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Switzerland’s Word of the Year

The Word of the Year embodies key social developments that are reflected in Swiss discourses. A team of researchers at the School of Applied Linguistics determines Switzerland’s Word of the Year in order to find out what is on the population’s mind – in all four national languages.

How is Switzerland’s Word of the Year chosen?

Switzerland’s Word of the Year is selected on a multilingual, research-oriented and interactive basis:

Multilingual

Between 2003 and 2016, the “Word of the Year Office” selected Switzerland’s Word of the Year in German. Since 2017, a team of researchers at the ZHAW School of Applied Linguistics has determined Switzerland’s Word of the Year in German and French, with Italian being added in 2018 and Romansh in 2019.

Research-based

For each language, the selection process encompasses three stages:

  1. The researchers initially analyse the ZHAW “Swiss-AL corpus” text database and identify 20 words that have been used more frequently in the current year than in the years before.
  2. A jury of language professionals then selects the three most striking words from this list and suggestions from the public as well as on the basis of their own experience.
  3. Finally, the researchers use word histories to show how these words have developed as part of language use in Switzerland during the past year and what social changes they represent.

Interactive

The ZHAW collects data on public discourse as well as suggestions that can be sent in via the following channels up to 3 December:

#WortdesJahresCH
wort-des-jahres.linguistik@zhaw.ch

#MotDeLAnnéeCH
mot-de-l-annee.linguistique@zhaw.ch

#ParolaDellAnnoCH
parola-dell-anno.linguistica@zhaw.ch

#pledrumantsch
pled-da-l-onn.linguistica@zhaw.ch

We provide you with regular news updates on this page and via our Twitter channel @ZHAWLinguistik.

Video, Slam, Rap

Video: Word of the Year

Slam: a word is worth more than 1,000 images

Previous Words of the Year

Year, Rank German French Italian Romansch
2021, 1. Impfdurchbruch iel certificato respect
2021, 2. Starkregen précarité urgenza pazienza
2021, 3. entfreunden variants exploit tgira
2020, 1. systemrelevant coronagraben pandemia mascrina
2020, 2. Maskensünder gestes barrières responsabilità extraordinari
2020, 3. stosslüften luttes distanza positivitad
2019, 1. Klimajugend vague verte onda verde luf
2019, 2. OK Boomer féminicide sciopero delle donne diaspora
2019, 3. Flugscham flygskam 5G unda verda
2018, 1. Doppeladler charge mentale gesto dell’aquila 2019
2018, 2. Rahmenabkommen sécheresse notte tropicale -
2018, 3. 079 infox criptovalute -
2017, 1. #metoo harcèlement ab 2018 ab 2019
2017, 2. weglachen congé paternité - -
2017, 3. Influencer influenceur / influenceuse - -

Words of the Year up to 2016

Year Word of the Year Un-word of the Year Sentence of the Year
2016 Filterblase Inländervorrang light Vielleicht müssen wir die Granaten in Zukunft ohne Logo liefern, damit niemand weiss, woher sie stammen. (Andreas Glarner)
2015 Einkaufstourist Asylchaos Eine WM kann man nicht kaufen. (Sepp Blatter)
2014 # (Hashtag) Dichtestress Es bleibt unbeständig. (Metereologenspruch und gleichzeitig Einschätzung für die politische Grosswetterlage in der Schweiz)
2013 Stellwerkstörung Systemrelevant Aff (BR Ueli Maurer zu TV-Journalist)
2012 Shitstorm Bio Vada a bordo, cazzo! (Schiffslotse zum Kapitän des sinkenden Kreuzfahrtschiffes Costa Concordia)
2011 Euro-Rabatt Technologieverbot Das Leben ist kein Bonihof. (Protest-Tafeln bei linken Demos gegen das System)
2010 Ausschaffung FIFA-Ethikkommission Die Schweiz ist eine frustrierende Alpendemokratie. (US-Botschafter Peter Coneway)
2009 Minarettverbot Ventilklausel Ich bin nicht gut integriert in der Schweiz, ich bin Schweizer. (Granit Xhaka)
2008 Rettungspaket Europhorie Wir müssen nicht nur das Zuckerbrot benutzen, sondern auch die Peitsche. (D-Finanzminister Peer Steinbrück)
2007 Sterbetourismus Klimakompensation Das Rütli ist nur eine Wiese mit Kuhdreck. (SVP-Präsident Ueli Maurer)
2006 Rauchverbot Erweiterter Selbstmord «Ich kann das!» (Doris Leuthard als neue BR)
2005 Aldisierung Erlebnisorientierte Fans Deutschland, wir kommen! (Fussball-Nati an WM 2006 in D)
2004 Meh Dräck Ökoterror Switzerland - zero Points (Eurovision Song Contest)
2003 Konkordanz Scheininvalide Wählt Blocher! Er hat diese Strafe verdient. (Franz Hohler)

Team

Strategic management and member of the German-language jury

Member of the French-language jury

Member of the Italian-language jury

Member of the Romansh-language jury

Corpus linguistics

Sounding board