• Germany's news in English

English 'YOLO' voted top German youth word

The Local · 26 Nov 2012, 10:44

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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.

Story continues below…

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)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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
Germans think they're fit, but they're really couch potatoes
Photo: DPA.

There's been an increase in the number of Germans who define themselves as "fit", but their lifestyle choices don't quite match this self-perception.

10 fascinating facts you never knew about German beer
Tennis coach Boris Becker and his wife Lilly at Oktoberfest 2016 in Munich. Photo: DPA

From malt and monks to Radlers and rivalries, the story of German beer is as rich and wonderful as its selection.

Intensive farming 'endangers a third of German species'
Photo: DPA

There are 32,000 species of animal, plant and mushroom life native to Germany. Due to intensive farming methods, one in every three of these is endangered, a new report shows.

German hospital uses therapy to 'treat' paedophiles
A poster from the campaigne "Don't offend", which offers therapy to paedophiles. The sign reads "Do you love kids more than you'd prefer? There's help." Photo: DB Scholz & Friends / DPA.

A unique German initiative is offering therapy to paedophiles to control their urges, with the aim of getting them help before they offend.

Minister: 'no tolerance' for clowns after chainsaw attack
Photo: DPA

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière has called for a zero-tolerance approach to 'killer clowns' after a series of attacks culminating in two teenagers being chased by a clown wielding a chainsaw.

Baby who was auctioned on eBay taken away from father
Photo: DPA.

A German court ruled on Thursday that a man who put his one-month-old baby up for sale on the online auction platform eBay should only be allowed contact with the child under supervision.

Portugal's ruling party calls German minister 'pyromaniac'
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. Photo: DPA.

The head of Portugal's ruling Socialists called German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble a "pyromaniac" on Thursday after he criticized Lisbon for reversing course on austerity.

These are Germany's top ten universities
The new library of Freiburg University. Photo: Jörgens.mi / Wikimedia Commons

These are the best universities in all of Germany - at least according to one ranking.

Introducing Swabians - 'the Scots of Germany'
Photo: DPA

These Southern Germans have quite a reputation in the rest of the country.

Woman sues dentist over job rejection for headscarf
Photo: DPA

A dentist in Stuttgart is being taken to court by a woman whom he rejected for a job as his assistant on the basis that she wears a Muslim headscarf.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
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
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd