“i bims!” The Youth Word of the Year 2017 Posted by on Nov 28, 2017 in Culture, Grammar, Language, Literature

About a week and a half ago, Langenscheidt, publisher of dictionaries and other language-related works, announced the Jugendwort des Jahres 2017 (Youth Word of the Year 2017). Let’s explore!

Image by Romain Vignes at Unsplash.

I bims!

The Jugendwort des Jahres 2017 is i bims. What does THAT mean?

In the video above, you can see it. It is meant satirically, and comes from ich bin’s! (It’s me!), which can be used in the form: Hallo, ich bin’s, der Sten! (Hello, it’s me, Sten!). That is a rather incorrect way to say it, because you would rather say Hallo, hier ist Sten) (Hello, here is Sten).

It is satire on how language is misused on the internet, in both grammar and spelling. This video is a great (and funny!) example of that:

It does not stay with just i bims. There is an entire language around it, called the Vong-Sprache. It is a mixture of broken German, some pieces of English language and completely made-up words. Vong-Sprache comes from the other famous expression vong … her, which means as much as “because of the …”. One famous combination is vong der niceigkeit her (because of the niceness of it). This language was popularized by Willy Nachdenklich (Willy Contemplative), who is in the first video above. His Facebook page Nachdenkliche Sprüche mit Bildern (Contemplative Quotes with Pictures) has more than 350,000 likes . It seems that this is a national hype that will soon be replaced… But even the bible has even been translated into the Vong-Sprache now, called the Holyge Bimbel. And then there is Phil Laude, a YouTube personality who makes many videos in Vong-Sprache. Here is an example of a “weather forecast” he did:

Die Wahl

So how does this Wahl (voting) work? First, a top 30 of words is collected. Then, with a public online voting procedure, the best 10 words are collected, and 1 is chosen by a jury at Langenscheidt. According to their website, they chose based on Originalität, Kreativität, Verbreitung sowie nach kultureller, gesellschaftlicher und zukünftiger Relevanz (originality, creativity, spread as well as cultural, social and future relevance). It appears that i bims fulfills those requirements!


This Wahl has been criticized because it does not reflect how the youth actually speaks. Furthermore, it has been criticized for grouping a certain part of the population as Jugend (youth), which is not a uniform group.

Also, Langenscheidt uses the Wahl to promote its own products every year, which leads some critics to say that it is merely a marketing technique to sell their products.

Did you know about  i bims and Vong-Sprache? Do you find it funny? Or is it a serious issue? Let me know in the comments below!

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About the Author: Sten

Hi! I am Sten, both Dutch and German. For many years, I've written for the German and the Dutch blogs with a passion for everything related to language and culture. It's fascinating to reflect on my own culture, and in the process allow our readers to learn more about it! Besides blogging, I am a German-Dutch-English translator, animator and filmmaker.


  1. Allan Mahnke:

    Great post! Yes, I knew about the contest and “i bims,” however my personal favorite among the various choices was “napflixen.” But that certainly says more about my age and the things I am guilty of doing.


  2. Michael Quinlan:

    I saw an article in German about “i bims” being chosen, but it didn’ explain the meaning of the phrase. This article is just what I needed! Thanks.

  3. Chris:

    Didn’t know about: I bims or vong Sprache. However, I don’t find it funny – just really sad and pathetic that anyone would dare talk that way, no matter how “cool” they assume they are. Not a serious issue more of nonsensical why waste your time issue

    The dude in the video is not very young so this suggests to me the whole “I bims” is not very current nor very hip. Additionally, if vong Sprache is a big deal it would also be more widely known/ used. But people have spoken broken German/ English for a long time. That has never been cool in any (social) circle I have encountered.

    • Sten:

      @Chris the point is that exactly: It is a response to badly spoken/written German by making it painfully obvious, so that people pay more attention to it. And it fits German humor, apparently, and that combination made it well-known throughout the country. So for that reason, I personally like the idea, though it is quite annoying. Thankfully, nobody actually speaks in this way, apart from maybe saying “i bims” or “vong… her” now and then, jokingly.