UnEnglish Anglicism

Anglicism of the year in German for 2019 was a phrase that is made of English words, but isn’t English at all. “for future”, created by Greta Thunberg.

Laudatio zum Anglizismus des Jahres 2019: … for Future | Sprachlog

As Anatol Stefanowitsch commented on Sprachlog, what makes this phrase sound so odd is the lack of a definite article. for the future would sound much better. He also commented that people were creating and using many analogous phrases in German.

Examples he gives include Omas for Future, Bad Zwischenahn For Future, Freie Demokraten for future, CDU for Future, Fahrradkuriere for Future, Tennis for Future, Flugbegleiter for Future, Bernsdorfer Oberschule for Future, Spielmobil for future, Mehrweg for Future, Kleidertausch for future, Radeln for Future, Silvester for Future, Handwerk for Future, Bildung for Future.

2 comments

  1. Not sure I agree that the definite article is required or that its omission results in an unEnglish Anglicism. Both ‘in future’ and ‘in the future’ are valid English phrases, but they do not have the same meaning.

    ‘In future’ (particularly in British English usage) means ‘from now on’. ‘In future, please knock on the door before entering.’

    ‘In the future’ means “at some undefined time in the future”. ‘A tornado touched down in London in July 2021, and it may well happen again in the future.’

    My view seems to be backed up by the Canadian Government’s guidance:

    https://www.btb.termiumplus.gc.ca/tpv2guides/guides/favart/index-eng.html?lang=eng&lettr=indx_titls&page=9VorV7jvi51w.html

    And by several on-line grammarians:

    https://jakubmarian.com/in-the-future-vs-in-future-in-british-and-american-english/

    https://blog.harwardcommunications.com/2014/04/11/the-difference-between-in-future-and-in-the-future/

    https://www.quora.com/Which-is-correct-in-the-future-or-in-future

    The Swedish name of Ms Thunberg’s movement Skolstrejk för klimatet (definite article not needed in the Swedish language) is widely translated to English as School Strike for Climate (without the definite article). Similarly, her clarion call is translated as Fridays for Future. But is the omission of the definite article solely the result of transferring a peculiarity of the Swedish language into a globally acceptable English phrase? Or does the omission of the definite article better convey the view likely held by environmentalists that better care of our climate is needed from now on, and until progress is made we should have strikes on Fridays from now on?

    1. Thanks, and thanks for the interesting links. I have just been browsing those sites for longer than I meant to!
      I agree with what you say about the distinction between ‘in future’ and ‘in the future’. I also agree with the following comments in some of your links: ‘in future’ sometimes carries a connotation of a warning or admonition. I suspect that admonitory component is closely linked to the idea of ‘from now on’, so is perhaps not a separate feature.
      The article I linked to (in German only) was about ‘for future’, though. I still can’t think of a plausible context that would make ‘for future’ sound right to me.
      A point made in the original article is that the Swedish name of the movement (… klimatet) does in fact contain a definite article (the suffix -et). Klimat = climate, Klimatet = the climate.

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