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Thank you Germany: Part 057: Hardly any other language forms so many new words


The German language is a very special language in many respects. Languages become alive not only because they have been spoken by people as their mother tongue for many centuries. The ability of a language to renew itself also contributes to making it seem particularly alive. German is particularly capable of renewal. New words are formed every year. These new words are called neologisms.

Youth language, as well as certain dialects, the linguistic styles of certain groups, loan words from English and specialist words from a certain subject area are always stimulating new words. Some of these words are even included in the Duden and accepted as standard language. The word googeln, for example, has found its way into the dictionary and many other neologisms have also become part of the standard German vocabulary in recent years. Even mobile phone – a word that does not even exist in English – is now firmly used in Germany. Youth language is particularly active in renewing the language. This is also due to the fact that young people want to set themselves apart from the adult world with a special language.

With youth language, young people in Germany have always succeeded in doing this. Some of the neologisms only live for a few years and then disappear again. Other neologisms manage to establish themselves as a permanent part of the language. In this case, they are no longer used only by young people, but are also taken up by many adults. While part of the population is sceptical about the new word creations, other people perceive them as an advantage. And in fact, the many new words that appear in German every year are not a disadvantage. They only show how much can be done with the German language.

The new words not only designate certain devices that did not exist before. They also ensure that people can express their own view of the world particularly well. Every word casts a certain perspective on the world. The more words a language has and the more people it gives ever new words to, the more diverse these perspectives become. Seen in this light, the many new words in Germany also prove the diversity of perspectives that exist in Germany. Germany is not a country with a one-sided Leitkultur. It is a country with many different people and many different perspectives on life. These many perspectives make for a special enrichment of the language as well as the culture. That is why Germany is so appreciated by writers and other artists all over the world.

Linguists are also particularly pleased with the liveliness of the German language. It constantly provides scientists with new research opportunities. It always allows the population new ways of expression. Not all reservations about new word creations are therefore justified. They do not always stand for a decay of language, as the critics of youth language think. They can also stand for the very special quality of the language in the country. And for this quality, you simply have to love Germany. You can experience a diversity of perspectives on the world here.

Last updated on 6. February 2023

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