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Switzerland’s Word of the Year 2018 selected

Doppeladler, charge mentale and gesto dell’aquila are Switzerland’s Word of the Year 2018 in German, French and Italian. They reflect what the public was concerned with and talking about during the year. ZHAW researchers used the largest Swiss text database as a basis, with the jury’s sense of language decisive in the final vote.

The vote
Elsa Liste Lamas (head of French jury)
Image: Marta Zampa (head of Italian jury)

Doppeladler, charge mentale und gesto dell’aquila are the words of the year in Switzerland for 2018. In second and third place are Rahmenabkommen and 079 for German, sécheresse and infox for French and notte tropicale and criptovalute for Italian (see boxes). “These are words which influenced the discourse in Switzerland in 2018; they are well documented in our database of Swiss texts and have been selected by language experts,” explains ZHAW linguist Marlies Whitehouse, operative head of the Swiss Word of the Year project.

In Italian too for the first time

The ZHAW School of Applied Linguistics took on responsibility for the Word of the Year in 2017, using a multilingual, research-based and interactive process to make the selection. Italian was included for the first time in 2018, and Romansh will be added in 2019. There is a three-stage selection process for each language. The ZHAW Swiss-AL text corpus is analysed and twenty words per language are identified which have been used more frequently in the course of the year than in previous years. Then a jury of language experts selects the three most striking words of the year on the basis of this list, suggestions from the public and their own experience. Finally, the researchers describe how these words were used during the course of the year in Switzerland and the changes in society which they reflect.

Each of the three juries comprises about ten language experts from the German-, French- or Italian-speaking regions of Switzerland. The School of Applied Linguistics at the ZHAW in Winterthur maintains the text database and is responsible for the project.


Prof. Dr. Daniel Perrin, Dean, School of Applied Linguistics, ZHAW, +41 (0) 58 934 60 67,

Lic. phil. I Marlies Whitehouse, School of Applied Linguistics, ZHAW, +41 (0) 58 934 61 69,

ZHAW Corporate Communications, +41 (0)58 934 75 75,