Monday, December 17, 2007

Two peoples, separated by more than different languages?

In the US, the Merriam-Webster Online word of the year 2007: 'w00t'. (interjection; 'expressing joy (it could be after a triumph, or for no reason at all); similar in use to the word "yay"')

Meanwhile, the 'word of the year' in Germany (as chosen by the Society for the German Language) was 'climate catastrophe' (Klimakatastrophe).

And, in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, it was 'death tourism' (Sterbetourismus).

As I've written, it may be that the Germans have a real problem with happiness, at least in its more w00tful varieties. Of course, this year's favourite words might just be a fluke.

Interesting runner-up in Switzerland: 'Taschenmunition' (literally 'pocket ammunition', or, the ammunition that each Swiss soldier must keep at home).

Bizarre runner-up on the Webster list: 'sputum'.

(Via Atlantic Review)

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