How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.
Date: Fri, 1 Oct 2004 05:22:55 +0200 From: Alexander Onysko Subject: Globalization and the Future of German
EDITORS: Gardt, Andreas; Hüppauf, Bernd TITLE: Globalization and the Future of German PUBLISHER: Mouton de Gruyter YEAR: 2004
Alexander Onysko, German Department, Macalester College.
INTRODUCTION 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 sociolinguistics, 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 language policies 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 the fact 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 order that 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 2002).
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, and Rau's 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 inhabit [...]" (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'; Der 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.
GENERAL EVALUATION 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 German is 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.
REFERENCES 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 Press.
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:
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.