Anglicisms in German Advertising Slogans

Development and Function

Term Paper 2013 12 Pages

English Language and Literature Studies - Linguistics



1. Introduction

2. The Usage of English in German Advertising Slogans
2.1 Development of English Slogans in German Advertising
2.2. Function of English Slogans

3. A new trend in German Advertising

4. Conclusion

5. Bibliographie

1. Introduction

For quite some time, advertising is a gateway for anglicisms into the German language. (cf. Römer 2000) The VDS (Verein Deutscher Sprache/ Association of German Language) also shares this opinion. They say that the main transmitters for anglicisms in Germany are the mass media and the advertising and entertaining industry. (cf. Androutsopoulos et al. 2004)

Although anglicisms belong to the most explored aspects of advertising language, there haven’t been many empirical studies yet. (Janich 2003, p.109) Their proportion in a temporal comparative and in connection with various product groups is rarely studied in the Germanspeaking area. Especially the researches of Dagmar Schütte and the database slogans.de offer a basis to investigate these questions.

In this paper, it will be mainly referred to slogans since they appear in every kind of media and because they are the main representatives of the trends in the advertising language. First the evaluation of Schütte (1996), which reaches until 1991, should be checked. Then it should be examined whether the increase of English slogans continues onwards in the 1990s and the 2000s. Furthermore the sectoral distribution of English slogans will be analyzed. In order to provide a prospect to the future, this work will also contain a chapter about the new language trend in German advertising.

Schütte defines an anglicism as a linguistic sign, consisting wholly or partly of English morphemes, regardless of whether it is connected to a common meaning in the English language usage or not. (Schütte 1996, p.85) In the following, this definition is adopted, what means that the term anglicism is generally an English coined word or expression.

2. The Usage of English in German Advertising Slogans

The most important positions for the appearance of anglicisms in advertising are the slogan and the headline, the two exposed blocks of advertising texts. (Janich 2003, p.113) Janich claims that the function of a slogan is to provide the recognition of a product, a brand or a company, to strengthen it and also to act image-building. While the headline represents the appeal and the running text the product, the slogans fulfill the expression of the product or brand benefits. Memorability and brand recognition are the basic ideas for the linguistic slogan-formation. (Janich 2003, p.48)

2.1 Development of English Slogans in German Advertising

Although anglicisms are detectable in advertising, including slogans, already in the 1950s, the amount has increased in recent years. The content-analysis study of Dagmar Schütte (1996) proved a strong rise of English in slogans and headlines from 1981 to 1991. She collected advertisements containing English elements over a period of 40 years, from 1951 to 1991. In her studies, she traces the explosive increase of English in German advertising back to two main factors. On the one hand the growing media sector which provided a basis for the rise of advertisements containing English. During the 20th century, information media gained more and more importance, especially from 1980 onwards. In this context, the number of advertisements increased as well. The print media introduced magazines for every target group. Furthermore, the number of broadcasters abruptly increased. The private broadcasters, such as RTL or Pro7, provided a lot of advertisements, since those were their primary source of income. Nowadays, the main new medium is the internet. It is flooded with various advertisements, since many websites depend on sponsors. (Schütte 1996, p.124-130) On the other hand, after the Second World War, the USA gained economical supremacy throughout the world. During the eighties, the globalization started and many firms, especially American ones, started to launch their products internationally using the English language for their advertising campaigns. Consequently, they mainly contributed to the spread of English in German advertising. (Schütte 1996, p.32-33)

Additionally to Schütte, the website slogans.de is an online database of advertising slogans published in Germany. The slogans are dated after decades, plus the datings “before the 1950s" and the “years 2012/13”. They are allocated in 33 categories including Finance/Insurance, gastronomy, health/pharmaceutical, beverage, retail, home/garden, etc.

The database is searchable by various criteria, so you can, for example, find all occurrences of a certain key word in the 1960s, all the political slogans of the 1970s and all registered Adidas slogans, etc. The size of the database and its information structure make it an excellent material for an empirical study of advertising slogans. (cf. Androutsopoulos et al. 2004)

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 1: Total amount of English slogans in all decades

(cf. Androutsopoulos et al. 2004)

The evaluation of periods shows that the proportion of English slogans in the database increases abruptly in the 1990s (see figure 1). From the 1950s to the 1980s, the proportion is very small, in the period before 1950 it is only 2%, then 6% in the 1960s, to 3% in the 1970s and 1980's. The total of 22 English slogans until the late 1980s belong to the following industries (cf. Androutsopoulos et al. 2004):

- 1898 Food (Leibniz Cakes)
- 1950: Food (Kit-Kat chocolate bar)
- 1960: Cigarettes (Marlboro)
- 1970: Cigarettes (Kim), computers (Atari), make-up, politics (CDU, see below)
- 1980: cigarettes (West), clothing (Levi's), computers, cosmetics



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Title: Anglicisms in German Advertising Slogans