• Germany's news in English

Shitstorm 'best English gift to German language'

The Local · 13 Feb 2012, 11:52

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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.

Story continues below…

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

The Local/DPA/mdm

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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

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,"
Today's headlines
Outrage over ruling on 'brutal' gang rape of teen girl
The now convicted suspects, sitting in court in Hamburg. Photo: DPA.

A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and left partially clothed and unconscious in freezing temperatures. Now prosecutors are appealing the sentences for the young men found guilty, most of whom will not set foot in jail.

Dozens of Turkish diplomats apply for asylum in Germany
Demonstrators holding a giant Turkish flag protest against the attempted coup in Istanbul in July. Photo: DPA.

Since the failed putsch attempt in Turkey in July, Germany has received 35 asylum applications from people with Turkish diplomatic passports, the Interior Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

Hertha Berlin fan club criticised for 'anti-gay banner'
Hertha BSC beat FC Cologne 2-1. Photo: DPA

A 50 metre fan banner apparently mocking the idea of gay adoption has overshadowed Hertha BSC's win in the Bundesliga.

Germany stalls Chinese takeover of tech firm Aixtron
Aixtron headquarters in Herzogenrath. Photo: DPA

The German government on Monday said it had withdrawn approval for a Chinese firm to acquire Aixtron, a supplier to the semiconductor industry, amid growing unease over Chinese investment in German companies.

Politicians call for tough sentences for 'killer clowns'
File photo: DPA.

Now that the so-called 'killer clown' craze has spread from the US to Germany, elected officials are drawing a hard line against such "pranks", with some threatening offenders with jail time of up to a year.

Nearly one in ten Germans are severely disabled
Photo: DPA

New figures reveal that 9.3 percent of the German population last year were considered severely disabled.

The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd