German Language Blog

Denglish: The English loan word “adden” in German Posted by on May 16, 2012 in Culture, Language

Some days ago, I posted a note on our Facebook-Page, saying that the German language has a new English loan word for the verb “hinzufügen” = to add, which is “adden”. The opinions about English loans in German were divided. Some were happy about this progress in the German language because now it is easier for some people to make use of, at least, one German verbs, and other were quite annoyed about that saying that they are disappointed that German borrows words from English.

Some linguists even fear that German could become a peripheral language when there is so much influence from other languages, especially English. Their fear is based on statistical inquiry. German linguists of the Verein Deutscher Sprache (German Language Association) ascertain the Anglicism Index in the German language monthly, and they report that more and more “new” German words derive from the English language.

But do we really need to worry that German may become extinct in the near future? Honestly, I do not think so! As a matter of fact, languages have influenced one another since humans began to make use of it and got in contact with other cultures. It is simply impossible to draw a line between two or more languages or cultures and determine that they have to perpetually exist in isolation from one another, as language is a means to transmit, for example, ideas and knowledge, as well as cultural identity and imperatives. So, the question is can a language be that powerful to outquote another language. Of course it can but only when the “submissive” language is spoken by few people, and the “overpowering” language targets at this submissive language. As long as there are enough speaker of a language and various social speech situations no language must fear threat. For example, let’s take the Denglish verb “adden”, which means to add or in genuine German “hinzufügen”. “Adden” is predominaltely used in connection with social networks, like Facebook, that is, although Germans might use this new loan in their speech they would definitely fall back on “hinzufügen” in other social or speech situations. If I would ask a friend, with whom I have an easygoing relationship – which means I would rather opt for a more informal language – “to add” me on Facebook, I would probably use the German loan “adden”. But in more formal situation, for example, when I ask a colleague or my boss to add a file to an e-mail, I would definitely use the German verb “hinzufügen”.

Briefly speaking, although “adden” might have gotten the status of being an official loan word it is mainly used in connection with the latest interbet technology.

Finally, let’s have a look at the conjugation of the verb “adden” – which is treated as a weak verb. When would like to conjugate German weak verbs all you have to do is to remove the ending –en, so that you get the stem, which is add-. Then you only need to attach the endings in the table below:




1st person ich add-e wir add-en
2nd person du add-est / Sie add-en ihr add-et / Sie add-en
3rd person er / sie/ es add-et sie add-en


Example sentences:

Kannst du mich (auf Facebook) adden? – Can you add me (on Facebook)?

Ich adde dich (auf Facebook). – I’ll add you (on Facebook).

Adde mich (auf Facebook)! singular – Add me (on Facebook)!

Addet mich (auf Facebook)! plural – Add me (on Facebook)!

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About the Author: Sandra Rösner

Hello everybody! I studied English and American Studies, Communication Science, and Political Science at the University of Greifswald. Since I have been learning English as a second language myself for almost 20 years now I know how difficult it is to learn a language other than your native one. Thus, I am always willing to keep my explanations about German grammar comprehensible and short. Further, I am inclined to encourage you to speak German in every situation. Regards, Sandra


  1. Allan Mahnke:

    I’m glad you can’t see me shudder. Can it also be used as zugeben us used in cooking vocabulary?