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German Word Of The Year 2018 Runners-Up (Part 1) Posted by on Apr 17, 2019 in Culture, Current Events, Language

Guten Tag! As you may know from previous posts, each year the Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache (GfdS)The German Language Association – picks a word as their ‘Wort des Jahres’ – ‘Word of the Year’. They also publish the top 10 most voted for out of all of the words submitted. You can read about the 2018 winner, plus the two runners up, in this blog post here. But what about the other seven words that made the top 10? Surely they have interesting stories behind them, too. Today we’ll look briefly words 4-6 in turn. Not only is this a good way to see the creativity of German language in action, but it gives a great insight into what kinds of political and cultural topics were being discussed at the time. If any of these interest you, I hope this gives you a base to do further reading on them.

Here are the words in places 4-6.

Wir sind mehr

In 4. Platz (4th place) is the phrase Wir sind mehr. This was the social media hashtag that started trending during an anti-racism concert in Chemnitz in late 2018. This concert was organised spontaneously in response to several far-right protests in the city, and featured many German punk bands including Die Toten Hosen (‘the dead trousers’!). Wir sind mehr means ‘We are more’.

Strafbelobigt

In 5. Platz (5th place) is the word strafbelobigt. Made up of the words die Strafe (punishment) and belobigen (to commend/praise), this word is connected to the same Chemnitz far-right protests mentioned above. In November 2018, Hans-Georg Maaßen was fired from his role in the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz) for claiming there was no evidence to suggest the racist events in Chemnitz happened the way they were reported. This caused great problems within government. Following this, Innenminister (Interior Minister) Horst Seehofer wanted to appoint him Staatssekretär (State Secretary), a move that was ridiculed because it would effectively have been a promotion. This is where the word strafbelobigt (punish-praised) came into play, for it was said that Maaßen was being praised for punishable actions. This move was eventually scrapped and he was put into early retirement, instead.

Pflegeroboter

In 6. Platz (6th place) is the word Pflegeroboter ‘care robots’. In 2018 there were several concerns raised over the lack of carers in Germany, and how the older German generation will be cared for in the future. Could Pepper the robot be the answer? With headlines such as ‘Pflegeroboter: Die neuen Helferlein kommen’ (‘Care robots: The new little helpers are coming’), this was certainly a hot topic in Germany in 2018.

Stay tuned for the words in places 7-10.

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About the Author: Constanze

Servus! I'm Constanze and I live in the UK. I'm half English and half German, and love writing about German language and culture. I also work as a group fitness instructor.


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