The German-speaking world has a strange fondness for the English language. While English uses the occasional German loan word, such as rucksack or zeitgeist, Germans seem to love using English words in their native tongue so much that merely borrowing those words as alternatives for German isn’t enough – they also reappropriate familiar English words for things we just don’t use them for at all in English.
Some of the more familiar examples of this phenomenon are Handy, (English: “practical, useful, convenient”; German: “mobile phone”), Oldtimer (English, as old-timer: a colloquial term for “old person”; German: “classic car”) and Beamer (English: slang for “BMW”; German: “projector”). There are even some English-sounding words used in German that don’t exist at all in English, such as Talkmaster (“talk-show host”) and Basecap (“baseball cap”).
But there is one such reappropriated Anglicism that is particularly popular at the moment: Homeoffice. “Arbeiten im Homeoffice” is something a lot of people have started doing recently due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And no, this isn’t the Home Office, the department of the British government that deals with domestic affairs – it isn’t even a room in your home that is exclusively reserved for work, or doing your tax return … or doing the ironing. It is what English speakers would call “working from home” or perhaps “remote working”.
For many of us at Diction, this is nothing new at all, as the majority of us work from home most of the time and travel to the office in Buchs every now and then to see our colleagues in person and attend meetings and events. The only things that have changed for us are the fact that everyone is now working from home, meetings are now all taking place virtually, and we have all postponed our visits to the office until things get back to normal, which we all hope will be sooner rather than later!
Robert Fawcett, English team