Profanity earns place in German dictionary

By Efrosini Costa

Profanity earns place in German dictionary
An English profanity has been included in the latest edition of Germany's prestigious dictionary.

When German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, was asked last year if it was worth considering whether internet users should have some kind of driving licence, she responded with: “Yes but I won’t make any suggestions here. Otherwise we’ll get a ‘shitstorm’ tomorrow.”

The word ‘shitstorm’ has become such a common phrase for Germans of late that it earned the coveted title of ‘Anglicism of the Year’ by a panel of language experts who said the profanity ‘filled a gap in the German language’.

“Over the last few years, ‘shitstorm’ has entered everyday usage so that’s why it now appears in the new printed edition of the dictionary,” a spokesperson and head of communications at Duden, which publishes Germany’s standard dictionary, told reporters.

“It is used in a lot of print and online media as well as in a whole host of other contexts so it is really relevant for the German language now,” she added.

The latest edition of the Duden dictionary defines the profanity as : ‘a storm of indignation expressed via the internet, sometimes accompanied by offensive comments”.

The German definition varies somewhat from the Oxford English Dictionary’s meaning of “ a situation marked by violent controversy”.

‘Candystorm’ is yet another example of an English term that has punctuated the everyday spoken language of Germans. It refers to the outpouring of approval for public figures, but has yet to be included in the dictionary there.


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