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Shitstorm 'best English gift to German language'
Photo: DPA

Shitstorm 'best English gift to German language'

Published: 13 Feb 2012 11:52 GMT+01:00
Updated: 13 Feb 2012 11:52 GMT+01:00

Germany needed Shitstorm, according to a group of language experts who elected the word as the top English contribution to the German language last year.

The “Anglicism of the Year” jury defined Shitstorm as a public outcry, primarily on the internet, in which arguments mix with threats and insults to reach a critical mass, forcing a reaction.

“This new kind of protest is clearly different in kind and degree from what could be expected in the past in response to a statement or action,” said jury member Michael Mann, who runs a language website called Lexikographieblog.

The jury said in a statement on Monday: “Shitstorm fills a gap in the German vocabulary that has become apparent through changes in the culture of public debate.”

It added that established German words, such as Kritik (criticism), were simply not descriptive enough.

Shitstorm came into widespread use last year in connection with the financial crisis in Greece and the plagiarism scandal which forced the then Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg to resign.

The second most important Anglicism this year was Stresstest, referring to the analysis of banks’ financial strength during the European financial crisis, the jury decided.

Rounding out the top three was circeln which comes from the new social network Google+ and means to add someone to a contact list.

The Anglicism of the Year contest, organised since 2010 by University of Hamburg linguist Anatol Stefanowitsch, is designed to recognise English’s contribution to German as the language evolves.

"The borrowing of words is a natural process that occurs in any language," the jury’s statement said.

The big winner in 2010 was leaken, which was adopted during controversies such as the sensitive leaking of government information to the Wikileaks website.

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Your comments about this article

15:09 February 13, 2012 by Gustav Jung
Whats the point of this being aglicised- I believe these two words must exist in German already - sheiss-sturm or something like that.
17:26 February 13, 2012 by franconia
Young Germans think this is COOL ( dont forget to pronounce the L with your tongue darting out between your teeth and lips ). To an old Kraut like me , living in the US for 50 years, their DENGLISCH conversations sound like Comedy Central to me, amusing and horrible at the same time.
18:03 February 13, 2012 by William Thirteen
indeed, it was the lea ken of the results of the stresstests which caused the shitstorm.
19:33 February 13, 2012 by Englishted
Shitforbrains more like.
21:16 February 13, 2012 by ChrisNHH
Never heard of it! Americanised, not Anglicised. Another group of people in an advertising agency, with nothing better to do. It amazes me sometimes
23:08 February 13, 2012 by Cygnus
I've never heard of "shitstorm"

"Stresstest" is also a German word.

My choise would have been "bailout" and "occupy" ^^
11:08 February 14, 2012 by JenDigs
I laughed so hard at this I nearly cried... of COURSE the word chosen is feces-related...
12:02 February 14, 2012 by iseedaftpeople
As much as I love both the English and the German language, I prefer to keep the two separate, and don't really care much for anglicisms. Particularly not when the original meaning of an English word gets lost in translation, or when anglicisms assume a pseudo-meaning which they do not have in English. And sometimes it just annoys me when people use English words when there are perfectly acceptable German words you could have used instead.

I refuse to tell people in German that I lost my "handy" in the "city" when I want to alert them to the fact that I lost my cell phone downtown, I fail to see much more in a "facility manager" than a janitor with a college degree, and I definitely see no need to call "crazy" or "strange" things anything other than "verrückt" or "seltsam" in German.

Is it just my observation, or does it seem to be mostly uneducated people (and upper management) who see the need to spice up their vernacular with these word droppings (pun intended)?
13:28 February 14, 2012 by Englishted
iseedaftpeople

I don't see your problem with "handy" I have never heard a German use any other word for a mobile phone, and hand is also German is it not?
01:01 February 15, 2012 by B.D. Lundstedt
S.H.I.T. should be defined well during this type of action. I am told that its an anagram for Ship High In Transit after colonial Americans' cattle and dung shipped in a ships hold making methane gas and blowing the ship out of the water cattle dung and all!!
18:16 February 15, 2012 by vonSchwerin
"Shitstorm 'best English gift to German language'"

And now we should Germanize it and give it a new meaning.

I propose: Shitstrom.
03:33 February 16, 2012 by volvoman9
@ Mango Chutney... And that my good chap is precisely why the sun has set on the British Empire. Pip, pip and all that say?
04:01 February 16, 2012 by Jim the good Guy
If you really want to start a shitstorm, just introduce the Germans to "turdwad."
20:27 February 17, 2012 by bolly
There is nothing wrong with borrowing words from another language when the other offers a more descriptive word. For me, "trouble" is one of those. As to "leaken" and "shitstorm", I am most unimpressed. Neither of those are proper english words. So, why not do it right and selectively use the proper english (or other language) term, instead of distorting them. But I suppose that I am suggesting the equivalent of pushing the proverbial uphill.
02:24 February 18, 2012 by brnskin2010
Shitstorm...I like Lil Shithead better.....just sayn....
13:46 February 18, 2012 by floridaboy
This word has been around for years and is nothing new...and most certainly American. My friends and I have been using it since high school. I'm a bit too young to verify, but I think this expression even goes as far back as the Vietnam war. i.e. (we went over the hill and found ourselves in a real shitstorm)

It just means to encounter (or be in) a bad situation. You can use it for anything, and is not limited to anything specific. For instance...

- If I asked my roomie how his date went last night, he could easily reply - "it was a f'ing shitstorm".

- When playing basketball and getting slaughtered by the opposing team, we could comment afterwards, "Well that was a god damn shitstorm".

I'm all for languages influencing other languages, but it's super annoying when the adopting language the butchers the definition. Maybe the "jury" should talk to some Americans (or English if it's an English term) and find out how the term is used before defining it incorrectly.
20:41 March 23, 2012 by wondermonkey
For 2012 I nominate "clusterfuk,"
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