• Germany edition
 
English 'YOLO' voted top German youth word
Photo: DPA

English 'YOLO' voted top German youth word

Published: 26 Nov 2012 10:44 GMT+01:00
Updated: 26 Nov 2012 10:44 GMT+01:00

"YOLO," short for "you only live once" has been voted the most popular new German youth expression of the year, the second time in four years that a word derived from English has won.

Much to the annoyance of educators and organizations promoting the proper use of German, the nation's youth appear to love taking English phrases, abbreviating them and adopting into everyday youth slang - particularly when communicating online.

Take this year's shortlist for dictionary-maker Langenscheidt's "Youth Word of the Year" competition, started in 2008 to find the best word coined by young Germans over the course of the year.

After an online vote to draw up the list, a six-head jury unanimously selected winner "YOLO," roughly used in the sense of carpe diem for its originality and creativity, among other factors. Close runner-up in second place was the rather unoriginal English profanity: "FU" short for "fuck you."

Last year, Langenscheidt's choice of “swag,” taken from the English word swagger and originally used in rap music to mean “enviable, casual-cool charisma,” was slammed by the Verein Deutsche Sprache for promoting indiscriminate (and not to mention improper) use of English.

But English and internet slang isn't the only influence on the German youth. This year's shortlist show influences from other languages such as the Arabic word "Yalla!" meaning "hurry!" which came in third place.

In fifth place came "Komasutra" used to mean "attempted sex between two very drunk people."

Even German politics appeared to have found a role in youth slang. Second place this year was "wulffen," meaning "do to a Wulff," referring to Germany's disgraced ex-President Christian Wulff.

The verb either means to leave a long babbling message on someone else's voicemail, or to scrounge a living at the expense of others.

The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

11:37 November 26, 2012 by lucksi
I don't want to live on this planet anymore
11:56 November 26, 2012 by raandy
lucks as the Mars rover has found it is worse elsewhere -:)

Language is always evolving, I remember when Gross was a 144 of something and Gay was when you had a fun filled time.LOL ,yolo, swag ,cool hip,awesome,alvo,bank on,chicky, legit ,ect.
16:30 November 26, 2012 by Leo Strauss
Komasutra and wulffen are good. That`s funny.

Everyone who has served in the last 10 years knows yella, so I imagine that it is filtering in from the Americans in the western garrison towns. Or from video games? Kinda like the indespensible "schnell!" in every cheesy WW2 movie or video game like Castle Wolfenstein.

Or maybe Wulffenstein?
17:42 November 26, 2012 by DoubleDTown
I thought "swag" was the stuff they hand out at trade shows
14:17 November 27, 2012 by raandy
Scientific Wild Assed Guess.
22:51 November 27, 2012 by ovalle3.14
Feels great not to be 18 anymore.
11:31 November 28, 2012 by Bob Hawkins
I've never heard of this word,as an Englishman,living in London,I think I would have come across it,in my experience Germans are very creative in their use of English,in other words,they make it up
15:17 November 28, 2012 by raandy
BOb H The acronym YOLO has been around in the USA for while, but the Germans are renowned for claiming originality .
Today's headlines
Germany halts arms sales to Russia
Russian troops surround a Ukrainian base in Crimea. Photo: DPA

Germany halts arms sales to Russia

Germany has stopped selling arms to Russia due to the current “political situation”, according to reports on Thursday. The sale of military equipment to Russia by German firms has been criticized by the country’s Nato allies. READ () »

Truck kills man lying in middle of road
Photo: DPA

Truck kills man lying in middle of road

Police were searching for witnesses on Wednesday morning following a mysterious road accident in which a 25-year-old man was killed as he lay in the middle of the road. READ () »

Ecclestone bribery trial kicks off in Munich
Bernie Ecclestone in court in Munich on Thursday morning. Photo: DPA

Ecclestone bribery trial kicks off in Munich

UPDATE: Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone went on trial in Munich on Thursday facing bribery charges in a case which threatens his nearly 40-year-reign of the motor sport. READ () »

Where are Germany's smartest towns?
Germany's cleverest town. Photo: DPA

Where are Germany's smartest towns?

A brain training website released scores on Wednesday showing which German towns performed best and worst in a range of cognitive tests - with some surprising results. READ () »

April wraps up with stormy week ahead
Lightning over Lake Starnberg, in Bavaria. Photo: DPA

April wraps up with stormy week ahead

The end of April is looking stormy for Germany with hot and cold air mixing and making for wild spring weather over the coming few days, state forecasters DWD said on Wednesday. READ () »

Germany sold €40 million of arms to Russia
Russian troops pictured in March in Crimea. Photo: DPA

Germany sold €40 million of arms to Russia

Germany arms sales to Russia have come under fire following the crisis in Ukraine. In 2012 Germany sold €40 million worth of rifles, pistols and armoured vehicles to the country. READ () »

Munich to get 'Tetris cube' hotel
Photo: Nieto Sobejano Architects, Berlin

Munich to get 'Tetris cube' hotel

Munich's old city centre is to receive an ultra modern addition to its skyline in the shape of a new hotel dubbed 'the Tetris cube'. READ () »

The Local List
German beer culture in 11 gulps
Photo: DPA

German beer culture in 11 gulps

Wednesday marks the 498th anniversary of Germany's celebrated beer purity law, so in honour of nearly half a millennium of hoppy history, this week's Local List tells some beer truths you may not know. READ () »

Feminist's apartment advert goes viral
Photo: Screenshot/Facebook

Feminist's apartment advert goes viral

Finding accommodation in Berlin is notoriously tricky. But one woman on the hunt might have a particularly hard time of it, with an advert for an apartment so absurd it has gone viral. READ () »

Russian spies step up activity in Germany
The Russian embassy building in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Russian spies step up activity in Germany

Russian spies are increasingly targeting potential informants in German politics and business by taking them out to dinner, according to counterintelligence services. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
11 things you need to know about German beer
Photo: DPA
Politics
Interview with AfD - 'If Britain goes, Europe is lost'
Photo: DPA
National
Police damage own water cannon with eggs
Photo: DPA
National
Let us start work later after World Cup nights, unions says
Photo: DPA
Society
Crystal meth use hits record level
Photo: DPA
Rhineland
Elderly man taped €200,000 to his genitals
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
What's the unemployment rate in your area of Germany?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Nine ways to celebrate Easter like a German
Photo: Galerie Bilderwelt
Gallery
World War I in colour photos
Photo: DPA
Society
JobTalk: Why you should teach English in Germany
Photo: DPA
National
330,000 sign up against TV licence fee
Photo: DPA
Hamburg
School kids hospitalized after 'porno' party
Advertisement:
Photo: Submitted
Frankfurt
'I'll get even with my old pal Schwarzenegger'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten great inventions you (probably) didn't know were German
Photo: J. Arthur White
Berlin
Clashes in Berlin as refugees tear down their own camp
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Munich's baby polar bears are finally named
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The 10 best German employers to work for
CurrencyFair
Sponsored Article
Why it pays to avoid banks when making overseas transfers
Mr. Lodge
Sponsored Article
How to find a furnished rental in Munich
Sponsored Article
How to make a lasting impression in business
Hult International Business School
Sponsored Article
What they don't teach you at Business School
Photo: DPA
Society
Nine jobs you can only do in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,069
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd