Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/9996
Capturing the Zeitgeist. Native German Loanwords in English
English is an international language, which has had great influence on other languages, including German; but it is also a language that has borrowed intensively from other languages, including German.
When counting German loanwords in English, some scholars include all words that have ever been created by a German speaker. This is what Pfeffer and Cannon (1994) do in their comprehensive dictionary on German loanwords, but they count about 6,000 words.
The aim of this essay is twofold: First to find out which German loanwords are truly "German". I use Pfeffer and Cannon's work as a basis and count all loanwords which are etymologically German or are attested at least in Early High German (1350-1650). My second task in this paper, is to run these about 1,300 words I find through two large online corpora, British Natural Corpus (BNC) with 100 million words and the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) with over 425 million words, to find out their frequency in modern English.
This essay will seek to emphasize the importance of corpus linguistics and how it can be employed to search a set of vocabulary for various studies, while about 40% of the round 1,300 native German loanwords words appear in either BNC, COCA or both corpora.
All round 1,300 words are classified after their semantic fields which are taken from Pfeffer and Cannon (1994) and analysed separately: first those that do not occur in the corpora, and then the ones which occur in the corpora. The latter set is described further, e.g. with regard to the difference between the corpora, both the preferences for some words, as well the different frequencies, but the differences between the corpora reflect unmistakably some lexical differences between UK and US English in their use of German loanwords.
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