“Mit dem Topping bin ich auch fein”–Anglicisms in a German TV cooking show « Mit dem Topping bin ich auch fein » –Anglicismes dans une émission de cuisine de la télévision allemande



En raison de son rôle de lingua franca, l’anglais est une source majeure d’influence linguistique dans le monde entier. Cet article traite de l’impact de l’anglais sur l’allemand. Les influences induites par le contact ont été largement décrites pour des domaines comme le commerce, le sport, le divertissement, la publicité et la politique. L’accent est mis ici sur un domaine traditionnellement associé à la langue française – la cuisine. Il présente les résultats d’une étude empirique sur l’utilisation des anglicismes dans une émission de cuisine de la télévision allemande. En Allemagne, ce format connaît un regain de popularité et constitue une base utile pour cette étude car il représente un type de communication orale qui est perçu comme authentique et se rapproche de la communication spontanée et naturelle. Les anglicismes trouvés dans l’ensemble de données comprennent des emprunts directs, des emprunts traduits (calques) et des constructions hybrides. Alors que la majorité d’entre eux sont des lexèmes simples et complexes, tels que peppern (« poivrer ») et Signature-Gericht (« plat signature »), plus d’un tiers peuvent être classés comme des unités phraséologiques ayant la structure de syntagmes (p. ex. in the making) et de phrases (p. ex. Safety first!). Les buts comunicatifs des émissions de cuisine sont l’instruction et le divertissement, et l’utilisation des anglicismes y est étroitement liée. Par exemple, les anglicismes servent à dénommer les produits et les plats (p. ex. green-zebra Tomaten, Surf and Turf, No-bake Cheesecake), sont utilisés pour combler les lacunes de l’émission lorsque les gens ne savent peut-être pas quoi dire ou comment réagir (p. ex. That’s life), et on les retrouve fréquemment dans les jugements positifs et négatifs (p. ex. ein Masterpiece, ein bisschen Old School). En outre, les animateurs insèrent des expressions anglaises pour donner à leur discours un caractère plus vivant, moderne et familier et pour créer un humour basé sur la langue.

Due to its role as a lingua franca, English is a major source of language influence worldwide. This paper addresses the impact of English on German. Contact-induced influences have been widely described for areas like business, sports, entertainment, advertising and politics. The focus here is on a field traditionally associated with the French language–cuisine. It presents the findings of an empirical study on the use of Anglicisms in a German TV cooking show. In Germany, this format is enjoying an upsurge in popularity and provides a useful basis for this investigation because it presents an oral type of communication that is perceived to be authentic and comes close to approximating spontaneous and naturally occurring communication. The Anglicisms found in the dataset include direct borrowings, loan translations (calques) and hybrid constructions. While the majority of these are simple and complex word lexemes, such as peppern (‘to pepper’) and Signature-Gericht (‘signature dish’), more than one third can be classified as phraseological units, which have the structure of word groups (e.g. in the making) and sentences (e.g. Safety first!). The communicative purposes of cooking shows are instruction and entertainment, and the use of Anglicisms is closely related to these. For example, Anglicisms serve to denominate products and dishes (e.g. green-zebra Tomaten, Surf and Turf, No-bake Cheesecake), are used to bridge gaps in the programme where people perhaps do not know what to say or how to react (e.g. That’s life), and they are frequently found in positive and negative judgements (e.g. ein Masterpiece, ein bisschen Old School). In addition, hosts insert English expressions to give their speech a more lively, modern and colloquial character and to create language-based humour.


Full text

1. Introduction

1This paper addresses the impact of English on the German language. Contact-induced influences can be observed at all levels of the linguistic system in German, extending from preferences for particular morphemes to the structure of texts and genres, but they are felt especially in the field of lexis (for an overview, see Fiedler 2014, p. 29-38; 2018). Among the most important investigations into Anglicisms in the German language are large-scale descriptive studies by Carstensen & Galinsky (1963), Carstensen (1965), Fink (1970), Viereck (1980), Yang (1990), Lehnert (1990), Schelper (1995), Glahn (2002), Onysko (2007), Burmasova (2010), and the comprehensive dictionaries by Carstensen, Busse and Schmude (1993-1996) and Göhrlach (2001). Research has so far focused on Anglicisms in fields such as media, sports, business, journalism, science and technology, and advertising. This paper investigates the phenomenon in the area of cooking, using the example of the German TV cooking show “Die Küchenschlacht” (The Kitchen Battle). Following a characterisation of the genre of the cooking show in Section 2 and a description of the data and methods in Section 3, Section 4 will present the findings of the investigation as regards the structure of Anglicisms (simple and complex words as well as phraseological units), their types (direct borrowings, loan translations, and hybrid forms), usage and functions. Some final remarks and prospects for further research will conclude this paper.

2. The cooking show as a genre

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See https://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/171203/umfrage/interesse-an-kochshows-im-fernsehen/ [last access: 23 February 2022].

2TV cooking shows are going from strength to strength, and recent years have seen the emergence of a variety of formats. Oren (2013, p. 20-21) points out that “[p]opular food-themed TV programmes are so pervasive that, in many parts of the globe, a viewer can watch uninterrupted foodTV for twenty-four hours a day, everyday (sic).” Cooking shows have been around for a long time, as the first programme in Britain was broadcast at the end of the 1930s (Davidson, 2014); Collins (2008) describes the years from 1946-1962 as the Early Period of televised cooking shows in the US; and the first German programme of this kind, “Bitte in zehn Minuten zu Tisch” (Dinner Will Be Served in Ten Minutes) was broadcast in 1953 (Schmelz, 2018). In 2021, around 5.3 million Germans aged 14 or older very much enjoyed watching TV cooking shows such as “Das perfekte Dinner” (The Perfect Dinner) or “Die Küchenschlacht”1.

