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back to article Germans brew up a right Sh*tstorm

Proof of the pervasive nature of the English language comes with the news that "shitstorm" has been named Germany's "Anglicism of the Year". Our German cousins have embraced Shitstorm (capital "S", naturally, as is the local custom for nouns) as a way of describing "a public outcry, primarily on the internet". The term rose to …

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Ausgezeignet!

Das ist alles.

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Re: Ausgezeignet!

Ausgeseignet?

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Re: Ausgezeignet!

Oughtn't it to be 'ausgezeichnet'?... or is that a word with a sneaky second spelling?

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Re: Ausgezeignet!

Gesundheit!

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Re: Ausgezeignet!

It is ausgezeichnet with a ch sound. And although I have to applaud David Mitchell's German, he does have problems with the ch.

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The French have pretty much accepted le weekend, which is far better than la fin de la semaine. Not sure how those ended up being opposite genders though...

However if you go to Calais, they also have the frankly horrible le ferry-boat. Which would be fair enough on a children's program, but really sounds crap said in a sing-song french voice.

But there's nout like french for making ordinary things sound all posh like. A baker called Pain Quotidien just sounds so philosophical and everything. You just need the packet of Gallouises and to stare out of the window panes of a woman's bedroom into the pouring rain, to appreciate it...

I don't know why everyone gets so stressed about it. The dominant global language is absolutely full of foreign words, and it doesn't worry us. As a French friend used to tell me, english is just a local french patois... We speak a mongrel tongue of pidgin-french, cod-latin and dodgy german. Surely the way to protect your language is to get the english-speakers to adopt your word for something before it gets big - a sort of pre-emptive strike.

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I'm sure there's a lot more ingredients in the melting pot than that, courtesy of our now-faded colonial and imperial past. Definitely inputs from the Indian sub-continent and all the countries thereabouts.

Still it could be worse, it could be Esperanto.

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Headmaster

Am I really the first with the James Nicoll quote?

The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.

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Happy

"the frankly horrible le ferry-boat"

Horrible, indeed. They should use the correct French noun, which is, if I remember correctly, "le paquebot" - no English elements in that, are there?

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Re: "the frankly horrible le ferry-boat"

well actually Paquebot is their rendering of our "Packet Boat" :)

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Happy

Ah, Mr Nicoll. An old correspondent...

and perhaps the only man in history ever to have been bitten by a butterfly!

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Yag
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Headmaster

Re: "the frankly horrible le ferry-boat"

the word "ferry" in french is only used for a subcase of passenger boats : short-ranged / short duration (few hours) passenger and car services (the horrible term "car-ferry" is often used in later case).

The larger cruise ships and long distance passenger services are classified as "paquebots".

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eeeeeeeee

The French are the ones responsible for the horrible 'ordinateur', which then found its way to the equally English-hating Spaniards who turned it into 'ordenador'. That's why Latin Americans talk about computers, but Spaniards talk about Sorting Machines...

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Re: eeeeeeeee

A Spaniard here.

If the French and the Spanish 'talk about Sorting Machines', then you're talking about 'persons trained to do calculations by hand, sometimes collaboratively'. My Webster says that the word 'computer' originated in 1646.

You know, sometimes words change their meanings over time. Another example of this would be the word 'application'.

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Didn't English evolve from a Germanic language anyway? So this is just it coming full circle :-)

I worked for a while with someone who spoke fluent Urdu and it they would be talking to a friend on the phone and every so often an 'English' word or phrase would be used like VISA card or taxi or 'dirty weekend' which had me cracking up. Languages are evolving, especially in a multicultural environment. Hawaiian has many borrowed words (a practice some people dislike, Japan was recently in the news re this) where they are roughly phonetically translated. As with anything there are people who frown on the practice, most kupuna dole out a slap to the head for using borrowed words, but in an illiterative language they are often quicker to use.

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Anonymous Coward

It's nothing new, hence the Fast Show's Chris Waddle sketch.

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Boffin

Re: "the frankly horrible le ferry-boat"

I believe Gainsbourg uses the word 'ferry-boat' in '69 Annee Erotique', and if Gainsbourg uses a word, then it is acceptable French.

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Happy

Re: Ah, Mr Nicoll. An old correspondent...

