If you thought you were finally getting your head around the German language, I’m sorry to disappoint you – you now have 5,000 new words to remember.
Yes, the Germans, in their infinite wisdom, have added 5,000 words to the Duden, the official dictionary of the German language, first published in 1880 by Konrad Duden. Back then, there were only 27,000 lovely entries you had to remember. Fast forward to 2017, my intrepid language learners, and you will have to get your head around 145,000 of the tricky “little” blighters. Or I guess you could just go around shouting “DOCH!” at people all the time instead, something I’m considering doing.
For anyone still convinced that the Germans are all about simplifying processes for the sake of efficiency, the Duden is now in its 27th edition, comes in at a whopping 1,264 pages and is published in 12 volumes, which include Die Deutsche Rechtschreibung – The German Spelling Dictionary, Die Grammatik – Grammar, and Das Synonymwörterbuch – Synonym Dictionary. Yes, it’s simple alright – simple German-style.
However, for native English speakers, the news isn’t all bad as a lot of the new words come from the English-speaking world. Consider, if you will, some new German verbs – facebooken, taggen, tindern and liken (to “like” or “heart” something on Facebook). What gives me some comfort, and amusement, is that Germans are just as likely to be confused by the changes as foreigners.
Jochem: So, what did you get up to last night?
Jochen: Oh, you know, not much. I facebookt for a while. Wait, facebookt? Facegebookt? Gefacebookt?
Duden.de reliably informs me that the correct form is “gefacebookt”, which sounds more like a horrible condition than a fun way to spend an evening. They also, helpfully, give a few examples of how to use this new horror-verb:
- es wurde die ganze Nacht gefacebookt
- sie facebookt und twittert über das Leben in Japan
- facebookst du?
In a weird way, this actually makes life easier as you no longer have to worry about pesky prepositions. Am I bei Facebook? Auf Facebook? Who cares!? Now you can just say, “ich facebooke” – genius.
German spelling also just got easier with the disposal of, well, the German spelling of certain words. “Majonäse,” “Ketschup” and “Anschovis” are now simply mayonnaise, ketchup and anchovies.
Laptop, Selfie, Tablet, Emoji and Hashtag have all made the cut – a sad day for fans of the word “Klapprechner”. The official German word for Brexit is… Brexit. Post-truth is post-faktisch, cyber war is Cyberkrieg. It’s all starting to sound a bit Denglish, right?
Still, some German German words are also in. Here are a few of my favourites:
Kopfkino – (literally “head cinema”) meaning to daydream.
Die Wutbürgerin – An angry female citizen. The male version, der Wutbürger, had already been added but I guess now women can officially be angry citizens too.
rumeiern – (literally “to egg about”) meaning to amble aimlessly around and not really get anything done
ick – how Berliners pronounce “ich” (I). I have, in the past, been lectured for saying “ick” but now it’s official; ick can ick away to my heart’s content.
So, what do you think? Likst du the new additions or do they make you want to be a Wutbürger(in). Ick just can’t decide…