Lifestyle

Get Your “Covid Lingo” Game On

GERMANS HAVE COINED MORE THAN 1,200 WORDS TO TALK ABOUT CORONAVIRUS

BERLIN — If you go out in Germany during the pandemic, don’t forget your Alltagsmaske (everyday mask) or Spuckschutzschirm (spit protection umbrella). If it’s a bit frigid outside, maybe don a Schnutenpulli (literally, snout sweater, a cozier word for mask).

Heading out on a date? Be sure to check the latest Mundschutzmode (mouth protection fashion) before selecting your Gesicht­s­kondom (face condom, as a mask is sometimes known).

Germany’s nearly four-month lockdown has entailed no restrictions on the language’s propensity for multisyllabic, often tongue-twisting words. Germans have coined more than 1,200 of them to describe the rules and realities of life in the time of the novel coronavirus.

They’re not alone, of course. Over the past year, languages all over the world have had to expand and adapt to address the pandemic and the lives it has upended. The French adopted “quatorzaine” for a 14-day isolation period, and the Dutch use “hamsteren” to describe a frantic, hamster-paced stockpiling of supplies.

But in German — which has a grammar that lends itself to the forming of long, composite words and which borrows heavily from English — the rate and number of words added during the pandemic have no precedents in recent times.

 

Social distancing is Mindestabstandsregelung (minimum-distance regulation). Or, to get more precise, Anderthalbmeter­gesellschaft (one-and-a-half-meter society) for a group abiding by distancing rules. You need ways to cope? How about a little Glühweinstandhopping (hopping between mulled-wine stands) while, of course, paying attention to Mindestabstandsregelungen?

“I can’t think of anything, at least since the Second World War, that would have changed the vocabulary as drastically, and at the same time as quickly, as the corona pandemic,” said Anatol Stefanowitsch, a professor of linguistics at the Free University of Berlin. “I can think of many other examples of a huge cultural shift that changed the German vocabulary. But they didn’t happen within a few months.”

Part of the need to find words so quickly is psychological, according to Christine Möhrs, a researcher at the Leibniz Institute for the German Language. “By being able to talk about the crisis, I think, we reduce fears,” she said. “We can share our insecurities. But that means we have to find many, many new words, because so many things happened during the last months.”

 

Möhrs and her team have tracked more than 1,200 new coronavirus-related words as part of their ongoing effort to document changes to the language. Many of these words are borrowed from English, a habit Germans have practiced at least since the 1980s, when they started saying “computer” and “email” instead of “Datenverarbeitungsanlage” (data-processing unit) and “elektronische Post” to describe some of their new digital activities.

But aside from such English borrowings as “home office” and “lockdown,” the list of coronavirus-related German neologisms mostly features the traits that German neologisms are generally known for: length and precision.

As in most places, though, their use and meaning are also political. At the start of the pandemic, for example, the prohibition on going outside was called Ausgangssperre (going-out curfew). But German politicians soon realized that was a misnomer, because people could still go outside to exercise, shop for essentials or meet up with another person to go for a walk. The word changed to Ausgangsbeschränk­ung (going-out restriction) before later being subsumed by the more general English term “lockdown.”

But even “lockdown” was contested, according to Stefanowitsch, the linguist.

“People were saying it’s not really a lockdown, because we’re not actually locked into our homes,” he said. “It sort of became the one word where you could argue about whether or not it accurately describes all the changes that we’ve had to deal with.”

After some restrictions to slow the spread of the virus were eased in the fall, German media started using the term “lockdown light,” while critics of the lockdown’s multiple extensions dubbed the new regimen Salamilockdown, meaning a lockdown that happens in slices rather than at a single stroke. The list of new words that Möhrs and her colleagues compiled includes more than 30 versions of the term.

In recent months especially, with debates over vaccines flaring, words such as “Coronadiktatur” (corona dictatorship) and “Impf­zwang” (forced vaccination) have been shared widely on social media and at anti-government demonstrations.

“By using such words, a meaning is suggested that was never intended,” Möhrs said. “Even if a politician says, ‘Vaccines are not mandatory, and there is no Impf­zwang,’ the sentence still contains the word,” she said. “When you think about a sentence like, ‘Don’t think about the blue elephant,’ well, the blue elephant is in your mind.”

Möhrs and her team are evaluating hundreds of new words for their list, with frequency of use among the criteria. It will take at least another year or two to determine whether any of them will make it into a dictionary. But Möhrs has some favorites already. The rhyming word “Fussgruss” (foot greeting), for example.

“It shows that we humans want to be connected to each other,” she said. “You put your feet together and say hello.”

The share price of the David Beckham-backed biosynthetic cannabinoid company Cellular Goods climbed by more than 300 per cent after debuting on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) earlier today, reports Sky News.

