Crisis slang: European language born of economic gloom

by Toby Manhire / 01 August, 2013
Across the continent, languages are swelling with crisis related coinages, reports IHT
Dizzy still from years of economic buffeting, the nations of Europe have witnessed discernible inflation in the field of “crisis slang”.

The Spanish Royal Academy has just updated the official dictionary with 200 words that have “been added or given new meanings” as a result of the crisis, reports the International Herald Tribune.

The term Ni-Nis, for example, describing “the legions of young people who are neither studying or working” – much like our “Neets” – has become commonplace.

In Greece, you’ll hear neoptohi, meaning the “new poor”, a “play on the Greek word for nouveau riche”, and poukou, the “pre-crisis era”.

In Italy, you’ll hear spreaddite, which is apparently used to describe “the intensification of suffering caused by the high spread”.

Portugal, meanwhile, has grandolar, which means “to subject a government minister to a singing protest using a revolutionary hymn”.

The crisis has also fomented a certain amount of “Euro newspeak”, according to German commentator Axel Hacke in the Süddeutsche Zeitung a couple of years ago. Particularly obnoxious, he argues, is the term ““euro emergency parachute”.

The European Union has plenty of linguistic issues of its own. A recent publication identified a list of misused terminology in EU publications.

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