English language to get German upgrade

08.12.06 @ 10:17

  1. By Honor Mahony
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BRUSSELS - While in Germany you can attend 'ein Meeting' that is 'gemanaget' by someone else using your "down-geloadete" information from the internet.

  • Johann Wolfgang Goethe - "Der Typ ist total gestylt" (Photo: Wikipedia /Courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.)

After that you might need to rush to the airport for 'das Einchecken' before taking off in a plane with a 'stewardess' on it.

German is peppered with English words either accepted wholly into the language of Goethe or Germanified such as 'gestylt' - as in "Der Typ ist total gestylt" - that bloke is totally done up.

The result is 'Denglisch' and has left some language purists crying into their coffee cups.

The language flow the other way has not been so extreme however.

English has happily assumed Zeitgeist, Schadenfreude and Kindergarten and there seems to be a creeping use of 'über' to describe 'very' or 'extremely' as in 'überhappy' but the list is relatively short by comparison.

Now the Goethe institute may be the cause of another German word entering everyday English.

It held a competition to find the word that would most benefit the English language.

The winner, announced today (8 December) is 'Fachidiot,' with the person nominating it saying it could be clumsily translated by "Idiot of your own subject."

Elaborating she said that "one-track specialist" was not quite right because "a specialist is nobody you would call an idiot. A one-track specialist is somebody who knows a lot about a particular field; a Fachidiot as well."

"The difference is that a one-track specialist still notices what is going on around him, in the world which has nothing to do with university. A Fachidiot simply does not, or not anymore."

Whether Fachidiot migrates over to English remains to be seen but it beat some other fabulous German words including 'Kummerspeck' – literally 'grief bacon' but meaning 'excessive weight gain caused by emotion-related overeating'.

Other words were 'Ohrwurm' – literally earworm – but meaning a catchy tune; 'Quatsch' meaning something like nonsense; and 'Eklärungsnot' – being in need of an explanation.

The runners up were 'Backpfeifengesicht' – meaning a face that makes you want to slap it - and 'Torschlusspanik' – the panic you get when you are rushing for something and think you are not going to make it.

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