[DWJ] Kennen Sie yaba? (was: i will fade into the background now)

Belben, Philip (Energy Wholesale) Philip.Belben at eon-uk.com
Wed Jun 27 05:28:09 EDT 2007

Bettina, quoting me:

> > I think you have to look at non-English-speaking communities to
> > observe this.  I saw an article recently about the abbreviated forms
> > of language used in mobile phone text messages.  This article was in
> > German (reprinted in a teaching magazine), and dealt with the forms
> > in use among German speakers.  Alongside the obvious German words
> > (S = es, n8 = nacht, und so weiter) were many forms that are
> > familiar English contractions, which seem to have been adopted by
> > the Germans.  I would guess that German-language internet chat rooms
> > use a similar mixture, but I'm not sure of a mechanism for this to
> > propagate into English-speaking internet use.
> The article sounds interesting. Could you tell me where to find it?

The article was entitled "Kennen Sie yaba?" and appeared in "Authentik auf Deutsch", Jan/Feb 2007.  The source was given as Welt am Sonntag, 1 Oktober 2006; there was also a suggestion to look at www.duden.de

> What contractions? (I have to confess that I'm feel pretty old when I
> get txt messages from people only a few years younger than I and have
> to guess what they want to say... n8 is funny, because I read that as
> night at first... all concentrated on deciphering stuff, you know)

The contractions.  I was surprised to find that S and n8 were missing.  I'm sure our tutor mentioned S, maybe I just made up n8.  Here is the list in all its cross-lingual glory:

2b = sein (to be)
b4 = bevor (before)
2day = heute
tnx = danke
bb = bis bald
mtfbwy = Möge die Kraft mit Dir sein (may the Force be with you.) [*]
KoZ = Kopf oder Zahl
hdl = Hab Dich lieb
nu = ich brauch Dich (need you)
o4u = nur für Dich (only for you)
w4u = Ich warte auf Dich (waiting for you)
lol = laut lachen
cu = Wir sehen uns
cul8r = Wir sehen uns später
anw = Auf Nimmerwiedersehen!
bm = blödmann
gzT = Geh zum Teufel!
ltab = Lieber tot als blöd!
t+ Denk Positiv!

(I have not included as many English expansions as the original.  I'm not convinced by all the German, and someone seems not to have noticed that standard German no longer uses capital letters for du, dich, dir.)

[*] Thinking back to a much earlier discussion, about the phrase "so mote it be", concerning which Charlie asked whether it was a hortatory subjunctive, and others of us said no, just a straight modal verb: in that German phrase, "Möge" is both a modal verb and a hortatory subjunctive, which is puzzling.  I would probably have said "Die Kraft sei mit Dir".
> As for the rest, I'm pretty tired and probably just don't get it, but
> I think what I guess when you see German communities picking up
> English internet lingo, it's probably because of the influence of the
> English language which doesn't run the other way (apart from the ever
> favorite angst...).  And because so much of the net is English, I'd
> assume many German internet users would learn English "expressions"
> there and use them in German forums, too. (The German word for link is
> link btw, and homepage means homepage :-) And lol is so common that I
> would assume that it's used and understood there, too. It's all a bit
> theoretical, because I am in no German forum or list. So actually, I
> don't know. But now I'm interested, and shall try to take a look.

Yes, I agree.  That's roughly what I was trying to say: I can see how English expressions might find their way into German, but not how German ones might get out onto English-speaking parts of the internet.  Getting German words into English generally requires highly influential people to publish in German first - "Angst", which you cite, is a good example, from influential German psychologists; "Blitz" is another, from a different sort of influence...

I also find it interesting how languages like German start with English words for a lot of computer terms, but later make up some of their own to replace them, like "die Datei" for "file".  ("Der Ordner" is fortuitous.  AFAICT it is a direct translation of "folder" used by Windowing operating systems.  The fact that it is so much more descriptive (meaning roughly "something to sort stuff into") than either "folder" or "directory" is pure luck, I think.)

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