Das Wort der Zukunft. 2020 DAAD-IMLR Competition Launched

Thursday 1 October 2020

Das Wort der Zukunft is the theme of the 2020 German Language Competition, the seventh in a series organised by the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) and the IMLR.

They say that new words capture the zeitgeist. New circumstances and events encourage us to create new terms to describe the world and slowly but surely, these new words become part of our everyday language. For example, on a trip to Germany, were you ever asked ‘Bist du fly?’ [Are you in a good mood?]  Similarly, in English, ‘upcycling’ was named Word of the Year 2019 by the Cambridge Dictionary.

So what is the German word of the future? This year’s competition aims to encourage learners of the German language to combine their linguistic creativity with their hopes and thoughts for the future. In collaboration with a professional illustrator, we want to create an illustrated dictionary of German words for the years to come. Can you help us? The winning entries will be presented at a closing event and form part of a collection of new German words that will be made available digitally to the wider public and sent to the winners in printed form.

Anyone wishing to take part in the competition is asked to invent one new German word that might become important in the near or distant future. These words can be made up, e.g. neologisms, put together from pre-existing words, e.g. compound nouns or may be coined in any other creative way. At the date of submission, the word should not exist in the German language.

For further details, registration and submission forms, please refer to the competition webpage. The closing date for submissions is 8 January 2021.




The competition is supported by the DAAD, the Keith Spalding Trust (Institute of Modern Languages Research), the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, London, the Embassy of Switzerland in the United Kingdom, the Goethe Institute, and the Austrian Cultural Forum, London.