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French Loanwords in German

Around 45% of English words have French origins and most of them, such as art, competition, force, machine, money, police, publicity, role, routine, and table are everyday English words spoken with English pronunciation. There are, however, a number of French words that are commonly used in English that have retained their French character and are unmistakably "French sounding" to the English listener. These foreign words that have been incorporated into the native language are called Loanwords (or Lehnwörter in German).


German too has its share of French loanwords, or Gallicisms, although German vocabulary has fewer words of French origin than English does.

Was Avantgardistisches? -Genau, genau, so kann man das sehen.

Something avant-garde? -Exactly, exactly, you can look at it like this.

Caption 16, Rat für nachhaltige Entwicklung - Mode gegen Armut

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Some terms come from cultural milieus such as art. In avantgardistisch, the German version of "avant-garde," the hyphen has been dropped, forming a single word.

Der Mohn kommt in die Vinaigrette, ein wenig Honig dazu.

The poppy seeds go into the vinaigrette, a little honey's added to it.

Caption 56, Kochhaus Berlin - Rucola-Salat-Rezept

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As with English, many French loanwords come from the culinary world. The German Vinaigrette is capitalized as a noun, but otherwise identical to the English and the French.

Du hast für PeTA 'ne ziemlich coole neue Kampagne geschossen.

You shot a pretty cool new campaign for PeTA.

Caption 30, Tierfreund Mario Barth - Der Tätowierer der Stars

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Many other French loanwords in German come from politics and military jargon. In this last example, the spelling of the original French word campagne is Germanized as die Kampagne, and the English spelling "campaign" is different as well! In most cases, however, loanwords retain the original spellings and diacritical marks.



Further Learning
Go to the German Wikipedia listing of Gallicisms, and when you find a familiar word, do a video search on Yabla German and see how the French loanword is used in German.


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