Germany's Transport Minister claimed to have struck an important blow for the preservation of the German language yesterday after enforcing a strict ban on the use of all English words and phrases within his ministry.
Peter Ramsauer stopped his staff from using more than 150 English words and expressions that have crept into everyday German shortly after being appointed in late 2009.
His aim, which was backed by Chancellor Angela Merkel, was to defend his language against the spread of "Denglish" – the corruption of German with words such as "handy" for mobile phone and other expressions including "babysitten" and "downloaden". As a result, words such as "laptop", "ticket" and "meeting" are verboten in Mr Ramsauer's ministry. Instead, staff must use their German equivalents: "Klapprechner", "Fahrschein" and "Besprechung" as well as many other common English words that the minister has translated back into German.
Mr Ramsauer took time off from his role as minister in charge of sorting out some of the worst winter traffic chaos in decades yesterday to announce that his campaign to save German had been a roaring success. He said many Germans felt excluded by the growing use of "Denglish".