I was taking some meeting minutes with a colleague yesterday. We did the whole meeting German — it was all native speakers bis auf Yours Truly, so there was no reason not to. But we wanted to record the decisions and action plans in English, since the wider audience is not likely to be just German-speakers. This happens pretty frequently where I work.
I noticed we were using plenty of Denglish (that is also a fact of life in my line of work), and for a distraction at the end of a tiring day I asked about the gender of all those English words we’d employed in the discussion:
- die Farm (as opposed to der Bauernhof)
- der Level (as opposed to die Ebene or die Schicht)
- der View (as opposed to die Sicht or die Maske)
- die Mail, because die Nachricht (but some say das Mail)
I got faux ornery1 at my colleague. I asked him, accusingly, “so how did the entire German Rasse2 collectively decide which gender to assign to which words you imported from my native language you obviously prefer over perfectly usable equivalent terms in your own Muttersprache?
His answer: Continue reading