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UNITED STATES: Lexicographical Globalization

Commenting on the use (in English) of "green card" in Germany, Ian Hilton, a Germanist, says:

"Green Card. For so many years the "Green Card" had another significance - for English motorists at least. It was the vital piece of documentation, for insurance purposes, that the English motorist, driving abroad, required. Only relatively recently has this practise become unnecessary for travel within EU-countries and certain other areas."

My comment: This shows that even in Germany, American English has a great impact. Germany is trying desperately to promote the German language, and the Ministry of Education has issued rules simplifying grammar and spelling. Many organizations have said they will not obey the rules, but the ministry says they will stick. Under Hitler there was an unsuccessful attempt to impose gothic type. It was a move backward, whereas the ministry now is looking forward. German may become easier for foreigners to learn, but it is having a hard time punching its weight even in Europe.

Ronald Hilton - 8/11/00