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German word of the day: Die Funklochrepublik

Our German word of the day also snagged second place for Germany's word of the year. How does it describe Germany's reception coverage, or lack there of?

German word of the day: Die Funklochrepublik
Photo: Depositphotos

Since the country-wide German elections of 2017, digital infrastructure has been a top theme across the political spectrum. How can a country otherwise so technologically-advanced have huge gaps in mobile coverage?

This explains why the term Funklochrepublik snagged second place in a German word of the year competition, as decided by a panel of judges from the Society for the German Language (Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache or GfdS) on Friday.

Roughly translated into “radio hole republic”, the term connotes dead zones in mobile coverage around the country. While there tends to be overall good 4G coverage in densely-populated German cities, it can be patchy or even non-existent in the countryside.

The German government continues to discuss bringing 5G coverage across Germany, but falters for a variety of reasons, including claiming that the top data transmission standard is too expensive.

It even falls behind in 4G coverage: “In a European comparison, Germany is on a par with a developing country in terms of 4G coverage – a comprehensive 5G coverage seems utopian,” wrote the conservative daily Welt last month.

In a recent column about the term Funklochrepublik, Spiegel Online wrote that: “The German digital infrastructure is the Berlin airport of the Internet,” referring to the notorious airport which was supposed to be finished in 2011 but it's completion date has been perpetually postponed.

Without a doubt, the term Funklochrepublik will be used much more in 2019 in German media and politics to describe how digital infrastructure is lacking – and if this can be overcome through current proposals from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other top politicians. 

Since 1977, the GfdS has selected a word annually in order to describe terms that have determined political, economic and social life in a special way.

Do you have a favourite word you'd like to see us cover? If so, please email our editor Rachel Stern with your suggestion.

This article was produced independently with support from Lingoda.

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German word of the day: Isso

Perhaps you've seen this word on social media and you're not sure what it means. Let us explain...

German word of the day: Isso

Why do I need to know isso?

Because it’s a nice colloquial expression to use if you’re feeling a little lazy since it combines a few words. It was also one of Germany’s favourite youth words back in 2016, although it’s definitely not particularly cool anymore and is used by all ages

What does it mean?

Isso is derived from the statement: ist so (short for es ist so) meaning ‘it’s like this’ or ‘it is so’ in English. When used as a response to someone’s statement, it usually means you completely agree. A good translation is: ‘right on!’, yes, that’s exactly right!’ or ‘it’s true!’.

You can also use the expression yourself to emphasise your thought. In this case you’d add it on at the end of your sentence. You often find isso used on Twitter, when someone is quoting a Tweet.

It can also be used in a more downbeat form accompanied by the shrugging of your shoulders. In this case you’re saying isso, because it can’t be helped, it’s the way it is. 

Use it like this: 

– Wir müssen gegen steigende Mietpreise in Berlin demonstrieren.

– Isso! 

– We have to protest against rising rents in Berlin. 

– That’s exactly right!

Frauen sind die besten Autofahrer, isso!

Women are the best drivers, it’s true.