Many words used in languages throughout the world can find their roots in other languages, either evolving from an older language or from being loaned from another language. So we thought we’d take a look at which German words are being used in the English language on a daily basis.
1. A Doppelganger is an identical double of an individual person with no relation to each other. Doppelganger is German for ‘double walker’ which in folklore is the paranormal double of a living person; in English it literally maintains its meaning without the folklore.
2. Wanderlust is a German loanword adopted into English in1902 meaning ‘yearn to travel’, the term originates from “wandern” (to hike) and “Lust” (Desire) a modern German equivalent for wanderlust is “Fernweh” meaning ‘crave for travel’.
3. Neanderthals is the term used to describe our ancestors who used to inhabit Europe and Eastern Asia. The Species is named after the site of their discovery just east of Düsseldorf in Dussel’s Neander Valley, ‘Thal’ was then added the German word for valley.
4. The word rucksack is again a German loanword, combining the German ‘der Rücken’ meaning the back part of the body and ‘sack’ from the Middle English meaning bag.
5. Lager originates from the German “lagerbier” meaning ‘beer brewed for keeping’; originally this was directly translated to English ‘lager beer’, but was shortened to lager in the 1850’s.
6. The fuel Diesel is derived from the German ‘Dieselmotor’ named after its German inventor in 1892, Diesel would then go on to power much of the worlds transport including cars and trains.
7. Zeitgeist is another German loanword combined from the German for Zeit (time) and Geist (spirit) translating into the “spirit of the time”.
8. The Glockenspiel is the word you may associate most with having German origins literally meaning ‘play of bells’ from “Glock” (bell) and “Spiel” (play), the instrument may not be found often in modern music but is still used in the massed bands.
9. Kindergarten is literally translated from German into “Children’s Garden” first coming into use in the early 19th century as a social experience for children moving from the home into education.
10. Hamburger may be the best known German loanword to the English language in the world. Hamburger comes directly from Germany’s second city of Hamburg where in the beginning of the 19th centaury 1000’s of Germans emigrated to the USA, taking food delicacies with them including the Hamburg steak, later becoming known as the hamburger.