3On the basis of their long-standing tradition and socially-agreed-upon features and resulting viewer expectations, cooking shows can be regarded as a specific text type or genre. According to Swales (1990, p. 58),

[a] genre comprises a class of communicative events, the members of which share some set of communicative purposes. […] In addition to purpose, exemplars of a genre exhibit various patterns of similarity in terms of structure, style, content and intended audience.

4As regards their purpose, cooking shows are both educational and entertaining. They provide their audiences with practical cookery skills, the knowledge of vocabulary for ingredients and techniques, and facts about food and nutrition (e.g. how to eat healthier and how to save time). On the other hand, cooking shows incorporate entertainment, as cooking is presented as fun. Humour is evoked by both the hosts and the participating amateur cooks (see, for example, Matwick & Matwick’s 2015 and 2017 studies on teasing and self-deprecating humour in cooking programmes). In addition, cooking shows offer visual pleasure for home viewers by means of glamorous shots and suggestions for presenting food nicely.

5TV cooking programmes have evolved from being mainly instructive to competitive in nature (Collins, 2008; Mühleisen, 2022). Referring to examples from US contexts such as “Chopped” or “Iron Chef America”, Matwick & Matwick (2019) describe cooking competitions as one of six sub-genres of TV cooking shows as follows:

Chefs compete on a reality-based cooking show competition; suspenseful with elimination round; challenges include limited time and unusual ingredients; judged by a panel of renowned food authorities. (Matwick & Matwick, 2019, p. 12)

6The other sub-genres are How-to shows (in which a host shows viewers how to cook), Cooking live shows (in which a host interacts with a live audience, with an emphasis on entertainment), Food travel shows (in which a host travels and interacts with restaurateurs), Food talk shows (a talk show format about food with tips, games and recipes), and Food reality competitions (a dramatic and emotional format mentored by celebrity chefs, e.g. “Food Network Star” or “Worst Cooks in America”) (Matwick & Marwick, 2019, p. 12).

7An important feature of cooking shows is their narrative structure. They interweave storytelling and recipe telling. As Oren (2013, p. 20) emphasises, the climax of a competitive cooking show is not the successful completion and presentation of the dish itself but its evaluation by a judge.

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These are the amateur cooks’ tasks at the time of writing this article. They have varied over the course of the show, in previous years including, for example, the task to cook a meal with a limited selection of ingredients or to prepare both a starter and a main dish.

8The TV cooking show that serves as a basis of this investigation is the cooking competition “Die Küchenschlacht” (The Kitchen Battle), a 45-minute show that has been broadcast on ZDF (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen ‘Second German Television’), a German public-service television broadcaster), from Monday to Friday since 2008. It is a competition in which six amateur cooks compete against each other. On Monday, the contestants prepare their favourite dish, on Tuesday a starter, on Wednesday a vegetarian dish, on Thursday a main course based on a specific theme, and on Friday a dish following a recipe set by the celebrity chef who hosts the show2. In a tasting at the end of each programme, another celebrity chef decides which of the contestants will be eliminated. While preparing their dishes, the contestants converse with the host, answering questions about ingredients, preparation methods, but also about their hobbies and personal lives.

9Like many other cooking shows, “Die Küchenschlacht” has a “double audience” (Matwick & Matwick, 2014, p. 155). The host addresses both the co-present studio audience, occasionally including special guests such as previously eliminated amateur cooks or a contestant’s relatives, who are then sometimes interviewed, and the viewers at home, when they introduce the show’s participants or share kitchen tips. For the viewers at home, the show is suspenseful, as they get familiar with the amateur cooks over the course of the week and can sympathize with their favourite contestant. Another aspect that draws them is the fact that the recipes of the dishes prepared on the show can be accessed on its website. Altogether, “Die Küchenschlacht” has aired with great success in the past years. Since it was launched in 2008, its average audience ratings have increased from 1.07 to 2.09 million in 2021, which amounts to a present audience share of 17.6%. It is notable that the show has proved popular even among people between 14 and 49 years of age, with an audience share of 9.9% (Krei, 2021).

3. Data and method

10There are several reasons why the competitive cooking show “Die Küchenschlacht” has been chosen as a basis for this investigation into the use of Anglicisms. The first is that the area of cooking–despite the attention it has recently received in linguistics and media studies (as demonstrated by publications such as Culinary Linguistics [Gerhardt et al., 2013], Food Discourse and Celebrity Chefs of Food Network [Matwick & Matwick, 2019] or Talking about Food [Rüdiger & Mühleisen, 2020])has not attracted much interest in research on Anglicisms so far. This study should contribute to filling this gap. This topic seems particularly relevant because the preparation of food (or culinary art) has been traditionally connected with the French language (Serwe et al., 2013)–haute cuisine and mise en place are terms often heard in kitchens all over the world. The fact that Anglicisms have entered this arena–and that we seem to find more occurrences of just in time than of à la minute today–is clearly indicative of the fact that English has made noticeable inroads into other languages.

11A further reason is that Anglicisms cannot be restricted to word lexemes (simple words and compounds). There are many multi-word lexemes (i.e. phraseological units) among them, including conventionalized utterances used in recurrent situations (such as slogans, discourse markers, catchphrases, proverbs, and rhetorical formulae fulfilling various pragmatic functions), and these are a characteristic feature of oral communication and especially spontaneous speech. Cooking shows are a genre of oral communication, and the kitchen environment provides an informal space for interaction that induces productive and creative language use. True, the themes people talk about in the shows are restricted to a certain extent, as they are influenced by the meals being prepared. Also, it is obvious to the viewer that, when the host and amateur cooks talk about a contestant’s hobby or job, this is based on previous information. Nevertheless, due to unpredictable events during the preparation of the dishes there is much room for spontaneous reactions and responses, which is why the conversations between the host and the amateur cooks can be considered authentic and come close to approximating naturally occurring communication.

12The cooking show “Die Küchenschlacht” is a speech event with the following recurrent structure:

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Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, from 23 March 2020 there was no audience in the studio.

  1. The host welcomes the viewers at home and in the studio3.

  2. Video clips of scenes from the previous show present a recap, reminding viewers about the contestant who was eliminated. In video clips, the host and some of the amateur cooks give their opinions about the show, and the contestant who had to leave the show bids farewell to the others.

  3. The host announces the show’s theme or the contestants’ tasks as well as the celebrity chef who will evaluate their dishes at the end of the show.

  4. In video clips, some of the contestants comment on the choice of judge.

  5. The contestants, who have in the meantime already started cooking so as to make the most of the 35 minutes at their disposal, present their dishes. They have usually already practised their dishes at home, and a photograph of the result is shown and commented on by the host.

  6. The contestants continue cooking. They are asked by the host to describe their progress. Occasionally, the host comments on this, tastes parts of the meals or reacts to problems that he or she may become aware of. On Thursdays and Fridays, the host prepares a dish himself/herself.

  7. A countdown accompanied by studio effects tells the amateur cooks that they have only two more minutes to finish their dishes and to prepare them for presentation.

  8. The amateur cooks evaluate their own dishes and, occasionally, describe difficulties that they had to overcome.

  9. The host welcomes the celebrity chef.

  10. The celebrity chef evaluates the contestants’ dishes and chooses both a winner and a cook who has to leave the show.

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Transcription conventions include: (text) parentheses indicate uncertainty on the transcriber’s part; text- a single dash indicates an abrupt cut-off or self-interruption in the flow of speech; TEXT capital letters indicate special emphasis.

13The material used for this study includes a random selection of video recordings of 158 cooking shows broadcast in the years from 2018 to 2021. With our focus on naturally occurring communication, elements (B) and (D) were excluded from the analysis, as these mainly comprise repeat scenes and clips that were prepared prior to the show. The dataset amounts to about 115 hours of video recordings with about 500 contestants and 22 celebrity chefs. Its analysis resulted in a collection of 390 Anglicisms in total, of which 246 (=63.1%) are words and 144 (=36.9%) phraseological units. Due to time constraints, only the passages containing Anglicisms have been fully transcribed. The transcription conventions, tailored to the needs of this study, are based mainly on the systems of Levinson (1983), Firth (1996) and Wagner & Firth (1997)4.

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Cf. https://lex-it.inl.nl/lexit2/?db=glad&lang=en.

14The identification of Anglicisms can be difficult, given that a large number of them occur as loan translations (calques), which are inconspicuous due to the lack of salience. Changes in the vocabulary of a language do not need to be a result of language contact, but can also be caused by the revitalization of lexis from an earlier period. In a previous study (Fiedler, 2012), four criteria were proposed to determine the English provenance of lexical material: (1) use in an English-speaking context (including translations), (2) explicit metacommunicative signalling of the origin (e.g. as the English say), (3) variability of form, and (4) parallel developments in other languages. As regards the fourth criterion, the joint endeavour by researchers to compile a Global Anglicism Database (GLAD) has provided important insights5. This study also utilises corpus-based approaches. Steyer (2004, p. 93) introduced the term “consultation paradigm” (Konsultationsparadigma) to describe the method where a corpus is used to obtain data which test a hypothesis that was made about a unit previously. This approach was adopted here: the collection of potential Anglicisms compiled by the author of this article was verified by means of the corpus of the Institut für Deutsche Sprache (IDS) in Mannheim (DeReKo-2021-I) (See 4.2.).

4. Anglicisms in “Die Küchenschlacht”

4.1. Classifications

15When we classify the main part of Anglicisms–these are the simple and complex words–according to word classes, the findings of previous investigations into Anglicisms in the German language are confirmed: nouns clearly dominate (see Figure 1). They are used, above all, to denominate ingredients and dishes, e.g. Dressing, dry-aged Lamm, Pulled Pork, Baconjam, Signature Dish, Salad Bowl, Burger, Crunch, Soulfood, Comfortfood, Curry, Eggnog, Sidekick, Gadget, Streetfood, Cheesecake, Kekscrunch, Chutney, Food Pairing, Eyecatcher, Old-School-Beilage, Patty, Chicken Fingers, Parmesanchip, Double Chocolate Drip Cake.

16Verbs are the second most frequent word class. While most of them denominate kitchen techniques (e.g. [auf]pimpen, flavourn, crashen, upmoven, shaken, finishen, [auf]peppen, peppern, einwrappen), others refer to the amateur cooks’ feelings and attitudes (e.g. flashen, concentrate, rocken, wegbattlen, fighten, sich committen).

17Adjectives describe the quality of ingredients and dishes and the manner of their preparation, e.g.

18spicy, nice, cool, nature-belassen (natural, lit. nature-kept), hot, tricky, dangerous, easy, easy-peasy, fancy, crispy, crunchy, hand-made.

19Interjections are often used to express pleasure about successful work (e.g. Yes) and admiration for contestants’ dishes (e.g. Wow).

Figure 1: Distribution of word classes among word-like Anglicisms

Figure 1: Distribution of word classes among word-like Anglicisms

20The decision on whether an Anglicism should belong to the group of word-like or phrase/sentence-like items, is not always an easy one to make. At first sight, in examples [1] to [3], ever, reloaded, and safe are the only English elements in the German text, which is why we might tend to identify them as word-like direct borrowings.

[1] Wir haben natürlich heute die charmanteste, beste und liebste Jurorin ever, ein ganz toller Mensch und eine wunderbare Köchin–Cornelia Poletto wird heute zu uns kommen. (11 November 2019) [Today of course we have the most charming, the best and nicest juror ever, a great woman and wonderful cook–Cornelia Poletto will be joining us today.]

[2] Himmel und Erde reloaded (22 July 2019) [Heaven and earth (= a traditional German dish) reloaded.]

[3] Deine Manti, da brauchen wir uns keine Sorgen machen? – Die sind safe, ja. (18 November 2019) [Your manti, we don’t have to be worried about them? – They are safe, yes.]

21A comparison with other occurrences of these items in the dataset, however, leads us to the conclusion that it is not single words, but recurrent structures or patterns that are borrowed from English:

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There is only one occurrence of safe as a noun modifier: ein safer Gang (‘a safe dish’).

  • Determiner + Adjective (in superlative form) + Noun + ever, (e.g. die romantischste Küchenschlacht ever ‘the most romantic Küchenschlacht ever’ [8 February 2018]);

  • Noun [denominating a dish] + reloaded (e.g. Brot-Suppe reloaded ‘bread soup reloaded’ [16 November 2020])

  • Noun + be + safe / be + safe [with something] (e.g. das Fleisch ist safe ‘the meat is safe’ (29 January 2021) / Was macht deine Ente? Bist du safe damit? (24 May 2019) [How is your duck? Are you on the safe side with it?]6.

22Here again, our knowledge of parallel loan processes in other languages can be helpful in identifying Anglicisms. An example is the pattern (the best/… ever), which has been described as a recent instance of an English borrowing in Scandinavian languages (Zenner et al. 2018, Anderson 2020).

23The significance of multiword items (or phraseological units) among Anglicisms can not only be seen in their number (36.9% of all items, see above), but also in the fact that they represent almost all of the conventional types of phraseological units (cf. Burger et al., 2007, Fiedler, 2007), such as nominations (e.g. Jerk-Chicken-Burger), binomials (e.g. Surf & Turf), restricted collocations (e.g. ein Statement setzen ‘to make a statement’), catchphrases (e.g. Shit happens), proverbs (e.g. Never trust a skinny cook), and routine formulae (e.g. by the way).

24Linguistic items borrowed from another language can be classified according to their degree of integration into the recipient language, as proposed in the seminal works on loan influence by Haugen (1950) and Weinreich (1953). Taking a closer look at the examples mentioned so far, we become aware that the following three types of Anglicisms can be identified in the dataset: direct borrowing, loan translations, and hybrid forms (cf. Fiedler, 2014, p. 41-49):

  • The first group is made up of items whose form and content are borrowed from English. They are used in their original English form and can therefore easily be identified as “foreign”. As Haugen (1950, p. 214) puts it, they “show morphemic importation without substitution”. Examples from the cooking shows analysed include items such as relax, geflasht (be blown away) or formulae such as That’s it! (18 July 2019).

  • The second group comprises items that are inconspicuous. The form is translated (or in Haugen’s term “substituted”) by German material. These are loan translations (also known as calques). Examples from the cooking shows are Komfortzone (comfort zone) or jemandem den Tag retten (cf. Engl. to save the day).

  • A third group that can be identified includes hybrid constructions characterised by “the transfer of some elements and the reproduction of others” (Weinreich, 1953, p. 51). Examples are Speedköchin (lit. speed cook), burnermäßig (burner-like) or OK sein (‘to be OK’).

25The title of this paper contains two different types of borrowings. Whereas Topping will be immediately identified as an Anglicism because of its English morphemes, many German speakers might perceive fein sein mit etwas (to be fine with sth.) as a neologism in German, but not necessarily as English.

26Processes of borrowing are complex and heterogeneous (Winter-Froemel, 2013). This is also evidenced in the fact that the three types of loans can occur simultaneously. For example, we find twenty-four seven both as a loan translation (vierundzwanzig sieben) and in its original English form (see examples [4] and [5]). Similarly, in the dataset Signature Dish and Highlight Dish occur as direct loans (Signature-Dish, Highlight-Dish) and as hybrids (Signature-Gericht, Highlight-Gericht).

[4] So ein Tag ist echt anstrengend (…) Erzähl mal, wie das bei dir so war. – Ja, vor allem vierundzwanzig sieben, ne, man hat eigentlich keinen Tag frei. (31 March 2021) [A day like this is really exhausting (…) Tell us what it was like for you – True, above all twenty-four seven, yeah, you don’t get a day off actually.]

[5] Wir arbeiten in einer Werbeagentur, auch zusammen, also wir sehen uns twenty-four seven gefühlt. Aber es funktioniert gut. (9 January 2020) [We work in an advertising agency, together, so it feels like we see each other twenty-four seven. But it works well.]

27When we quantify the results according to the degree of integration into the German language, an interesting difference between word lexemes and multiword lexemes emerges (see Table 1). In both categories, the majority of Anglicisms are direct borrowings, but within the group of phraseological units, loan translations and hybrid forms are more frequent.

Table 1: Types of Anglicisms (For examples of the three types, see above.)

Direct borrowings

Loan translations

Hybrid forms

Word lexemes




Phraseological units




4.2. Anglicisms in “Die Küchenschlacht” in comparison with other sources

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Researchers determine different threshold values: Onysko (2007) considers Anglicisms occurring more than three times in his corpus to be “frequent”; Moon (2008) includes items with a frequency of three, taking Evert’s (2004) statistical analyses as a basis; Quasthoff et al. (2010) point out that a phraseological unit with a frequency of ten can be identified automatically in web corpora.

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Last access 8 March 2022.

