- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 7, 2006

BERLIN — The deliberate mangling of the German language by generations of comedians has kept the British laughing since the end of World War II. Now the Germans are desperately trying to defend their tongue against a modern English invasion.

While the French have been fighting a losing battle against Franglais for years, the Germans are only now beginning to take seriously the threat to their native tongue from the rise of Denglish — the illegitimate child of Deutsch and English.

Angered by the emergence of such phrases as “das ist cool” (that’s cool) and “eine tolle latte to go” (one large milky coffee to take away), German politicians and academics are demanding that their language be enshrined in the country’s constitution to save it from extinction.

“Trendy pseudo-English produced daily by apparently brainless advertising agencies, marketing experts and computer salesmen is pouring forth like a poisonous porridge of magma, which is burying a whole cultural landscape beneath it,” warned the writer Matthias Schreiber in Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine.

In the brave new world of Denglish, Germans can “chatten” on the Internet, “brainstormen” in business meetings and visit the “Job Center” if the brainstormen proves unsuccessful.

The rise of Denglish recently persuaded state authorities in Bavaria, concerned about drinking in schools, to coin the slogan: “Be Hard, Drink Soft.”

Such developments have prompted Norbert Lammert, Germany’s conservative parliamentary president, to push for the German language enshrinement in the country’s constitution.

“Many countries, not only France, have done this,” he said.

“Last May, the American Senate declared English to be the country’s official language to prevent Spanish assuming this role.”

The U.S. Senate approved the measure on a 62-35 vote on May 18. Virtually all Republicans were joined by 10 Democrats to approve the largely symbolic amendment. Immediately following that vote, the Senate approved a second amendment, declaring on a 58-39 vote that English is the “common and unifying language.”

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