ADS-L Digest - 9 Jul 2002 to 10 Jul 2002 (#2002-166)

Prof. Peter Lucko Peter.Lucko at RZ.HU-BERLIN.DE
Thu Jul 11 09:34:37 UTC 2002

> > On Wed, 10 Jul 2002, James A. Landau wrote:
> >>
> >> As I happen to know that a high-ranking Imperial German general during
> >> World War I once used "Neapolitan ice" as a metaphor, I find it hard to
> >> believe that the German language lacks a native term for "ice cream".
> >
> > Doesn't German "Eis" serve for both ice and ice-cream?
> >
> > allen
> > maberry at
> Yes, but "Eiscreme" is also seen.  I don't remember hearing it used in
> speech, but if I'm not mistaken, a brand whose little flags are all over
> the place advertises its product as "Eiscreme."  The current mania of the
> German language for borrowing foreign words, even where perfectly good
> German words already exist, has lasted for decades now and rages on
> undiminished.  True, most of the borrowings are from English, so Eiscreme
> isn't such a clear-cut case, but the overall trend and the existence of
> English "ice cream" probably favor it.
> Peter Mc.

"Ice cream" in English and "Eiscreme" in German are both hybrid compounds, the first part being Germanic and at home in both languages, with more or less the same pronunciation but different spellings reflecting different stages at which they were fixed: "ice" before the vowel shift, "Eis" in its first stage of diphthongisation. The second part was loaned from French, which in the German word clearly shows in the spelling, while the English
spelling conceals the French origin. So the whole word is not directly one of the ubiquitous Anglicisms or Americanisms; I agree, though, that the influence of "ice cream" may have caused the more frequent use of "Eiscreme" as against just "Eis", which, however, prevails in compounds like "Eisbecher"  (= a cup of ice cream") or "Eiswaffel" (ice cream between two wafers).
Prof. Dr. Peter Lucko
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik
Unter den Linden 6
D-10099 Berlin, Germany
Tel.: +49 30 2093 2295
Fax: +49 30 2093 2244

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