Handy, das

This is the pseudo-Anglicism par excellence, having come into use in the 1990s as the standard German term for a mobile phone. It perplexed monolingual English-speakers for nearly a decade before it dawned on Germans that this word is not English. There have been several attempts to discover the etymology of this German noun: some think das Handy derives from the model name of an early, Japanese-manufactured cellphone which was sold in Germany. Others wonder if it was not spawned by a misunderstanding when a German read some some advertising bumph about the new "handy telephones" coming onto the market. Capitalized, given neuter gender and pronounced with the German vowel -a-, it sounds to an English-speaker like "hundy". Canoo.net validates two plural spellings: die Handies and die Handys. Compound forms include die Handynummer (mobile telephone number).

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