German Words of the Year or Wörter des Jahres
And the winner was... “das alte Europa!”
The Top Words of 1998 through 2003
Each year in December the Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache (GfdS), the German Language Society, announces its selection of the top-ranked words of the year. For 2003, an American contributed the number one “German Word of the Year”: das alte Europa. The U.S. Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, used the term “old Europe” as a put-down to countries; such as, France and Germany who refused to support America’s war against Iraq. In Germany the term das alte Europa has taken on a positive meaning, signifying those European countries that refuse to be dominated by the United States.
In 2002, Europe’s new euro currency, introduced in January of that year, led to the German Word of the Year: Teuro. By mixing the words teuer (expensive) and der Euro, the new coinage Teuro reflected the perception that the new European currency had led to higher prices for German goods and services.
Most of the words in this annual contest can’t be found in a dictionary. They are either new coinages or event-related words too recent to be included in any standard German Wörterbuch. The selected words for any given year also offer a glimpse into history and what was considered important in that year.
Thought is impossible without words.
We not only speak but think and even dream in words. Language is a mirror in which the whole spiritual development of mankind reflects itself. Therefore, in tracing words to their origins, we are tracing simultaneously civilization and culture to their real roots.
To know the origin of words is to know the cultural history of mankind.
What the elements are to chemistry, what the sounds are to music, are words to language.
Etc. is a perfect word—when you can’t think of the right one.
The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.
Without words, without writing and without books there would be no history, there could be no concept of humanity.
Great leaders are great leaders because through their command of vocabulary power and culture they are able to make others see and feel what they see and feel. Gain this power for yourself and you will have at your service the greatest force ever put into the hands of mankind.
To be a power one must know how to use language; and how can you place words together unless you know their derivations and their real meanings?
A dictionary is merely the universe arranged in alphabetical order.
If you want your child to achieve success with his studies in college, look to his vocabulary!
Words are the instruments that make thoughts possible.
The Latin portion of our vocabulary is still constantly receiving additions.
Life and language are alike sacred. Homicide and verbicide—that is, violent treatment of a word with fatal results to its legitimate meaning—are alike forbidden.
The tongue, and the words that come from it, has incredible power. Words have the power to hurt or to heal, to tear down or build up, and to curse or comfort.
A country boy fell head over heels in love with a little girl who lived down the lane. The problem was, every time he got around her, his knees shook and he stammered when he tried to speak. He just had no clue about how to talk to this girl.
So one day he went to town and followed a city boy who was known for being good with the ladies, trying to pick up some tips. The country boy listened as the city boy looked deep into the eyes of his girlfriend and said, “Honey, your beauty could make time stand still.”
“That's it!” he said, and rushed back to the country and found his girl. Taking her by the hand under the apple tree, he looked deep into her eyes and said, “Your face could stop a clock.”
Same content. Different words. Very different results.
Remember, you have a choice, hurt or heal, tear down or build up, curse or comfort. Which words would you like to use, and which words would you like to be used with you?
The genius of communication is the ability to be both totally honest and totally kind at the same time.
Words play an enormous part in our lives and are therefore deserving of the closest study.
Poverty in words is a serious handicap. Through inadequate vocabulary, authority is lost. The reader or listener loses faith in the communicator’s right to treat the subject.
It is my experience that the short path to the simple and precise English needed by a man of science lies thorough the tongues of Homer and Vergil.
Knowledge of Greek and Latin roots should make the content of science infinitely more meaningful to the student.
Science and technology contribute to the fast-expanding vocabularies of all living civilized tongues at a faster rate than all other fields of human endeavor put together.
No writer or speaker who ignores the roots of Latin derivatives is secure from egregious error.
Words are like bottles. Their shapes may remain the same, while their contents vary from very bitter to very sweet.