Well, he is ever so slightly accident-prone. But he could have easily retaliated against the butterfly - what else did he invent the Nicoll-Dyson Laser for?

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Angel

Ancestry of English

Didn't English evolve from a Germanic language anyway? So this is just it coming full circle :-)

In general, no. English is actually a relatively recent new language (compared to Greek, German or French).

It was formed by the amalgamation of the Germanic language spoken by the English Saxons, with the Norman-French spoken by the 1066 invaders. As the communities merged, a creole (technical linguistic term) developed. To see what was happening, get a copy of Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales" that has the original on one side of the fold and a modern English translation on the other. Chaucer was near the start of the process. The Saxon proto-English used by the peasants, and the French proto-English used by the nobles, are still quite different, but coming together (his pilgrims understood each other without translators). It's a good read, by the way. Then watch a play by Shakespeare (who perfected the unified English Language, or maybe even invented it). You shouldn't need any translation.

The process slowed down after Shakespeare, but hasn't stopped. In particular, the grammars of Norman French and Saxon were incompatible, and English has been and is progressively jettisoning its grammar. It is quite possible English will evolve into a pure placement-positional language over the next few centuries (more like Chinese in structure, than anything else of Indo-European origins). The collision between two languages may also be the reason why English has voraciously assimilated words it needed to plug gaps real or imagined in its own vocabulary, from any source, or by neologistic invention. (Is neologistic a word? Do I care? )

Back to "shitstorm", it's no surprise at all that both parts of the word are of Germanic origin. English has preserved a distinction between "polite" words of French (noble) origins, and "rude" ones of Saxon (peasant) origins, which are synonyms or almost so. (e.g. "tempest" vs "storm", "execrement" vs "shit"). Many languages (including, I'm told, Gaelic and Arabic) don't have any rude words, and one has to employ florid combinations if one wishes to offend. "May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits" and suchlike.

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> they would be talking to a friend on the phone and every so often an 'English' word or phrase would be used like VISA card or taxi or 'dirty weekend' which had me cracking up.

I remember sitting with some German customers, and at coffee-break they were chatting in German. Someone was demoing his new shiny toy, and in the middle of a long string of German I heard "Es ist way cool!". Cracked me up.

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Coat

Re: "the frankly horrible le ferry-boat"

(the horrible term "car-ferry" is often used in later case).

However horrible, it was in use in Roman times already, as one of the characters in Asterix is called Carferrix.

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Re: "the frankly horrible le ferry-boat"

Ah,. the packet boat!

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Pint

Re: Ancestry of English

Thank you Nigel 11 for your great post, both interesting and well written. Have a vote and a virtual beer from me :-)

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Happy

Likewise, Korean

I've had meetings with Korean hardware / firmware developers were I've asked a highly technical question, that gets translated into Korean and asked of the developers, and their spoken reply is so full of English technical phrases that I then don't need to hear their answer translated.

Though more often than not it amounted to 'no', just with a lot of excuses.

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Anonymous Coward

So is it actually 'Shitstorm' or do they use the German translation 'Scheissesturm?'

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Headmaster

@ murph -

That would have been "Scheißsturm" in the traditional spelling, or "Scheissturm" modernised.

Don't use Google translate when trying to sound clever.

Anyway, the only people who are remotely concerned about 'anglicisms*' are usually short-haired right-arm raisers who tap away in their mum's cellar on a "Klapprechner".

*wants to mean: "in the language of the Angles"; those being a people from the northern Baltic coast of Germany and Denmark. Excel would generate a circle reference error message.

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Re: @ murph -

I too was wondering how a combination of two English words both obviously of common origin to the German, could be called an Anglicism? I'd have expected it to be almost immediately back-translated into German. Or would a native German speaker find that "Shitstorm" trips off the tongue more easily than "Scheissturm"?

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According to the Graun article about this the other day, the prefix "Scheiss-" is a positive modifier, so a Scheisssturm would mean "a really good storm", the opposite of the intention.

I'm willing to be corrected, as I failed German O-level in 1985...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @ murph - You tell 'im Andreas.

I particular like the 'Don't use Google translate when trying to sound clever.'

Only thing to have made it better would have been a parting line of 'For you the war on words is over'.

