The power of the English language

Reports carried by the BBC suggest that the English language continues to invade foreign vocabularies. France has notably complained about the relish with which their population uses anglicisms in the past, but reports from Germany suggest that language of the very worst kind has now arrived on their soil.

A picture of sweary Mrs Merkel

Angela Merkel. She’s a bit sweary. Apparently.© World Economic Forum

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has taken to using the work “sh**storm” (censored because this is a family publication) in public meetings to describe “events causing public outcry”. However the word appears to have been so well accepted by the populace that Ms Merkel’s apparent vulgarity is accepted without question.

Whatever you think of Merkel’s actual choice of words, here are two observations:

1. Words are powerful

The fact that the British media has gone to the hassle of informing us that the German Chancellor likes to swear in English confirms that words carry power. Would we have been so excited if Merkel cursed in Russian? Probably not. But her words have caught our attention.

2. Words are contagious

Clearly Merkel and the German people have heard English words many times before, most of which are unremarkable because they already have a native equivalent. Something about “sh**storm” must have caught their attention and addressed a linguistic shortcoming though.

All of which probably comes as no surprise to copywriters. Successful copywriting is about the power of words, creating contagious ideas, addressing needs. And getting talked about. Just not usually with the use of expletives.

Drop me a line to see how I can put my expertise as a freelance copywriter to good use for your brand.