Linguistic Hybridization, Sprachverfall, and German “Denglish”: A Reflection of Culture


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To elucidate the stark influence of hybridization1 on speech, itself the most pliable aspect of language and therefore the most affected by hybridization, this piece uses anecdotal evidence to serve as the introductory elements to show the more general effect of the current state of linguistic hybridization as it relates to the historical trend of globalization. This anecdotal evidence, as well as other observations and interpretations are grounded in the five months where I studied the German language and culture in Germany. Continuing from this evidence, this paper proceeds to a comparative analysis of research regarding the role of Sprachverfall in the German cultural and linguistic milieu in order to lay the foundation for the ideas of language and identity. While there are many specifics to the German case study, there is much overlap between the events and circumstances of the German Sprachraum and other language communities. The paper discusses interpretation of this phenomena undertaken by scholars of sociolinguistics and culture (with an emphasis on German culture and history). This work highlights the measures being taken by youth communities around the world to preserve their culture while creating a new hybrid thereof that reflects their current social milieu. The final section of the work seeks to present potential solutions and remedies to mitigate the issues with identity and language change that result from perceived Sprachverfall.



Globalization, Hybridization, Sprachverfall, Language decay, Sprachraum