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German language officially gets 5,000 new words

August 7, 2017

"Emoji" is now a German word, as are "Darknet" and "Tablet." The official dictionary of the German language, the Duden, is getting an update, adding 5,000 new words taken from contemporary society.

Image: picture-alliance/R. Fellens

"The only thing that is constant is change."

The wise words of Greek philosopher Heraclitus also hold true in the German language, if the new Duden dictionary is any indication. German's definitive linguistic resource - the go-to work for spelling and usage - is releasing its latest version on Wednesday.

The capital Eszett
The recognition of the capital ß has also been integratedImage: picture alliance/dpa/S. Jansen

The 27th edition of the Duden comes in at 1,264 pages and contains a whopping 145,000 words - 5,000 more than its previous version, released in 2013.

A look at some of the new additions reveals that most are neologisms - words that have entered common use as a result of a specific occurrence or event.

The word "Schmähgedicht" - a blasphemous or vilifying poem - is now officially in the linguistic canon thanks to satirist Jan Böhmermann's ode to Turkish President Erdogan, for example.

Read more: Court rules against Böhmermann's Erdogan poem

The English term Brexit has likewise been recognized for official German use in the Duden.

Read more: Brexit means Brexit: UK's departure from EU enters Oxford English Dictionary

Now you can 'liken' that 'Selfie'

Not surprisingly, additional Anglicisms associated with technology have also made their way into the latest Duden, including Emoji, Selfie, Veggie and Tablet. As nouns in German, they are always capitalized.

"Emoji" has become an offiicial German wordImage: Picture-alliance/F. May

The current technological and political landscapes have led to several composites, words which put a German twist on an English word. While "Darknet" is the same in both languages, cyberwar is now officially in German "Cyberkrieg."

Watch: The best unpronounceable German words

Several acts inspired by social media use have become verbs: To online date is officially "tindern;" to like or heart something on social media is "liken" (not to be confused with the English word for making a comparison).

It's not only the addition of new words that the 20-member team behind the Duden have been working on over these last few years. The official lexicon has also stipulated consistent hyphens for words like "Co-Trainer" and "Ex-Kanzler."  Furthermore, the German character "ß," pronounced "Eszett," can now be capitalized. And the Germanized spellings of some words - "Majonäse," "Ketschup" and "Anschovis" - have been done away with.

ct/kbm (dpa, AFP)