The company sells a line of skincare and topical products infused with cannabinoids and saw share prices jump from 5 pence ($0.08) to more than 20 pence ($0.33) on its first day of action.

“We are delighted with the strong support from a wide range of institutional and retail investors to build premium consumer products based on biosynthetic cannabinoids under the Cellular Goods brand,” chief executive Alexis Abraham told Sky News.

Susannah Streeter, a senior investment and markets analyst with Hargreaves Lansdown, told City A.M. that Beckham’s association with the company likely helped boost the stock on its first day of trading.

“It’s not clear exactly how Mr. Beckham’s backing will evolve with Cellular Goods, but whether he’ll remain behind the scenes, or appear on the packaging, his personal brand has given the launch a bit of a kick,” Streeter said.

Though recreational cannabis remains illegal in the U.K., the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) recently allowed medical cannabis companies to be publicly traded. Cellular Goods is just the third cannabis company to list on the LSE.

“There has been a massive burst of excitement, and it’s warranted, but not all companies are created equal, and because they carry a cannabis title, one should not immediately think they’re a good company,” venture capitalist Ed McDermott told City A.M.

McDermott predicts that there could be as many as 20 cannabis-related companies listed on the LSE by the end of the year.

Despite the good news for investors, cannabis patients and advocates continue to petition the U.K. government to improve access to medical cannabis.

More than 40 children in the U.K. with severe forms of epilepsy are at risk of losing access to their medicine due to Brexit restrictions, The Timesreported in January.

British prescriptions are no longer recognized in the European Union and with many families travelling to the Netherlands to get their cannabis prescriptions filled — and Dutch law requiring a valid prescription to export cannabis products — those families are still searching for alternatives.

“I am facing the fact that my son might go into refractory epileptic seizures again, which can kill people,” Hannah Deacon, the mother of Alfie Dingley, the first patient in the U.K. to receive a permanent medical cannabis licence, told The Guardian in January.

“That’s how dangerous this is. So to say, ‘Oh, you can swap it for another product, sorry we can’t help,’ it is grossly unacceptable. It’s very very dangerous and I’m really frightened about what is going to happen,” Deacon said at the time.

“You weakened the power the minister has because Facebook bullied you”

Australian Senator Slams Government For ‘Buckling’ To Facebook

An Australian Senator has slammed the government there for agreeing to weaken a new law that would see Facebook have to pay for news content, after the social media site blocked all news, as well as government and emergency service updates in a blatant effort to cause chaos ahead of the vote on the new legislation.

Speaking in parliament, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young of the Green Party declared “The government has buckled here.”

“You’ve blinked, you weakened the power the minister has because Facebook bullied you. This is a face-saving exercise by the Treasurer,” she further announced.  Read More

 

Tesla Recalls Roughly 135,000 Vehicles Over Touch-Screen Failure

 

Tesla Inc. TSLA +4.05% is recalling roughly 135,000 Model S luxury sedans and Model X sport-utility vehicles over touch-screen failures, one of the electric-car maker’s largest-ever safety actions.

The move comes after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requested a recall last month, saying the touch screen in some models can fail when a memory chip runs out of storage capacity, affecting functions such as defrosting, turn-signal functionality and driver assistance.

The agency said the problem affected roughly 158,000 vehicles, including Model S sedans built between 2012 and early 2018 and Model X vehicles made from 2016 through early 2018. The recall doesn’t cover vehicles in that group that have already been repaired with a larger memory chip or an upgraded touch screen, according to NHTSA.

Tesla said in a letter to federal regulators made public Tuesday that while it disagreed that the issue constituted a defect in the vehicles, it was going ahead with a recall to conclude the investigation and provide a better experience for customers.

Read More

 

 

 

This Day In Market History: Surgeon General First Warns Of Smoking Hazard

What Happened: On this day in 1964, the U.S. government issued its first health warning against cigarettes.

Where Was The Market: The S&P 500 traded around 76.45, and the Dow traded near 766.08.

What Else Was Going On In The World: A pack of cigarettes costs about $1.60, or 1.4 hours of labor for minimum wage ($1.15) workers.

The First Onslaught: The Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service published the first of many advisories on the potential hazards of smoking. A scientific literature review revealed causality between cigarettes and chronic bronchitis, lung and laryngeal cancer in men, and lung cancer in women.

The report sparked yet-ongoing government intervention in the American tobacco industry. Over the course of the next few years, Congress adopted the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act of 1965 and the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act of 1969 to regulate the tobacco industry’s promotional strategies…CLICK for complete article

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

All the best for the holidays from Mike and the whole team at MoneyTalks. And we offer up our hopes for a safe and prosperous 2021. We’ll be back updating the site next week.