Linguistic Change and Politics

Migration of words - International request for submissions by the German Language Council

request for submission
From 1 June to 30 September 2006
entry deadline: September 30, 2006
world-wide call
+49 89 15921-584

German words have found their way into almost all of the world’s languages: Swedes develop “Fingerspitzengefühl”, Russians have problems with “Zeitnot” and Nigerians wonder “Is das so?”. Numerous originally German words have evolved in other languages and altered their meaning. For example, in Japan the word “arubeito” (developed from the German word “Arbeit”) means a student job, and in Norway “Nachspiel” refers to a last, late drink to round off the evening.

From June till September 2006 the German Language Council has launched the world-wide request for submissions entitled “Wörterwanderung” (migration of words) in order to collect these German words which have found a home in other languages. In addition to the words themselves, it was particularly of interest to learn what these words mean in the respective language, how people use them, and what they feel when doing so. The German Language Council will make the submissions available to linguistic research.

On September 30th, 2006 the international contest “Migration of words” of the “Deutscher Sprachrat” (German Language Council) came to an end. Overall 6.000 words of German origin that have “migrated” around the world and have been taken up in other languages were detected and submitted. The entries came from 70 different countries.
According to the lottery system, a cultural journey will be given as a price to one of the participants. The award will take place on December 07, 2006 in Munich, Germany.

The book “Ausgewanderte Wörter”, which results from this campaign, has been published by the German publisher Max Hueber Verlag. 

More information you will find at:



    Project in „Jahr der Geisteswissenschaften“