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This just in from my husband via a German colleague in an international company: maybe someone else has heard of it and knows the origin. In Germany, a cell phone is called a handy, clearly an English word and not a German one, yet I know of no English-speaking place in which that term is used. Does anyone have a clue as to the origins of this?
 
Posts: 48 | Location: Chicago, ILReply With QuoteReport This Post
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We have several here who know German. How's about it, guys? In the meantime, I found this "Handy" Glossary.
 
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I believe the term "hand-held" has been used as a synonym for cellular phones.
 
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Another English word not used by anglophones is beamer for (LCD) projector. (I always thought handy 'mobile phone' came from the English adjective handy 'ready to hand'.)


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by zmjezhd:
(I always thought handy 'mobile phone' came from the English adjective handy 'ready to hand'.)


I think you are probably right, but what I would like to know is how the Germans got started using it, since they clearly didn't pick it up from an Anglo country. That is what seems so odd to me. Likewise with beamer. Who/where do these things come from? An English-speaking native? Magic? What?
 
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Here in northern CA beamer means a BMW.
 
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Here in northern CA beamer means a BMW.

Yes, my German friends laughed nervously when I told them that. They were astonished that beamer was not a proper English word.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by zmjezhd:
They were astonished that beamer was not a proper English word.


Yes, that's what my husband reported about handy as well. The Germans had just assumed that we all called our cell phones that.
 
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Of course, in England we don't call them cell phones, although we'd know what that means. We refer to them as "mobiles".


Richard English
 
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we don't call them cell phones

Well, technically, there is a difference between a cell phone and a mobile phone.


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Well, technically, there is a difference between a cell phone and a mobile phone.

Which is...?


Richard English
 
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Which is...?

The earliest mobile phones (aka car phones) did not use cellular network technology.


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True. Which is why I prefer the expression "mobile" since is describes any type of mobile phone, not just cellphones.


Richard English
 
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According to Wikipedia "handy" is
quote:
a German pseudo-anglicism for a mobile phone; the term may have originated from the term 'hand held transceiver' or Motorola's Handie-Talkie, a World War II portable military radio; reappeared as a slang term for mobile phones in Germany in the mid-1980s, and was popularised there by advertising campaigns for miniature GSM phones in the 1990s


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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Motorola's Handie-Talkie

Intereesting. I've heard of a walkie-talkie, but not a handie-talkie. Seems that walkie-talkie was an earlier name for what became known as the handie-talkie (or SCR-300-A). And today, one of the soldiers carries a rugged laptop.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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