28Table 2 presents twenty Anglicisms from our dataset that occurred at least five times7, together with the number of their occurrences in DeReKo and the languages for which the unit has also been established as an Anglicism in GLAD8. The list includes eleven word lexemes and nine phraseological units.

Table 2: Anglicisms in the dataset, the German corpus DeReKo and the database GLAD

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For some of the Anglicisms in this list, the data found in DeReKo have to be checked carefully, as the corpus includes passages of English text. The year 1948 as the first evidence of Challenge, for example, is misleading. Carstensen et al. (1994, p. 642), in their article “Herausforderung” (challenge), point out that in contrast to the German loan translation the English form Challenge has not gained acceptance. See also the comments on am Ende des Tages (at the end of the day), nice, easy and tricky.



Entries in GLAD

safe sein (with sth.) (to be on the safe side with sth.)

22 (1999-2020)



54,964 (1948-2020)9

Catalan, Danish, Dutch, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Russian, Spanish


117,220 (1950-2020)

Albanian, Catalan, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, French, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian (Bokmål), Polish, Spanish


12,617 (1947-2020) (before 2012 only in quotes “Nice to meet you”, Mr Nice Guy)

Danish, Japanese, Korean


12,650 (1980-2020)

Catalan, Danish, French, Japanese, Polish, Spanish

am Ende des Tages (at the end of the day)

14,066 (1989-2020) (use of the phrase in its figurative sense ‘finally/considering all circumstances’ only began in the late 1980s)

Albanian, Danish, Polish; also Spanish (see Oncins-Martínez 2012)


29,223 (1950-2020) (according to Carstensen et al., first evidence in 1982; earlier uses in “Take it easy” and “Easy Rider”)

Italian, Japanese, Norwegian (Bokmål)


3,625 (1957-2020) (according to Carstensen et al., from 1973 on and mainly used for people; in our dataset referring to ‘sth. difficult to do’)


Komfortzone / aus der Komfortzone holen (to take sb. out of their comfort zone)

4,868 (1995-2020)

Danish, Italian

(just) in time

5,972 (1949-2020) (according to Carstensen et al. just in time from 1987 onwards)


too much

2,672 (1950-2020) (before 2012, in quotes only)

Signature Dish

136 (2004-2020)

Czech, Danish

fein sein (mit etwas) (to be fine with sth.)

13 (2018-2020)

Danish (fine with me)

magic moment

72 (1991-2020)

Zeitmanagement (time management)

5,997 (1987-2020)

Czech, Japanese, Russian


706 (1994-2020)

Danish, Japanese

Surf and Turf / Surf & Turf / Surf ‘n’ Turf

318 (1994-1010)

Let’s go!

1,639 (1955-2020)

Danish, Korean

im Flow sein (to be in the flow)

605 (1996-2020)

Fusion Kitchen

12 (2002-2018)


29It can be seen that the English words and expressions entered the German language at different times, with six of them imported in the 1990s. Some specific culinary terms (e.g. Signature Dish) have been in use since the 2000s. Some of the phraseological units whose use might be considered typical of “Die Küchenschlacht” (e.g. mit etwas safe sein ‘to be safe with sth., to be on the safe side with sth.’ / etwas ist safe ‘sth. is safe’ and fein sein mit etwas ‘to be fine with sth., to have managed sth., to be well on one’s way’) seem to be of very recent origin, and they are not frequent in the German corpus and have not yet gained currency in other languages either.

4.3. Usage and functions

30The Anglicisms in our dataset are closely related to the features of the genre. Words and expressions such as Challenge, Let’s go!, mit X safe sein / X ist safe (to be on the safe side with sth.), jemanden aus seiner Komfortzone holen (take / force sb. out of their comfort zone), (auf)pimpen (to pimp), ready, back in the game, am Ende des Tages (at the end of the day) or fein sein mit X (to have managed / to be well on one’s way) reflect the character of “Die Küchenschlacht” as a competitive show. Others illustrate how important evaluations are in the show (e.g. nice, cool, einen guten Job machen [to do a good job]).

31An important function of the Anglicisms in our dataset is the denomination of ingredients, dishes, and utensils. The use of culinary jargon showcases the celebrity chefs’ as well as some amateur cooks’ expertise and knowledge, and the genre contributes to making highly specific culinary terms a part of everyday language. Examples include Five Spice, green-zebra Tomate, smoken, Fusion Kitchen, Ceasar Style, Surf & Turf, and Flaming Gun. These words and expressions are “cultural loans” (Haspelmath, 2008), i.e. Anglicisms that were adopted to introduce the new ingredients and food trends.

32A second function of Anglicisms is closely related to how the show serves to entertain. Borrowings from English are often used because of the prestige that the English language enjoys as the embodiment of modern life, international flair, youth, coolness, informality, and education. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that English expressions play a significant role in general in this TV format. For example, the themes chosen for some of the Thursday programmes (see Section 2) are presented in English, such as Low Carb (8 April 2020), Hot & Spicy (18 March 2020), and Simply the Best (9 March 2021). In addition, a 2015 Christmas special titled Coming home for cooking saw former contestants return to the studio, and the weekly winners compete against each other in a final week at the end of the year called Champions Week. This shows that English slogans and set expressions are an integral part of the structure of the shows and that their use can serve as an in-group marker for their viewers.

33Humour is a central element of entertainment. English words and phrases are interspersed for this purpose. For example, hosts create funny names for contestants and colleagues (see examples [6] and [7]), or they deliberately mishear or misinterpret a phrase in a way that gives it a fun new meaning (see example [8]).

[6] Wenn Johann Lafer nachher kommt, Mr Dessert himself, das ist tricky (…) (23 April 2020) [When Johann Lafer comes later, Mr. Dessert himself, that’s tricky (…)]

[7] Mr Putenbrust Frank [fræŋk], wie ist es gewesen für dich? (9 July 2020) [Mr. Turkey breast Frank, how was it for you?])

