Date: Fri, 25 Oct 1996 14:49:02 -0700


Subject: "Handy" cell phone

I have just learned that the German word for celular phone (an item that

was little known the last time I was in a daily German-speaking

environment) is "Handy". This was reported by a native speaker of German

living in the U.S., who heard it from another native speaker, who is

Austrian. There was mutual perplexity: in the one direction, at what the

Austrian was talking about, and in the other direction, that anyone who

spoke both German and English wouldn't understand this obvious, everyday


I don't know whether this is a Scheinentlehnung (=false borrowing? like

"Twen" by analogy with "Teen") that arose in a contemporary German

language that is saturated with real borrowings from English, or perhaps a

brand name that became generic, or whether it may be a genuine borrowing

from British English. My query to the list is: Are there any Brits out

there who can tell me whether this term is in use in Britain?

Peter McGraw

Linfield College

McMinnville, OR