VDS Fights Invasion of English words

When the National train company Deutsche Bahn (DB) introduced a "Kiss-and-Ride" service - allowing free 10 minutes' parking at stations - residents in Bavaria complained at what they thought was the introduction of a drive-through red-light district.

German Language Association (VDS) considers that German has suffered collateral damage from senseless Anglicisms. And the DB is the greatest offender, filling its stations with so many English language signs that a passenger looking for an information counter (Schalter) is expected to know they were looking for a "Service Point".

Now, DB chief executive Rüdiger Grube has decided to ditch the policy. "He asked whether all this English was really necessary, and whether we couldn't use the good old German expressions like before", said a DB spokesman yesterday.

The move was welcomed by the German Language Association (VDS), which has fought a lonely campaign for years against wilful language pollution. "Most Germans can speak English, often not as well as they think they can, but we are anxious to make a gesture to others", said Dr. Gerd Schrammen, head of the VDS. "But we believe it is perfectly legitimate to expect one's own language to be used at home". The VDS names and shames the worst offenders and would like to see the federal government get involved.


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