Favourite Words

The Frankfurt Book Fair opened on Wednesday and I heard that all visitors can write their favourite words on a piece of cardboard, with which they will then be photographed… The photos are on show at the fair. (See Book Faces here)


I have often asked my students what their favourite word is in English or in German, and many people find it difficult to separate the word from its meaning. For example, my students all know that I love the word ‘nevertheless’… surely not for the meaning? No, I like it for the way it rolls off the tongue, for its rhythm and simplicity. For the stress on the first syllable, the barely audible second syllable and for the whispered ‘sssss’ at the end. It is a strong, yet gentle word.


I also like the word ‘pudding’, but not for the obvious reasons. No, I like this word for the fun sound in the middle, the double ‘d’, which seems to accelerate the second syllable. When you say it several times in a row, it’s almost impossible to say it slowly because it sounds all wrong. It has to be said rapidly!

Okay, I’m a language freak I know…;-)

So, what is your favourite word? And why?  And try not to think about the meaning!


By the way, Iceland is the guest of honour at the book fair…. The Icelanders are passionate about culture and books, and it is the goal of almost every one of them to write a book in their lifetime. This reflects their love of sagas, legends, myths and folktales. I must seek out something Icelandic to read…