[8] Bei mir gibt es heute einen Hühnerhautchip, den ich-  Was, einen Hühnerhauptshit? (16 March 2021) [Today I am preparing a crispy chicken skin chip, which I–  What, a chicken head shit?]

34Furthermore, hosts and contestants modify English phrases creatively to evoke humour, as can be seen in examples [9] to [12]. It is quite often that the codemix reminds us of Macaronic poetry, a traditional comedy strategy (see examples [13] to [15]).

[9] Ich wollte einfach mal so “High Five” und sie war so, weißte, “High Face”. (25 July 2019) [I was just doing like ‘High Five’, and she was you know ‘High Face’’.]

[10] (presenting the prepared dishes:) Ja, Lars but not least, ne, auch du musstest diese Aufgabe heute bewältigen. (16 March 2021) [Yes, Lars (= the contestant’s first name) but not least, you too had to manage this task today.]

[11] Nun bist du die letzte hier in der Runde. – Ja, last woman standing. (19 August 2021) [You’re the last woman in this round.  Yes, the last woman standing.]

[12] Mach die Bratkartoffeln, make Bratkartoffel sexy again. (9 Sept 2021) [Make fried potatoes, make fried potatoes sexy again.]

[13] This is part one of the Entenleber. (26 June 2020) [This is part one of the duck liver.]

[14] Dann ist das Curry so gut wie ready. (8 January 2020) [Then the curry is just about finished. (so gut wie fertig ‘as good as ready’ is a set phrase in German.)]

[15] Vielleicht erinnern Sie sich noch aus dem letzten Jahr. Er ist back at the Weihnachtsmarkt. (28 November 2019) [You might still remember from last year. He is back at the Christmas market.]

35Occasionally, we find self-ironic comments on the use of English words and phrases, as in the following examples (see [16] and [17]):

[16] Ja, das ist die Challenge–auf Neudeutsch. (25 November 2019) [Yes, this is the challenge–as they say in German newspeak.]

[17] Das wird gewürzt mit Five Spice – Ja, Five Spice müssen wir erklären, das sind fünf Gewürze, so viel Englisch können wir. (31 October 2019) [This is spiced with five spice – Well, five spice, we have to explain this, it means five spices, this is how far we get with our school-boy English.]

36In example [18], the use of English is made the topic of conversation. The humorous discourse based on English borrowings is even continued in succeeding shows, in this way enhancing coherence within the shows and deepening the relationship with the studio audience and TV viewers. The host plays with the contestant’s English job title (Feelgood Manager) and the way he uses the term back-up for a part of his dish that is prepared as a hidden reserve for use in an emergency, which is then even copied by another contestant.

[18] Contestant 1 (Lucas): Hallo, ich bin (…), 26 Jahre alt und ich bin Feelgood Manager. (26 August 2019, 1:50) [Hello, I’m (…), 26 years old and I’m a feelgood manager.]
Host: (addressing the viewers)
Hm, wenn man dann am ersten Tag rausfliegt, ist vielleicht nicht mehr so viel feel good, aber das kann er ja dann managen. [Well, if he ends up being eliminated on the first day, that may not feel so good any more, but he’ll be able to manage it.]
Meine Damen und Herren, kennen Sie den Beruf eines Feelgood Managers? (…) Hier steht einer–Lucas. (…) Fühlst du dich gut? (…) Erzähl mal kurz, was ist denn ein Feelgood Manager? (28 August 2019, 12:10) [Ladies and gentlemen, have you ever heard of a feelgood manager) (…)? Here is one–Lucas. Do you feel good? (…) Tell us briefly, what is a feelgood manager?]
Contestant 1 (Lucas):
Ich betreibe einen kleinen Co-working Space hier um die Ecke. Da kannst du hinkommen mit deinem Laptop (…) das ist gerade für Freelancer total wichtig. (12:28) [I run a small co-working space just around the corner. You can go there with your laptop (…) for freelancers, this is really important.]
Wir haben einen Feelgood Manager, der natürlich auch ein Feelgood-Gericht dabeihat. (13:20) (…) [We’ve got a feelgood manager here, who has of course brought a feelgood dish.]
Das Ei pochiert hier so vor sich hin. Eins hattest du hier schon, hab’ ich gesehen, eins oder zwei. (24:35) [The egg is poaching away here. There was one here already, I saw it, one or two.]
Contestant 1:
Ja, das ist so’n Back-up-Ei. [Yes, that is a sort of back-up egg.]
Ein BACK-UP-EI! Wenn man diese Co-working-Space-Besitzer [hat], die Feelgood-Manager sind, dann braucht man natürlich auch ein Back-up-Ei, yeah. [A BACK-UP EGG! If you (have) these co-working space owners, who are feelgood managers, you need a back-up egg, of course, yeah.]
Du hast dein Hähnchen schon rausgelegt. Das macht ein bisschen Sorge, vier Minuten Zeit ist noch. (30 August 2019, 28:54) [You have already taken out your chicken? I worry a bit, there are four minutes left.]
Contestant 1:
Das ist das berühmte Back-up-Hähnchen. [This is the famous back-up chicken.]
Tatsächlich, Lucas hat das berühmte Back-up-Hähnchen bzw. die Back-up-Zutat geprägt. Bei ihm gab es ein Back-up-Ei (…) Aber was soll man bei einem Feelgood-Manager auch erwarten? (Applause) [Indeed, Lucas coined the famous back-up chicken, or better the back-up ingredient. He prepared a back-up egg (…) But what else would you expect from a feelgood manager?]
Das rechts sieht noch sehr roh aus. (29:20) [The one on the right still looks very raw.]
Contestant 2 (Pauline):
Ja, deshalb hab’ ich die kleinen auch back-up-mäßig gemacht. [Yes, this is why I prepared the small ones “back-up style”.]

