudo-anglicisms (Scheinanglizismen), words that sound like English but aren´t originally English at all. And this is the word which steals the show:

das Homeoffice, Home-Office

It means nothing but “work from home” and is, to be honest, in a grey area between a more-or-less-acceptable English word and a pseudo-anglicism. The British political system is the main reason for that ambiguity: Home Office means the Ministry of the Interior of the United Kingdom which makes other interpretations to an absolute taboo in British English. In German, by contrast, Homeoffice is not only a well-established word, but it´s also gradually exorcising the expression Arbeit von Zuhause, which literally means “work from home”, out of the everyday communication. The most widely spread phrases are Homeoffice machen or Im Homeffice sein.

Let´s continue with the most popular Denglish word, which is, of course

das Handy

Even it´s not hard to guess the “hand” as the origin, it´s not that obvious that Handy stays for mobile phone or smartphone. However, it´s mostly spoken informally or as a slang, hence the German analogue, das Mobiltelefon, is also very common in more official communication like in the press or public services.

If you came to Germany as a student, you have almost no chance to avoid the following Denglish expression:

der Beamer

It comes from English “to beam”, apparently, and means a projector. Basically, a thing which beams. As I already insinuated, Beamer is a common term in the academic milieu, which testifies its importance due to the fact that even the university professors use it instead of the German analogue Projektor.

Last but not least for today is

das No-Go

Well, same as Homeoffice, it´s not to 100% Denglish or isn´t a proper Denglish altogether. For example, No-Go-Area is both German and English and means a prohibited, restricted area or a dangerous part of the city. Anyway, I would like to point out a German expression which is, in my opinion, too often used or even misused in the daily conversation: Ein absolutes No-Go. It means a type of social behaviour which is so inconvenient that it´s almost unpardoned once committed. Moreover, it may imply some grave consequences happening afterwards. An inappropriate outfit for a job interview or an incident in connection with alcohol at the Christmas party with the board of directors belongs to the standard situations described as Ein absolutes No-Go. So you are very likely to encounter this construction in various career guides, self-help business books etc.

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