Creator is excited: Otto Waalkes’ Ottifant is in the online Duden

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Creator is excited
Ottifant by Otto Waalkes is in the online Duden

The Ottifant is ennobled by the Duden: The creation of the mute bard of East Friesland, Otto Waalkes, is in the digital version of Germany’s most important language reference work. Waalkes is delighted.

Ottifanten have always been one of the trademarks of comedian and actor Otto Waalkes. Now the humanized elephants drawn by Waalkes have made it to the Duden – at least in the online version of the standard work on German spelling. “The Ottifant has been available online in Duden for a day or two,” says the head of the Duden editorial team at Cornelsen Verlag in Hamburg.

It remains to be seen whether the famous figure will also appear in the next printed Duden, she explains. “That will be decided in a complicated editorial process in the months before the next edition comes out.” However, it is not yet certain when it will be published.

Waalkes spoke out with an Instagram post and was happy with Duden’s submission. “Staartk – my Ottifant is now in the dictionary!” wrote the East Frisian. He can now always read how the word is spelled and pronounced correctly and even look up its genitive. “I didn’t even know he had a genitive – he never showed me.”

Incidentally, the Duden describes Ottifant in the online text as follows: “Ottifant, the figure of an elephant designed by the German comedian Otto Waalkes, who has human characteristics. Artificial word, formed from the first name Otto and ‘elephant’”.

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