37It is noteworthy that in a considerable number of occasions we find combinations of English and German. The use of an English expression follows a German expression of the same content, obviously serving as an intensification of expressiveness and power of persuasion (see examples [19] to [21]), or an English expression is immediately followed by its translation (see examples [22] to [24]).

[19] Fleisch mit Knochen zu braten ist immer ein bissl eine Herausforderung–eine Challenge. (7 October 2019) [Roasting meat with bones is always a bit of a challenge–a challenge.]

[20] Aber niemals aufgeben. You never give up. (6 June 2019) [But never give up. You never give up.]

[21] Das ist stimmig, das passt halt, von den Aromen her, vom Geschmack her, vom Tasting her. (25 March 2021) [This is coherent, it simply fits, as regard the flavours, as regards the taste, as regards the taste.]

38Examples like these show that hosts and contestants insert English words and phrases not so much for communicative purposes but for the reason of being expressive and entertaining, giving their speech a more lively, modern and colloquial style (cf. Androutsopoulos 2007).

[22] Ja, nice, nett, läuft. (8 August 2019) [Yes, nice, nice, looking good.]

[23] Das merkt man, das ist hand-made, das ist handgemacht. (22 October 2019) [You can tell, it’s hand-made, it’s hand-made.]

[24] Es sieht aus wie Pulled Pork, also gezupftes Schwein. (30 January 2020) [It looks like pulled pork, that is pulled pork.]

Note de bas de page 10 :

This attitude is also reflected in the following posts on the show’s Facebook page. E.g.:
- Ich musste schon wieder nachschauen: „Bist du in shape?!!!“ Die Medienwelt ist durchzogen von Anglizismen […] Was soll das? Fühlen sich die, die es benutzen, besser, klüger oder was?
- Die fühlen sich cooler. Der Rest lacht darüber
. (18 January 2021) https://en-gb.facebook.com/pg/Kuechenschlacht/posts/
[- I had to look something up again. “Are you in shape?!!!” The media is riddled with Anglicisms (…) What’s the point? Do those who use it feel better, smarter, or what?
- They feel cooler. The others laugh about it.]

39The frequent translation of English expressions into German could also be explained by the fact that, in public service television, hosts might feel obliged to make sure that the audience is able to understand everything. The use of Anglicisms is not entirely undisputed among the German public. Some people are concerned about the dominant role of English and, from a language cultivation perspective, some even consider the massive borrowing to be a threat to their mother tongue10. The following conversation between a contestant and the host might be seen in this context (see also example [17]). However, more detailed investigation, including interviews with hosts and contestants of the show, would be necessary to confirm this assumption.

[25] - Und die Baconjam, ist das was sagen wir mal a bissl was Scharfes auch?
- Eigentlich nicht.
- Wenn du’s übersetzen würdest ins Deutsche, was würdest da sagen?
- Es wär’ eine Speckmarmelade.
- Eine Speckmarmelade, das passt doch.
- So richtig deutsch: Speckmarmelade
- OK, also wobei wir Deutsch jetzt nicht abwerten, gell.
- Nein, auf gar keinen Fall.
- Es muss ja nicht immer alles auf Englisch sein.
Es (dürfen) ja auch immer noch ein paar deutsche Sätze dabei sein. (21 June 2021)
[- And the bacon jam, is it, would you say, a bit spicy?
- Not really.
- If you translated it into German, what would you say?
- It would be “Speckmarmelade”.
- “Speckmarmelade”, that fits.
- In real German: “Speckmarmelade”.
- OK, we don’t want to devalue German, right?
- No, by no means.
- After all, not everything has to be English. A few German sentences are allowed as well.]

Note de bas de page 11 :

It is difficult to find clear-cut differences between borrowing and code-switching. A number of authors have discussed the relationship between these two types of contact form, using criteria such as frequency, degrees of assimilation and existence of an equivalent in the receiving language (Gardner-Chloras, 2013; Matras, 2009, p. 110-114; Myers-Scotton, 1992; Onysko, 2007; Romaine, 1995).

40In this regard, it is worth mentioning that English words and phrases in our dataset are not always used in the same way as in the donor language. Deviations concern their form (e.g. step for step [18 June 2020], relative easy [24 March 2020]), pronunciation (e.g. finger pronounced fɪŋə at the beginning and fɪŋgə at the end of the show [9 September 2021]), their pragmatic use (e.g. Dann müssen jetzt die Linsen dazu ‘Then the lentils have to be added now’. Thanks for asking. [9 July 2020]), and translation (Morgen ist ein Motto, das ist großarrtig–Simply the best. Die absolut simplen, leichten Geschichten werden wir kochen. [Tomorrow we’ll have a great theme–Simply the Best. We’ll prepare absolutely simple, easy things]). English borrowings certainly have their point of departure with bilingual speakers (Haspelmath 2008). Their further use and dispersal, however, can be attributed to people with lower degrees of bilingualism, including speakers “with only a few words and phrases in a second language” (Li 2000, p. 6). Busse (2005, p. 67) writes about people’s motivation for using Anglicisms: “For many speakers with only limited knowledge their meaning is often only vague, but these words seem to convey an air of fashionable prestige.”11

Note de bas de page 12 :

See also Fiedler (2013) on phraseological units used in this function in the genre of talk shows.

