English Loans in German and the Borrowing of Meaning

TriCollege Digital Repository

Title: English Loans in German and the Borrowing of Meaning
Author: Lane, Mary
Advisor: Sanders, Nathan
Department: Swarthmore College. Dept. of Linguistics
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Issue Date: 2012
Abstract: There are many English loans in German, which fall under the categories of (i) phonetic and semantic borrowings (e.g., Computer 'computer', downloaden 'to download'), (ii) phonetic borrowings (e.g., Handy 'cell phone', Long-Drink 'mixed drink'), and (iii) semantic borrowings, or calques (e.g., Sinn machen 'to make sense'). All of these loans are naturalized into German and undergo phonological and morphosyntactic changes. I provide an overview of the integration process that loans undergo and a description of how these words appear in German. When words are borrowed into German from English, secondary or metaphorical meanings of the English are not necessarily borrowed. Most often, the primary, literal meaning of the English word is the meaning the loan takes on, e.g., the loan Baby means 'baby, infant' in German, but not 'coward, wuss,' as it can in English. I report the findings of a survey of native German speakers, investigating the borrowing of meanings of English words. Through the examination of seven loans and the comparison of their meanings in English and German, I show that generally, only the primary meaning of an English word is transferred to a loan in German.
Subject: German language -- Foreign words and phrases -- English
Subject: German language -- Etymology
Subject: German language -- Foreign elements -- English
Terms of Use:
Permanent URL:

Files in this item

Files Description Size Format
2012LaneM_thesis.pdf Thesis 5.403Mb PDF
2012LaneM_release.pdf **Archive Staff Only** 24.46Kb PDF


Lane, Mary. "English Loans in German and the Borrowing of Meaning". 2012. Available electronically from

This item appears in the following Collection(s) Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as


Advanced Search


My Account