German words weaved their way
into America's daily dialect
Americans speak a little German every day without even realizing it. For example, following a sneeze, the typical expression is "Gesundheit!" - which is German for "to your health."
Many words are identical in both German and English, such as finger, hand, arm, winter and wind. Others are only slightly changed: Schulter - shoulder; knie - knee; Mutter - mother; Onkel - uncle; Garten - garden; grun - green; blau - blue; fein - fine; rot -red.
Americans also use words such as Inspiration, Student, Semester and Chance - identical in both languages except for the capitalization in German.
The words listed below have become so common in English they are now considered part of the American language:
streusel (cake or topping)
lied (pronounced leet)
Source: German-American Heritage Teaching Guide, Dr. Don Heinrich Tolzmann, University of Cincinnati, 513.556.1955
Special thanks to Don Tolzmann, Director of the German-American Studies Program at the University of Cincinnati for his contributions to this site.