The usage and integration of English loanwords in German

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University of Alabama Libraries

The purpose of the present study was to determine the usage and integration of English loanwords in Der Spiegel magazine from the year 1990 until 2010. This thesis builds upon a study published in 1990 by Wenliang Yang on the same magazine. Based on Yang's observations, I reexamined the quantitative as well as the qualitative development of lexical borrowings found in nine issues of Der Spiegel from the years 1990, 2000, and 2010, respectively. The elicited data was first classified by year of occurrence, word class affiliation, and thematic category, and then compared with Yang's results. Furthermore, I analyzed the degree of assimilation of the English loanwords into the German orthographic and grammatical system by comparing the findings from the magazine with their respective entries in the latest edition of various German dictionaries. This approach goes beyond Yang's study, in which the integration of English loanwords in German with respect to grammatical and orthographical features is only treated marginally. The study corroborated trends about which Yang could only make vague assumptions. The numerical usage of English loanwords in Der Spiegel increased considerably over the time of the investigation period. This intensification in the use of such borrowings could be seen in every thematic category of the newsmagazine. In addition to this, semantic shifts occurred with some of the English words that set them further apart from their original meaning in English. Another finding of this study is the ongoing integration of English word material into the grammatical system of the German language. Interestingly, the grammatical integration seems not to parallel integration of English words into the spelling system of German.

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Language, Linguistics, Modern language