41The third function of Anglicisms that can be observed in the dataset is connected with the discursive character of the cooking shows. The amateur cooks have to prepare their meals and converse with the host at the same time. The use of prefabricated speech, i.e. of ready-made constructions that the speaker does not have to produce laboriously, but can reproduce holistically from memory, seems to be a solution to such difficult communicative situations, and the origin of the reproduced material does not seem to matter. The use of catchphrases or clichés (including those in English) can help “bridge gaps” in the show when people do not know what to say or how to react12. This can happen when contestants are pressed for time or become aware of mishaps, or when accidents in the cooking process occur (see examples [26] and [27]).

[26] Und das Soßerl? – Ist- is in the making. (6 August 2019) [And the gravy? – Is, it is in the making.]

[27] Normalerweise wird der Reis so’n bisschen fester an sich, sodass das wie so’n Kuchenstück ist, wenn man das anschneidet. Aber gut. Nobody is perfect. (27 January 2020) [Normally, the rice gets a bit more solid, more like a piece of cake when you cut into it. But OK. Nobody is perfect.]

42From the host’s perspective, examples [28] and [29] represent such situations. In [28], one of the contestants pounds her schnitzel so loudly that the host cannot be understood. And in [29] the two final contestants in the last show of the week are too nervous to take part in the conversation. An English ad-hoc creation seems to be a solution in [28], while [29] alludes to the name of an Austrian TV cooking show (2006-2011, 3Sat).

[28] Aha, es wird gehämmert. It’s hammer time. (6 September 2019) [Well, sounds like hammering. It’s hammer time.]

[29] Vom Timing her auch OK ? – Ja. – Aber ich sehe schon. Ihr bevorzugt heute das Silent Cooking. OK. Ich widme mich mal meinem Fisch. (19 June 2020) [Are you OK for time? – Yes. – But I see. You prefer silent cooking today. So I’ll take care of my fish then.]

Note de bas de page 13 :

See, for example, analyses of the shows MasterChef and Nailed It! by Philips (2016), Oren (2013), and Kutlu (2021).

43Finally, a specific pragmatic function should be mentioned: the use of English borrowings in judgements. As described in Section 2, the evaluation of the dishes by a celebrity chef constitutes the climax of a competitive cooking show. In contrast to a number of other TV programmes in which the contestants have to face harsh criticism or even aggressive and humiliating judgements13, the final evaluations in “Die Küchenschlacht” are nuanced and positive. More often than not, judges express how difficult it is for them to eliminate one of the amateur cooks and to choose the best dish. Positive criticism and sharing skills and knowledge seem to prevail even in this last part of the show. In this context, Anglicisms seem to fulfil two tasks. Firstly, they can be used to emphasise favourable assessments, as in [30] to [32]. Viewers have the impression that German expressions are simply not enough to praise the quality of a particular dish. Words such as nice, powerful and outstanding permeate the judgements.

[30] Das ist ein Masterpiece and für mich klar weiter. (19 June 2019) [This is a masterpiece and for me clearly a ticket to the next round.]

[31] Der Geschmack ist wirklich outstanding. (7 June 2019) [The taste really is outstanding.]

[32] Hm, I love Kaiserschmarren. (4 July 2019) [Hm, I love sugared pancake with raisins.]

44Secondly, and even more frequently, Anglicisms seem to be used to alleviate negative judgements. English expressions such as too much, old school or no go sound better than their German equivalents (übertrieben, altmodisch, unakzeptabel) (see [33] to [35]); in addition, innovative expressions in English give judges the opportunity to be vague when delivering negative feedback (see [36] and [37]).

[33] Also, von der Anrichteweise ist das ein hei bisschen too much. (6 June 2019) [Well, as regards the presentation this is a bit too much.]

[34] Ein bissl Old School, aber trotzdem sehr charmant umgesetzt (5 September 2019) [A bit old school, but nevertheless charmingly executed.]

[35] Hier haben wir rohes Fleisch, das ist absolut ein No Go. (28 August 2019) [Here we have raw meat, which is absolutely no-go.]

[36] Ein bisschen Partyfeeling fehlt diesem Fisch. (16 March 2020) [This fish lacks a little party feeling; meaning approximately: it is not well seasoned.]

[37] Vielleicht noch ein bisschen mehr Handschrift, bisschen mehr Storytelling, ein bisschen Geschichte. (16 March 2020) [Perhaps a bit more signature, a bit more storytelling, a bit more story.]

45The two ways of using Anglicisms in judgements can be seen as sociopragmatic choices (Hunston, 2013; Crombez et al., 2022). They soften the impact of negative evaluations and provide a resource for expressing indirectness. This strategy of showing politeness is intended to avoid face-threatening acts (Brown and Levinson, 1987).

5. Concluding remarks

46The study has shown that the massive impact of English on the German language can also be felt in the area of cooking. Loans from English (borrowings used in their original form, loan translations and hybrids) play an important role in TV cooking shows. They serve various functions, including the denomination of ingredients, dishes and methods of food preparation, but also the function of entertaining the studio audience and TV viewers. Participants also use English expressions to construct language-based humour. A large number of the Anglicisms found reflects the character of the show as a cooking competition. Altogether, the language of cooking shows can be described as vivid, informal, playful and innovative, and borrowings from English contribute to this.

47Given this paper’s focus on Anglicisms, this study was unable to address a number of issues worth exploring. These include, for example, the character of the cooking show as a semantically complex (or multimodal) genre. Indeed, further research should pay attention to the investigation of sound, visual elements and the presentation of captions with recipes on the screen and their relationship to spoken interactions. Furthermore, it would be worthwhile to study the influence that the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic (no studio audience, social distancing between contestants and the host) in some of the shows had on language use and participant interaction. Finally, further studies might explore to what extent language use, and especially the use of Anglicisms, is reflected in the way the show’s fans communicate on Facebook and in TV viewers’ comments on the show’s website.