New Useful Words

German is evolving, of course. That means there are new expressions, some of which are used often and are very efficient for expressing particular meanings.

I’ve written about Smith’s cat, youth-speak expressions and the evolution of forms of address.

Here are some specifics expressions that were new to me and that I hear somewhat regularly:

“Auf Augenhöhe” = at eye level, meaning between peers and implying that two people/groups of people are equal to each other and thus meaningful exchanges might ensue. All kinds of things can be at eye level, sports teams, government, students, etc.

-affin = close to =phile. This is a suffix that gets attached to nouns to mean something like prone to, likely to, liking to. It describes people or groups of people. Examples could be fußballaffin, buchaffin, etc.

“Beworben” = advertised for, advertised to. People can be advertised to, say by GoogleAds, and things can be advertised for through campaigns, posters, etc. Given how ubiquitous advertising has become, especially online, it seems like there are more and more occasions when we are advertised to and the German word flows easily, whereas the English versions here seem kind of clunky.

Zutexten = bury with SMS messages. SMS were a more significant element of daily life/pop culture in Europe than North American or Asia, I think, so perhaps it is not surprising that language reflects this a bit more. Texten is simply the verb texting, but the prefix “zu” implies that there are so many messages that one is being buried below them. These days, the kids’ WhatsApp class chats seem to generate so many messages (and the “pings” that announce them) that the risk of being buried here seems much higher than with SMS.


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