As the title says, is the phrase technisch gesehen an anglicism? I'm wondering because, for one, I don't remember this being used so much in the past and, for another, I always think of techniques or mechanical or electronic stuff if the word technisch comes up.

In an example in an article of Tagesanzeiger, some guy responsible for finances talks about something being "technisch gesehen eine Rezession". He uses technisch gesehen in the form of technically, but of course a recession has nothing to do with technological matters.

  • Why should it be an anglicism? Could you give a context why you think so?
    – IQV
    May 5, 2017 at 5:37
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    @IQV: I suppose this refers to the way "Technically, ..." is used in English in the sense of "Im Prinzip ..." or "Streng genommen ...". I agree that meaning of "technisch" is not usual in German, but then, I have not encountered any examples of technisch gesehen in German and thus have neither any concrete examples nor any references to discuss. May 5, 2017 at 6:02
  • Run a Google n-grams search for "technisch gesehen" in German and for "technically" in English, and see how the usage varied over time? May 5, 2017 at 6:27
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    In English-spoken countries, everyone can technically agree in a discussion. In German, only engineers are able to do that. So, your question can only be answered with more context.
    – tofro
    May 5, 2017 at 6:45
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    +1 for the interesting question. I would speculate that the greek term "techne" (art, technique) is an older source of the meaning "die methodischen, verfahrensmäßigen, organisatorischen Äußerlichkeiten eines Vorgangs, einer Tätigkeit betreffend" (dwds.de/wb/technisch 2) of "technisch", but I tend to believe that the english influence is strengthening this meaning in german again. May 5, 2017 at 8:43

2 Answers 2


Other than German, English strictly distinguishes between technique and technology. In German, both resolve to "Technik", while the former meaning is, in a lot of uses, probably better translated as "Methode". This obviously has some influence on derived adverbs and adjectives.

technically is the English adverb for both technique and technology, while technisch is the adverb/adjective mainly for the technology part of the meaning of Technik.

Still, there are uses of -technisch outside the technology area in German that relate more to the "Methode" meaning of technisch:

Versicherungstechnisch gesehen ist das Problem lösbar

Die lerntechnische Kompetenz der Schüler ist beeindruckend

My comment above on the standing expression "to technically agree on sth" relates to the "Methode" usage in German. A direct translation to German "technisch einer Meinung sein" would however be commonly understood as "to agree on technical matters" rather than "to agree in principle". This applies to your example "technisch gesehen" as well (but, admittedly, a bit softer than in my example - "from a technical viewpoint" already in English refers more to technology than technique and is not so much a standing expression as my example)

So, in case the expression would be used outside of a technology area, I would agree (and, at least partially) assume it is an (soft, because technically speaking (sic!) not wrong) anglicism or a literal translation into a rather uncommon usage.

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    What about "technisches Foul"? May 5, 2017 at 8:39
  • @jonathan.scholbach That's an anglicism in any case - but more because of Foul than because of technisch. At the same time, another example of technisch outside technology.
    – tofro
    May 5, 2017 at 10:02
  • "Foul" ist ein englisches Wort, keine Frage. Aber das macht nicht direkt die Phrase "technisches Foul" einen Anglizismus. Bei Phrasen geht's nicht darum, ob ein bestimmter Bestandteil (also Wort) eingedeutscht wurde, sondern ob die Phrase an sich englischsprachige Grundlage hat. Sonst wäre "Das macht Sinn" kein Anglizismus, weil es auf Wortebene rein Deutsch ist.
    – Em1
    May 5, 2017 at 14:44
  • I didn't mention "technisches Foul" becaus "foul" is an english word, but because the meaning of "technisch" in "technisches Foul" is the same as in "technisch gesehen" - so I tried to shed some light to your hypothesis. Does somebody when the phrase "technisches Foul" occurs in german? Maybe that might help answering the question. May 5, 2017 at 14:52
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    @jonathan.scholbach Ein technisches Foul dürfte mit großer Sicherheit auf ohne Beachtung des Begriffs Foul ein Anglizismus sein - Es kommt m.W. nur im Basketball vor und Basketball an sich ist ja schon ein sportlicher Anglizismus. Aber das "technische Foul" heißt in den amerikanischen Basketballregeln tatsächlich "technical foul". Und es bedeutet einen Fehler in der Methodik - Technologie kommt in dem Spiel ja vorrangig nicht vor.
    – tofro
    May 5, 2017 at 18:50


None of the words are English, so why should »technisch gesehen« be an anglicism?

An anglicism is an English word (or phrase) used in German. So it is strictly mandatory to have English words. If you use words from other languages, it never can be an anglicism.


This adjective is derived from the noun Technik. Both words (»Technik« and »technisch«) began to be used in German language in the 18th century. The German words was derived from the Neolatin noun »technica« and the Neolatin adjective »technicus«, which already was in use as foreign words in German language in the 17th century.

Those Neolatin words meant: "art, science, artificial, scientific", and they have an ancient greek root: τεχνικός (technikos) which means: »skilled, professional, artfull, expertly, ...«

On its way from its ancient greek root to modern German the adjective »technisch« never touched English language.


This word is Partizip II of sehen, and this is a very old inherited word that always was German and can be traced back to Proto-Indo-Germanic roots.

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    "Das macht Sinn" is an anglicism (pointed out on this site in german ). Which of those three words is english?
    – Daarin
    May 5, 2017 at 8:35
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    -1 since the justification - "An anglicism is an English word (or phrase) used in German." of your answer is wrong. Anglicisms can also occur in grammatical or stylistic phenomena. Language is not only vocabulary. May 5, 2017 at 8:37
  • @jonathan.scholbach: Eine inhaltsleere Aussage, bedeutet doch Grammatik nichts anderes als Sprachwissenschaftlich. Worin soll denn sprachtechnisch gesehen der Stilunterschied von Englisch und Deutsch liegen, der das Reden von einem Anglizismus rechtfertigt? M.E. stimmt es zwar, dass englische Wendungen wie "Sinn machen" auch als Anglizismus bezeichnet werden - das steht hier jedoch nicht zur Debatte, da das gesehen in der Frage sogleich unter den Tisch fällt. M.E. lässt sich die Angliizismusvermutung nur empirisch nachweisen. May 5, 2017 at 9:17

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