The German firm Kärcher produces high-pressure cleaners using hot or cold water. Due to their high quality Kärcher products are successfully exported to many countries. In the UK the umlaut (Tüttel) on the a is simply left out as in the case of an earlier export: Georg Friedrich Händel became George Frideric Handel.
In France they write Karcher without umlaut, too, the syllabic stress moving to the last syllable. The French even went so far as to form a new verb karcher (premier group de conjugaison). Instead of saying "cleaning something with a high-pressure water jet", they karcher the object. The Kärcher company was delighted.
In 2005 during the time of a youth rebellion in France the verb karcher became highly political. The then Minister of the Interior Nicolas Sarkozy heated up the political climate by insulting the young Maghreb demonstrators as racaille (scum) and declared qu'il fallait «nettoyer» les banlieues au Karcher (one needs to "clean" the suburbs using a Karcher). Sarko proposed to karcher subjects instead of objects; so far so bad. From that moment on karcher became a synonym for cleaning the suburbs.
|Where is the Karcher? (seen on Facebook)|