A vivid discussion on facebook yesterday. I wrote “ich popp kurz aufm Nachhauseweg vorbei“ on a friend’s wall. Literally “I pop briefly on-the way-home over” meaning “I’ll briefly pop in on my way home”. A friend (who learns German) asked whether “pop by”, i.e. my German “vorbeipoppen” had entered the German lexicon. No. That is just my screwed-up German (see this post).
In fact, when you say “poppen”, Germans think of something completely different (refer to this translation please). For me, however, this denotation has been ‘replaced’ by the English one.
I frequently borrow words or proverbs from English when the German one doesn’t ‘pop into’ my head; I make the word obey phonological and morphological principles so that it sounds more German, or translate the proverb literally (which usually ends up making no or little sense [e.g. “I am looking forward to” – you’d never say “Ich schaue vorwärts/nach vorn zu…”]). Interestingly though, I am not saying “to pop in” (“hineinpoppen” I suppose, since “hinein” is the only translation for “in” that sounds somewhat right in this expression) in German, rather “to pop over” (which wouldn’t be used in the above context). Any ideas why?
In the end of the day, no matter how much I enjoy creating neologisms, it is rather unlikely that “vorbeipoppen” will anytime soon enter the German lexicon. Not only because of the current meaning of “poppen” but also because “to pop in/round” is used in Britain and anglicisms in German tend to come from American English…
Ms J. (it was her wall I posted on and she was part of that discussion), I really think you should NOT get on that plane tomorrow – can’t you see what’s happening to my German? You need to stay to keep my language skills alive!
No. I don’t have skype. Actually, I don’t even have internet access, you know. Seems as if you really have to stay!
If you do leave anyway, do me the favour and use vorbeipoppen and let me know how people react 😉 (I expect increasingly more google search results as time goes by!) And think of me when you listen to this song that I only like because of that very pop.
*I didn’t include websites containing conjugated forms of “vorbeipoppen”