Germany’s Words of the Year Paint a Sad Picture of Modern Society

By Stephen Fuchs on Email @StephenWFuchs

As the end of the year begins to creep up on us, it is often a time to reflect on the achievements and losses the world has faced over a 12-month span, and selecting a word of the year is one method of reflecting such events. The Society for the German Language in Wiesbaden (GfdS) came out with their own selection of German words that have become a norm in 2016, and the selection of the top ten tells a grim tale of events.

Words of the Year

    1. Postfaktisch
    2. Brexit
    3. Silvesternacht
    4. Schmähkritik
    5. Trump-Effekt
    6. Social Bots
    7. Schlechtes Blut
    8. Gruselclown
    9. Burkiniverbot
    10. Oh, wie schön ist Panama

The pick for the ‘word of the year’ is ‘postfaktisch’, which translates to post-truth and is meant to apply to the political rollercoasters that have plagued so many corners of the world in 2016. Skirting the truth is not a new move in the world of politics, but this year the play on emotions instead of truth have become more common than in recent history. Whether it was the Brexit vote (another word of the year) or the crazy US election that ended with Donald Trump beating out Hillary Clinton, fact checking wasn’t enough to set society back on track.

‘Postfaktisch’ in its english form, ‘post-truth’, was also selected as the International Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries.

Only one of the top ten don’t invoke a sense of fear or unordered chaos, ‘Social Bots’, but that can change quite rapidly as computer learning is quickly taking on a human persona that may just become an influencer in the months or years to come.

Sources: GfdS

Photo: gianluca [Flickr]

Stephen Fuchs
Stephen founded German Pulse and LGBT Germany out of a passion to introduce Americans to a Germany that goes beyond beer and polka (although with enough beer he has been known to polka it up a bit). He's a coffee addict, lover of wine and good times, a hit in the kitchen and editor of TV commercials. You can follow him on Twitter (@StephenWFuchs) to find out a lot more.
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