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Cool German Words - Unwort

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In German it is possible to easily make up new words, thanks to our affinity for compound words. Every year new words are created this way, expressing the public consciousness. Since 1971 the Society of the German Language has chosen a word of the year, celebrating our linguistic creativity. But if you can create new words to express developments in society, you can also express it's ugly side. Entering the Unwort (anti-word or un-word). Since 1991 a committee of linguist chose the Unwort des Jahres. Going over the list of these words can make you lose faith in humanity. There is

  • Wohlstandsmüll (prosperity waste) - Deprecatory term coined by Helmut Maucher (then CEO of Nestlé) during an interview, referring to people who are either presumed unable or reluctant to find employment, who in his opinion exist because of the highly developed welfare and social support systems in Germany.

  • betriebsratsverseucht (contaminated by works councils) - This offensive neologism (reportedly used internally by the Bauhaus management) describes a business with a strong works council, which takes care of the interests of the employees and thus presses for concessions on the employer's side.

  • Döner-Morde (döner murders) - A term used by police investigators to describe a series of murders of mostly Turkish shop and restaurant owners between 2000 and 2006, originally attributed to presumed links of the victims to organized crime groups. In 2011, it was revealed that, in fact, all of these murders were racial hate crimes committed by members of a previously unknown terrorist group called National Socialist Underground, which resulted in widespread criticism of the police for their initial determination.

  • Opfer-Abo (victimization subscription) - The term was coined by Jörg Kachelmann in the wake of a trial against him on sexual assault charges, in order to promote his perception that women had the tendency to repeatedly make false claims of crimes such as rape, to further their interests.

  • Sozialtourismus (welfare tourism) - The accusation that asylum seekers shop around for the country with the beast social security system to leech off of. Used to defend the use of the Dublin regulations to send asylum seekers back to the country of entry into Europe.


  • Happy Monday!


    Cool German words - Heimweh and Fernweh

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    Heimweh (home sickness) is not a special word, but in German we also have the opposite: Fernweh (far away sickness) the longing to go to a place far away from home. In these strange times, stuck on Iceland for more than a year now, I suffer from both. I long to go far away from here, preferably somewhere sunny and warm, with beaches. But I also long to go home to Germany and see my family in person. I guess anything, which is not Iceland would be nice for a change.




    Cool German words - Schweinehund

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    The inner Schweinehund (pig-dog), is your inner couch potato you have to struggle against in order to fulfill your New Years resolution. Happy 2021. Let's see how long I can keep up the regular yoga exercises I decided to do after I got my Hexenschuss.


    Cool German words - Totschlagargument

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    Literally killdead argument is an argument that is a sure win in any discussion. I used it the other day in a video about strikes in Iceland (I'm becoming an internet star, something I will talk about in a later post). In Iceland inflation is the argument to end all arguments, if you are against any policy all you have to do is show that it will lead to inflation and the policy will be rejected, no matter how sensible it is otherwise (another Totschlagargument in Iceland is independence. In Germany, where we are less afraid of hyperinflation (because we do not try to maintain a currency with a population of 350.000) the Totschlagargument is "it will lose (or create) jobs", an argument that was used for all the new labour measures introduced in the 90s and any other kind of business friendly (and anti worker) policy. In both countries these arguments are regularly used to explain why the minimum wage cannot be a living wage.


    Cool German words - Hexenschuss

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    Hexenschuss
    A case of sudden onset lumbago, characterized by sudden inability to move.

    It literally means "a shot of a witch" (not the injection shot, but the gun kind of shot). Considering the sudden onset of this kind of lumbago, usually without any discernible cause, one can imagine why it was imagined to be the result of some witch cursing someone. Nowadays we have obviously a much better understanding of back pain and after one week of diligently doing my exercises I'm almost completely back to normal.
    I'm pretty sure my utter lack of any kind of regular exercise is more to blame for this incident of back pain than some random witch.




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