'Schreibtischpendler' - Word of the Future?

Friday 26 March 2021
Max Weber Schreibtischpendler
Max Weber's illustration for Schreibtischpendler © DAAD (2021)

Schreibtischpendler, Umweltschädenstrauss, and zoomschick were just three of the winning ‘Words of the Future’ announced at the prize-giving event for this year’s DAAD-IMLR German-language competition on 24 March.

Entrants in various age categories were asked to come up with one new German word that could become important in the near or distant future. Competitors could take inspiration from the online discussion Capturing the Zeitgeist, which launched the competition, and which featured Rosie Goldsmith, Director of the European Literature Network, and wordsmiths Kathrin Kunkel-Razum, Chief Editor of German publishing house DUDEN, and Wendalyn Nichols, Publishing Manager at Cambridge University Press

The winning entries were celebrated at an event at which Friedrich Herrmann, poetry slammer and winner of the 2019 German national poetry championship, performed an original piece based on the competition entries, and graphic designer and illustrator Max Weber gave an insight into the creative process behind his illustrated dictionary of winning entries. The dictionary, and meanings of the winning words of the future can be downloaded as a PDF from the DAAD website.

Prize-winners are listed by category in order of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize with their word of the future in brackets:

Category 1: Students of German Studies
Jack Gravaney (die Maskenlosigkeitserkenntnis); Matilde Guala Molino (die Amnamesie); Frida Petersen (der Zoombie)

Category 2: German-language Students at Universities
Nathalie Hope, Adeline Fawcett-Ellis, Deniz Incesu (der Schreibtischpendler)

Category 3: School and 6th-Form College Students (Years 10-13)
Rachel Williams (zoomschick); Lydia Metaxa (die Mikrofonstummschaltparanoia); Catriona Hay (der Umweltschädenstrauss)

Category 4: German Native Speakers
Christian Mossmann (fairgewissern); Liesel Scheidt (coronasiert); Eleanor Voak (die Fakeologie)

Category 5: Other
Bethan Williams (das Parallelweh); Ivan Gonzalez Curbelo (der Planetentourist); Harik Sodhi (der Virusoutbreak)

And in the special awards section for global outreach, the winners were:
Alexander Laney (dörtchen); Jeannine Wanner (ersi); Rasleen Kaur (studiumsfähig)

Watch Friedrich Herrmann

Watch Capturing the Zeitgeist 

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.