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I imagine that they do use Shitstorm, but that if it becomes popular enough the English may start using 'scheissesturm' as a jocular / politer version. Then we need to see if the Germans adopt our dodgy translation of their own language as an Anglicism!

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so a Scheisssturm would mean "a really good storm", the opposite of the intention.

I don't know about "opposite". A really good Storm of Shit ... for the observers. Somewhat different for the participants. There's a word for that ... oh yes, Schadenfreude.

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A lot of American TV uses English swears to get round their own network's guidelines. So you'll often hear "wanker" in a show where they aren't even allowed to say "damn".

I find this amusing, because surely the people who complain about swearing have access to dictionaries or the internet, and are able to work this stuff out. Even if they're not the brightest brasseca in the patch...

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Re: @ murph - Scheissturm

Scheißsturm. Even in the "reformed spelling" it's still spelled with the sharp s, also known as "that funny beta letter" in these parts.

Interesting question also whether you'd get a triple consonant in the compound (Scheisssturm) if you translate the ß into ss, as the Swiss do, for example, or where you write capitalised.

Schönes Wochenende, zusammen.

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No, it's a "forceful" modifier, i.e. "a really fucking good storm" might be an English translation of "Scheisssturm". No actual shit need be involved.

The Graun article also pointed out that Germans tend to use scatological terms where Anglos would use sexual ones for the same purpose.

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Mushroom

If the Guardian really printed that, its a Scheissblatt. (Call any German a Scheisskerl and see how he likes it...)

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Here's the link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/03/shitstorm-german-dictionary-angela-merkel

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Re Scheissturm

@andreas koch

Wouldn't the modern German spelling be "Scheisssturm" with tripple s? Otherwise it could be both a shit tower or a shit storm. Both of which make perfect sense.

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Re: @ murph -

Bloody hell, Koch by name, Koch by nature!

I didn't actually use Google Translate Andreas, I learnt German up until Year 11 in school, so am somewhat fluent, though due to the fact your language is essentially unimportant in the modern world, you can't exactly blame me for not being perfect! God forbid anyone ever spell a word wrong, Andreas will be up your arse straight away!

p.s. - In your first sentence, the comma after 'spelling' is extraneous as it doesn't connect two independent clauses. You also missed a comma after 'short-haired' in your third paragraph.

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Re: @ murph -

Also did any of our Teutonic cousins deign to answer the question as to whether they use the actual English word 'shitstorm' or a translated version?

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Boffin

Re: @ murph -

I'm definitely none of our Teutonic cousins but can assure you it's actually the English word shitstorm that is used among them. Check out some German news outlets. And, I think it wouldn't be considered anglicism if it was translated.

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Re: @ murph -

Ah OK. Well I guess if they were going to appropriate any of our words wholesale, the scat based ones were the most likely.

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Happy

According to the Graun article about this the other day, the prefix "Scheiss-" is a positive modifier

So, the correct English translation of 'Scheiss-' in this case is 'Fuck-Off'.

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Anonymous Coward

That's just Hollywood-Brit... it's an idealized West Coast way of how British people might be, for someone who's never met one. Think Gap-Yah doing an impression of Roger Mellie and you're most of the way there.

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Re: Re Scheissturm

Actually it would even be Scheisssturm in the old spelling.

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@ murph - Re: @ murph -

Where you're right you're right. I stand corrected on the comma issues and do apologise for the misplacements. Have a thumbs-up and a nice weekend! ;-)

Oh, by the way: Koch does not rhyme with cock, as you'll remember from your school days.

Wtf ever made you take German in school? Spanish or even French I could understand, but German?

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people who complain about swearing have access to dictionaries or the internet

THE DEVILS WORK I TELL YOU!

There is but 1 book you need to guide your way...

(atlas shrugged)

people who complain about the word 'fuck', and 'able to work this stuff out'... do you see what you did there?

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Re: @ murph -

It appears SOMEONE is getting a semicolonscopy!

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Unlike the Dutch, whom nick good words from anyone provided that they sound "right" when pronounced in a Dutch way (possibly having had their endings modified to Dutch norms). It also has to be said the Dutch like to use pure English words (or phrases) for emphasis.

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