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ID number:725775
Published: 20.11.2006.
Language: English
Level: College/University
Literature: n/a
References: Not used

German borrowings can be divided into three main groups, plus a separate group of German-related words borrowed into American English via Yiddish. The three groups are:
- Pennsylvania Dutch words, that were usually first recorded before the middle of the 19th century, and generally apply to food and way of life.
- Mainstream German borrowings that were made thanks to the influence of the '48ers. These were generally first recorded between 1850 and 1915 or so. They often relate to education and way of life. It is important to notice that they include interjections, verbs, and complete expressions. What does this indicate? Deep cultural interpenetration rather than casual or hostile contact.
- The third group of German borrowings contains those terms from the two World Wars that are related to war and military strategy. There are also ethnic insults... Many of these expressions were also borrowed by the British and the French, etc., and are not bona fide Americans, so few if any are included here.

Because English itself is a Germanic language, American English found it easy to integrate German borrowings with minor phonological changes:
[ scht ] > [ st ] (stein), [v] > [w] for "w", [b] often became [p]...
Most of the mechanisms and processes of borrowing and word formation we have seen so far are represented: there are cases of folk etymology, loan translations, new meanings given to familiar English words based on the meaning of a similar word in the other language, and enlarged or extended impact due to compounding, functional changes, suffixing and prefixing.

There are about a hundred German borrowings used by ordinary American English speakers; obviously, however, there are far more in regional use... in parts of Pennsylvania, for example, of course.…

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