“Freedom” and “double boom” are “Cluster of the Year”
Politicians in particular are often accused of twisting words. But language critics won’t let them get away with it, listing the worst cases. The chancellor is now also on a negative list.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) made it into the top five places in the negative prize “Cluster of the Year 2022” with his neologism “Doppelwumms”. The operators of the Floskelwolke network project, Udo Stiehl and Sebastian Pertsch, announced this on Sunday to the German Press Agency in Berlin. With the word, the traffic light coalition had announced an electricity price brake in addition to the gas price brake. “One can say that there is a double boom here,” Scholz said in September.
“Climate adhesive”, “social tourism” and “technology-friendly” were among the top five words. This time, the word “freedom” takes first place in the negative prize. The language critics emphasize that with this choice they are not impaling the word itself – but the swindle that is being done with it.
Verbal abuse of the concept of freedom
The reason: “We are observing how an increasingly aggressive way of dealing with each other in society is reflected in the language.” Differentiated discussions would be drowned out by volume and buzzwords. “This does not stop at the reinterpretation of a highly respected good like freedom, in the name of which selfish demands are now being made or absurd praises of, for example, nuclear power as “freedom energy” are emerging,” said the language critics. “Unfortunately, the verbal abuse of the concept of freedom exceeded all expectations and he is a deserved winner of this negative award.”
Regarding the choice of “double boom” it said: “The second edition of the “Bazooka” is on the table, doubly ammunition with subsidies for energy companies and consumers. The “boom” from the double barrel of the rifle costs so much that it probably can only be conveyed by onomatopoeia. We are expecting more “Piff, Paff and Puff” laws!” At the height of the Corona crisis, Scholz had described an unlimited loan program as a “bazooka”. The term actually stands for an anti-tank weapon – and in a figurative sense for a virtually unlimited financial firepower.
The word “social tourism” also made it into the list of the top 5. “The “nonsense word of the year 2013″ is always suitable for a right-wing provocation. It suggests that immigrants come to Germany primarily because of social benefits.”
The initiators do not want to denounce
With the word “open to technology”, which was also punished, everyone could “insist on old-fashioned techniques and praise uneconomical ideas from the crystal ball”. The word “climate sticker” in turn is a “memorable alliteration that can hardly be surpassed in terms of brevity and contempt. A language label for people who, regardless of their goals, are reduced to the form of protest,” according to the two jurors.
Sebastian Pertsch and Udo Stiehl were awarded the Günter Wallraff Prize for journalism criticism for the cloud of phrases. Since 2014, the language and media-critical project has been drawing attention to “plain phrases, phrases and other questionable formulations in German-language news texts”. One wants “not to denounce, but to sensitize,” emphasizes Pertsch.
The “Cluster of the Year” was awarded for the third time. First, the 2020 prize went to “Individual cases”, followed in 2021 by “Personal responsibility”.
The number of qualified proposals for 2022 was similar to the previous year. More than 70 terms and phrases related to the past year reached the phrase cloud. In addition to the top 5, the “equally worthy of an award” formulations “change in era”, “community of values”, “corona break”, “immune debt” and “resilience” were suggested. “But they didn’t make it onto the winner’s podium,” said Floskelwolke.