Thursday, January 20, 2005


I think one great thing German that would deserve copying elsewhere is the election of the word and 'un-word' of the (previous) year. The first is kind of the most used catchphrase, the second is the most used linguistic crime.

As Word of The Year 2004, the responsible committee picked "Harz IV" - the much talked-about last stage of employer law reform that won't bring more jobs but makes job-seekers worse-off.

As Un-Word of The Year 2004, the experts picked "Humankapital", as the worst of the euphemisms the 'economics-isation' of discourse on all public affairs made common. I think that doesn't need further comment.

UPDATE 27/01: after Ken's suggestion, I found corresponding yearly word picks in both categories for America(n English) too; check the Comments.


At 12:44 AM, Blogger Ken said...

They do a similar thing in America, voting on new words. The winner this year was "red state/blue state", there was a good article on Slate the other week about it.

At 1:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting, didn't knew. For the benefit of other readers, after a short Googling, I
found for example this article; "red state/blue state/purple state" is the fifteenth annual pick by the American Dialect Society.

Meanwhile, the Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. picks "banished words" - in its 30th year, "blue states/red states" (heh), "flip-flopper", "battleground state", "pockets of resistance", "IED", "enemy combatant", "├╝ber", "wardrobe malfunction" and "blog"(!?) were among the twenty-two picked.


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