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Social Media Campaign “#GermaninmyLanguage”

The American television series “How I Met Your Mother” is a cult classic. Particularly funny moments include the times that the main characters Ted, Marshall, Lily, Robin and Barney meet people who look exactly like themselves, as if their faces had been placed onto another person: their “doppelgangers”. And how does one call people who look strikingly similar to other people in English? The word “look-alike” is often used to describe this phenomenon, but the German word “Doppelgänger” has achieved widespread usage within American culture. 

There are not only many words with German roots in English, but also in other languages. The list of German words that have emigrated is long: “Zeitgeist”, “Schadenfreude”, “Kindergarden”, “Katzenjammer”, “Sauerkraut” and even “Doppelgänger” are only a few examples.

The reasons for this migration are also different: sometimes it's because the words have emigrated with the Germans, sometimes it's because there is no equivalent word in other languages or it's simply because the German word sounded so funny.

Guess in which countries these German words are used!

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Which German words can be found in your language?

Post your favorite German word in your language under the hashtag #GermanInMyLanguage in your social media profile (e.g. Facebook or Twitter). We would like to find out which German words Alumni know and use in their languages.

For participation, we are giving away the following prizes:

  • Online German course from the Goethe-Institut
  • 1-year premium subscription to Duden's new online spell checker (Duden Mentor)
  • Book "Deutsch für alle" by the Iraq-born German author Abbas Khider


  1. You already know a word of German origin in your language? Excellent! If not, you are welcome to research or ask friends and acquaintances who are familiar with the subject.

  2. Briefly write down the meaning and if possible the story of the word.

  3. Share your word and its meaning on your social media profile (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram...,), add the hashtag #GermanInMyLanguage, and tag @alumni_de (Twitter) / @Alumniportal (Facebook) in your post! Alternatively you could post your response on the Facebook page of Alumniportal Deutschland.

  4. Nominate at least 1 person, preferably a Germany-Alumnus or Alumna, for this contest.



June 2019