German Word of the Week I: Verniemandung

A creator of a stupid word, nicely insulted.

It means “Nobody-ification.” Strictly speaking, it’s not really  proper German.  The definition will be provided by the German satirist Eckhard Henscheid (link in German, he’s unfortunately unknown outside of Germany).  In 1985, Henscheid opened up the German front in the War on Crap with “Dummdeutsch” (Idiot German), a dictionary of moronic new phrases from the worlds of academia, business, and sport.  Take it away, Hensch:

Verniemandung.  The well-known author and editor of the works of Hölderlin D.E. Sattler bemoaned in the Frankfurter Rundschau the “nobody-ification” … of Germans through the advertising campaign of Egon Hölder, Director of the Federal Statistics Agency. The ads reassured Germans “Your name helps us count and will later be destroyed.” 

Granted, not an especially clever formulation.  But then again, not everyone is a Hölderlin, or his editor. Through sentences like “it was an attack on the productive imagination, that lies in the non-normative marking quality of names” Herr Sattler’s name, in turn, will not be "destroyed" but rather eternally branded as completely nuts.  By us, namely.  Here.

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