For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

Two of our regular Kats are currently on blogging sabbaticals. They are David Brophy and Catherine Lee.

Wednesday, 3 September 2003

DENGLISH ASSAULT THE GERMAN LANGUAGE

Linguistics experts in Germany fear the country is being taken over by a hybrid language full of English words. Experts from the Association of the German Language and the Goethe Institute warn the German language could even die out. They said that German words were continually being replaced by Anglicisms and that, in most parts of the country, pure German was no longer spoken. It is alleged that Denglish, a mix of German and English, was now the language most commonly being used.

Erika Steinbach, from the Goethe Institute, said: "Consumer protection has to be extended in order to tackle this problem. Every product, from train tickets to fabric softener, has to have its name and instructions in readable German". Authorities have now been banned from using Denglish in official business and Jutta Limbach, former President of the Federal Constitutional Court, has even founded her own German Language Council.

The IPKat notes the problems caused to the Community and national European trade mark registrations by linguistic seepage. The more languages (or parts of languages) that seep into a country, the greater will be the incidence of words found to be barred from registrability in that country on the basis that they are inherently descriptive or otherwise non-distinctive. In contrast, countries like the UK and Spain, where foreign languages are poorly spoken, have the facility for allowing the registration of words which are quite generic in other European languages (for example MATRATZEN, the German word for ‘mattress’, was validly registered in Spain for mattresses. This may affect cross-border trade in mattresses bearing the word ‘matratzen’).

Denglish phrases here
Dead European languages here, here and here
Languages clinging to life here and here
Learn to speak Esperanto here


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