Goethe's words - language explosions

Abendkolloquium BBAW Goethes Wörter




18:00 Uhr

Akademiegebäude am Gendarmenmarkt, Einstein-Saal, Jägerstraße 22/23, 10117 Berlin


For three quarters of a century, the Goethe Dictionary (GWb) has been one of the largest language-historical dictionaries of German. iThe Trier Center for Digital Humanities has been supporting this editorial work for years with its technical expertise. The dictionary completely records Goethe's exceptional vocabulary and, on the basis of approx. 3.4 million textual references, makes the meanings and usages of a good 93,000 words accessible and is also integrated into the Trier dictionary network.

The common language and the special features of Goethe's language are documented in equal measure: In addition to the general vocabulary of the 18th and early 19th century, the GWb offers individual language, word innovations, technical and special language expressions, and much more. It provides information on words such as Blitzlicht, impfen, liebehimmelswonnewarm or Parallelepiped as well as on Mohr, Mohrenbande or Schmiergeld and also shows how the understanding of words has changed since Goethe's time. The successful "Theme Year Language 2022" of the Klassik Stiftung Weimar, in which historical lexicography was made tangible in the literal sense of the word in cooperation with the Berlin/Leipzig workstation, shows how broad the interest in this is.

This important dictionary is the research basis for various scientific disciplines and presents users with a carefully prepared range of information on the linguistic and factual world of the Goethe period. Available as a printed version up to the word loop, the online version of the Trier Competence Center allows access up to marginal drawing and extended links.

The event is a cooperation of the Berlin/Leipzig office of the academy project "Goethe Dictionary" with the Klassik Stiftung Weimar and the Trier Center for Digital Humanities.

The lectures will provide exemplary insights into Goethe's use of language and present the GWb as a multifaceted resource.



  • Christoph Markschies (Akademiepräsident)
  • Ernst Osterkamp (Akademiemitglied und Projektleiter)


  • Undine Kramer (BBAW): Goethe von A bis Z. Eine Einleitung
  • Petra Lutz (Klassik Stiftung Weimar): Sprachexplosionen. Ein Parcours durch Weimar

  • Michael Schilar / Wiebke Schulte (BBAW): Goethe und das umstrittene Thema Impfen. Ins Goethe-Wörterbuch geschaut, auch in die Welt des 18. und frühen 19. Jahrhunderts

  • Renata Kwaśniak (BBAW): „Zart schattende Gebilde“. Schattenbilder in Goethes Leben und Werk 

  • Michael Niedermeier (BBAW): Farbenpracht und Sprachgewalt. Hunderte Farbbezeichnungen im Wörterbuch 

  • Claudia Bamberg / Thomas Burch (Trier Center for Digital Humanities): Das Goethe-Wörterbuch Online. Zugriffs- und Vernetzungsmöglichkeiten im Kontext offener Datenquellen 

  • Claudia Ristau (BBAW): Goethes Weihnachtswelt 

Keywords: Dissemination and Community Building in the DH