German Lessons


German Pseudo-Anglicisms

A pseudo-anglicism describes a word borrowed from English but used in other languages in ways that native speakers may not easily understand. For a native English speaker learning German, these pseudo English words can be a common source of misunderstanding, and German has more than its fair share of them!


Most people would think of a "cutter" as someone in the clothing trade who cuts cloth, or a cutting machine or a boat, but in German der Cutter (or in this case, die Cutterin) has a different primary meaning:


Es gibt eine Regie, es gibt einen Tontechniker, es gibt eine Cutterin.
There is a director, there is a sound technician, there is an editor.
Caption 32, Christian Brückner: Synchronstimme von Robert De Niro


If somebody offers to play Flipper with you in German, they aren't talking about playing with a talking dolphin:


Früher, da stand in jeder anständigen Kneipe ein Flipper.
There used to be a pinball machine in every decent pub.
Caption 19, Flipperautomaten: Kunstwerke für flinke Kugeln


If a German speaker ever asks you to find out about an Oldtimer, he doesn't mean an old man:


Sie sammelt sämtliche Informationen über Oldtimer.
It gathers all the information about classic cars.
Caption 37, Porsche 356: Der erste Porsche


In English news, a Shooting would be a tragic event, but in German:


Ich nehme euch mit auf die coolsten Shootings.
I’ll take you along to the coolest photo shoots.
Caption 10, Palina Rojinski: News for Original Girls


The German word Shooting is short for Fotoshooting, whose meaning should be pretty obvious by now!


Further Learning
Das Happy End, das Handy, das No-Go, das Public Viewing, der Smoking — the list of German words based on misconstrued English is a long one. Take a look at German Wikipedia and see if you can find some "fake English" words used in context on Yabla German.


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