Rocker, der

One of the most interesting Anglicisms, since it has two distinct meanings in German. The most common sense of der Rocker - a member of a motorcycle gang - conserves an almost forgotten term from 1960s England, when gang warfare broke out between the Mods, a motor-scooter group, and the Rockers, a motorcycle gang. Der Rocker of today is not connected to the English gang of long ago, but is usually a member of the German branch of the Hell's Angels. Because the matching term in English is obsolescent, the motorcyclist sense is a false friend and effectively a pseudo-Anglicism. Derived terms include die Rockerbande, die Rockergruppe, die Rockergang (all motorcycle gang), das Rockermädchen, die Rockerbraut (both biker gang moll) and die Rockerkluft (motorcycle-gang clothing). The other sense, often an abbreviation of der Altrocker, connotes an old-fashioned rock musician and is readily intelligible in 21st century English. Capitalized, given masculine gender and pronounced with an uvular -r-.

No comments: