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Alternative German Linguistic History

Every language learner who has delved into the morphological depths of German struggles with a linguistic jungle of random articles ready to put you to shame whenever you have to choose among a handful of declensions in a conversation. But there’s one thing German is great for: inventing words! Can you add any to the list? :D

Expat Gone Foreign, tXc, comics, word composition, German


  1. David P. Kendal

    Oh man, reading these, I wish so much that German had a stronger tradition of purist Germanic replacement of loanwords, like Icelandic does. On the other hand … it does make German a bit easier to learn when there’s more loanwords (and the purist compounds we do have, like ‘Wissenschaft’, can be utterly baffling the first time you encounter them).

    In any case, these are excellent. In the case of ‘Münze’ there’s already ‘Geldstück’ (money piece), and since alcohol is a chemical, not a drink in itself I’d like to think German would actually have made a distinction between ‘Verwirrungsstoff’ (which you might put in your eco-friendly car) and ‘Verwirrungsgetränke’ (which you’d use to get mightily, uh, confused with your friends).

    • tXc

      Hey David! I agree, words with Germanic roots certainly have their charm, but loanwords definitely make the learning process easier for us. I asked around this week and found out that there are actually German replacements for all those loanwords, like “Gasthaus” or “Duftwasser”. Anyway, I think I’m going to start using “Verwirrungsstoff” for alcohol. :D

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