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14 Dec 2018, 10:55
Benjamin Wehrmann

German language association names “Hot Age” Word of the Year in nod to climate change

Clean Energy Wire

The Association for the German Language (GfdS) has made the term “Heißzeit” (hot age) its Word of the Year 2018, saying it neatly conveys a topic that dominated public discourse in one of the hottest and driest years on record. “Its phonetic analogy to “Eiszeit” (ice age), the term derives a meaning that goes beyond simply ‘a period of time when it’s hot’ and takes on an epoch-making dimension, possibly pointing to a period of changing climate,” the GfdS says in a press release. The association says “Heißzeit” is closely associated with “one of the most pressing global phenomena in the early 21st century – climate change” and represents “the opposite of an ‘Eiszeit’.” The word "Heißzeit" was widely used by German media to describe the startling "Hothouse Earth" study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact research (PIK).
Most other entries for this year’s Word of the Year, a contest the GfdS has held since the 1970s to highlight the impact of important social developments on the German language, were related to political events. The association voted the term “Diesel-Fahrverbot” (diesel driving ban) on rank 7.

Find the press release in German here.

See the CLEW articles Germany’s power system weathers heat wave despite fossil plant curbs and Hot summer turns up the heat on Germany’s coal commission for more information.

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