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24 July 2009


And it's noticeable how few German words have made their way into English, especially compared with French imports.

'Zeitgeist' become popular in the internet age - arguably we could now even use a lower-case Z and forget the italics. But it's hard to think of other German words in everyday English journalism that wouldn't need an explanation in brackets. 'Schadenfreude' is one of the few that come to mind.

A word we really ought to borrow from German is 'Geisterfahrer', which can't be succinctly translated in English ('someone going the wrong way down a one-way street', maybe).

I write about cycling in London, and sadly, it's a word I would use all too often!

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