Does anyone remember “I Bims”, the flagship of the Vong language? No? And what about the “smombie”, the undead on the smartphone? Only. It was terms like these that gave the Youth Word of the Year campaign the reputation that the winning words were either completely irrelevant or completely made up.
When Pons-Verlag took over the Langenscheidt competition in 2019 and scuttled their campaign, there was a domestic sigh among language friends. And last but not least!
Fortunately too soon. The youth word is back, and is no longer awarded by a jury, but determined in a multi-stage online process in which everyone can participate. Anyone familiar with this strange Internet was not surprised when the action was hijacked by a group that used all its tricks to promote “bastard” as the 2020 youth word.
This PR accident was later acknowledged by the publisher and remedied with the promise that the bastard would be included in the print youth dictionary, only with no rank and higher orders.
These are now reserved for three words that the German-speaking world will look at with a certain surprise: 1. lost. 2. cringe and 3. wyld / wild.
[Wenn Sie alle aktuellen Entwicklungen zur Coronavirus-Pandemie live auf Ihr Handy haben wollen, empfehlen wir Ihnen unsere App, die Sie hier für Apple- und Android-Geräte herunterladen können.]
Senior word of the year: crazy?
So, in the end, is it really true that it is no longer just professional account managers, but anyone under the age of 25 who shoots their language with English vocabulary and makes them celebrate? (AfD: get excited here!)
Besides, “Lost” (48 percent approval) represents a state of ignorance and outrageous demands, “cringe” is something embarrassing or unpleasant, and “wyld”, also called “wild,” is described as a word for something “gross or unpleasant “.
[Die Coronavirus-Krise ist auch für die Politik eine historische Herausforderung. Jeden Morgen informieren wir Sie, liebe Leserinnen und Leser, in unserer Morgenlage über die politischen Entscheidungen, Nachrichten und Hintergründe. Zur kostenlosen Anmeldung geht es hier.]
Well, in 2020 it really is no wonder that the positives fell by the wayside. But do young people really talk like that, or have they just ticked something?
A little tip for the elderly: don’t even try to include these words in your language, it would just be too embarrassing. Maybe we choose the oldest word of the year to compensate? “Scratch” and “cool” are said to be popular favorites.