Anglicism Usage in German Political Language: The German Green Party's Election Manifesto

Textbook 2014 39 Pages

English Language and Literature Studies - Linguistics


List of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Theoretical Framework
2.1. The German Green Party: Ideology, Target Group and Communication Techniques
2.2. Discourse analysis: Political Rhetoric
2.3. Contact linguistics
2.3.1. The Historical Background of English and German Language Contact
2.3.2. English and German Identities
2.3.2. English: Source Language, Transfer and Dominance
2.3.3. Classification of Contact-induced outcomes: Code-switching or Borrowing?
2.3.4. Classification of Contact- induced outcomes: What is an Anglicism?
2.3.5. Method and Classification Terminology of Analysis

3. Empirical Analysis of “Der Grüne Neue Gesellschaftsvertrag”
3.1.1. The Framework
3.1.2. Rhetorical Devices: Parallelisms, Metaphors and 'the rule of three'
3.1.3. Presuppositions
3.2. Anglicisms within the Green's Language
3.2.1. Levels of text composition. Location, Order and Frequency of Anglicisms
3.2.2. Lexical level: Borrowings, Hybrids and Pseudo- Anglicisms

4. A Green Language?

5. Summary and Conclusion

6. Bibliography

1. Introduction

Every four years on Election Day, German citizens make their way to the ballot boxes to vote for the political party and candidate they would favour entering the government. These voters however, might not be aware of the fact that whether their choice has resulted from political conviction or not, the set of political attitudes which has found their favour has been the result of a complex communication strategy the individual party carried out long beforehand. As Loscher states: “[...] language is one of the most obvious means through which power is exercised” (2004: 34).

Election manifestos[1] that are published months before the actual Election Day represent a political campaign. This campaign's ideology is embedded in a certain kind of language which will persuade and satisfy the readers. These readers are either potential voters that need to be enthused or core voters that have to be pleased so as to vote ‘their’ party again, relying on a recognition value in the manifesto. Professional speechwriters and advertising agencies accentuate political election manifestos in a way so that the visual aspect, the text components and the choice of phrases represent the 'style' of a text (cf. Harms 2008: 16). This style has to convey a coherent message, which represents the party as a whole and makes out the communicative framework. To add more impact, these speechwriters include persuasive language, insert rhetorical devices, and integrate ‘modern’ words such as anglicisms.

So by studying the language of a political party, and taking two different linguistic fields into consideration – here discourse linguistics and contact linguistics – it becomes apparent how perceptions and ideas of people and, subsequently, political convictions are influenced by language. In this study, the focus will be put on the specific language used by the German Green Party (BÜNDNIS90/DIE GRÜNEN) in its 224 pages strong manifesto of 2009 which the party published in May 2009. This manifesto provided the basis for its public campaign in the context of the elections for the Bundestag in the same year.

The aim of this study is to linguistically analyse the language of the German Green party’s language in order to find out whether such a thing as a “green language” exists.

Background, Material and Method

In the year of 2009, the German Green Party had just experienced an immense gain of attention through the rising influence of ecological issues in politics. The increasing media-attention for an emotionally charged field of topics, subsumed under the slogan: “Save the Planet”, lead to different results. On the one hand newly constituted green parties emerged all over the world, and on the other hand, the already existing green parties gained a great deal of attention. Not only in European societies but also, among others, in the U.S., green issues became relevant. Here, Barack Obama built up a “green team” to enforce his energy and environmental agenda, thus being the first American president since the days of the Carter government in the 1970s, to give a serious concern to these topics.

In Germany, the Greens as the party to be concerned with environmental protection issues, presented in their political manifesto of 2009 a very broad scope of topics. These topics represented a group within Germany’s society where the political concept of being ‘green’ involved a consciousness towards a healthy dealing with nature, respect for equal rights (women’s rights, equal civil rights for gays and lesbians, et cetera) and the support of policies on sustainable production and consumption and renewable energies.

The target group responding to these ‘green concepts’ has long grown from a rather small group into a large mass in which these concepts are conceived as an established set of ideological principles. The Green Party had therefore left the position of an outsider within the group of parties in Germany’s political landscape and, in 2009, resembled an established party addressing ‘Zeitgeist’ issues. These issues were simultaneously also being taken up by other German parties such as the SPD and DIE LINKE denoting a certain ‘trend’ of ‘green topics’.

There are two decisive questions arising from this situation: Does the Green party create an own ‘green language’ to transmit its program that is do the words which have been in the limelight of this study suggest that they belong to a canon of words bearing green connotations which are strongly related to a “green” discourse? Or does the Green party rather use certain words that exist anyway, also beyond the ‘green’ speech community?

The method to find an answer to these questions will be stated in the following.

In a first step, the study is divided into two parts. The first part presents a theoretical approach and is conducted to give a general insight into the different discursive processes and the contact linguistic traits of a political speech or text. Hereby the terminology and a classification of the topics relevant for the research question will be announced.

The second part will present the empirical analysis of the Green party’s manifesto, examine certain metaphorical expressions with regards to their form and meaning and analyse English borrowings, hybrids and pseudo loans on contact linguistic level. This empirical part will be completed by a summary of the previous findings in respect to their implicational value.

Since the issues of political language, language change and especially anglicisms present a broad and complex array of approaches and different fields of discourse, the study has to disregard a few topics to limit its extent.

To keep up a coherent and cohesive structure, many of the German citations have not been translated, also bearing in mind that the readers of this work will have no problem in understanding both languages.


[1] 'Election manifesto', the English translation for 'Wahlprogramm' will serve as main reference term for 'election program'.


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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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773 KB
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Political Language Discourse Analysis Contact Linguistic Linguistics Anglicism



Title: Anglicism Usage in German Political Language: The German Green Party's Election Manifesto