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As a follow-up to my last post, for those of you who were struck by the convoluted language the lady was using to say "Jew".

Most Germans associate the word "Jew" primarily with the Shoa (Holocaust). They are acutely aware of the past. They put a lot of stock into politically correct language. They have never met a Jew (only about 0.1% of the population in Germany are Jewish). And they are not really sure whether it is correct to call a Jew a Jew or if maybe there is some vague insult in that word, probably because of the Shoa-connection. Somehow is seems to be something only a Nazi would use. So, most people cannot bring themselves to use the word "Jude" ("Jew"). You will also only very rarely see/hear it used in the news.

Instead people use adjective-noun combinations with "Jüdisch" ("Jewish"), somehow apparently that sounds/feels better. They talk about people from the "jüdische Gemeinschaft" (Jewish community), "jüdische Mitbürger" (Jewish fellow citizens), a person being of "jüdischen Glaubens" (Jewish faith), "jüdischen Bekenntnisses" (Jewish denomination), "jüdischer Konfession" (Jewish denomination), "jüdischer Herkunft" (Jewish origin), "jüdischer Abstammung" (Jewish ancestry) or similar.

So, the curious statistician’s question is now of course how often are the above expressions used in comparison with combining the same expressions with "muslimisch" (Muslim) or "christlich" (Christian). As a totally scientific experiment I searched all of them in Google (in Germany with language set to German). I always used the expression in quotes and in the correct spelling and case-ending. I haven’t looked at the returned pages at all, only the count of pages found. Here are some results:

X jüdische/r/n X (Jewish X) muslimische/r/n X (Muslim X) christliche/r/n X (Christian)
Mitbürger (fellow citizen) 30.400 16.300 605
Bürger (citizen) 31.700 3.380 2.570
Glaubens (faith) 141.000 69.200 402.000
Bekenntnisses (denomination) 3.090 5.990 7.510
Konfession (denomination) 8.750 1.070 3.890
Herkunft (origin) 96.400 8.170 6.330
Person … Herkunft (person of … origin) 530 1 1
Menschen … Herkunft (human beings of … origin) 4.730 2.910 36
Abstammung (ancestry) 63.200 2.160 1.140
Jude (Jew) Moslem (Muslim) Christ (Christian)
73.200.000 10.700.000 344.000.000

So, surprisingly, Jews are most often actually just "Jews". Next comes the Jewish "origin" and "ancestry", where we can also see that the vast majority of overall uses is in combination with "Jewish", it is not used with other religions. Which sort or makes sense because only Jews claims to be a people as well as a religion, but which also may leave a taste of racism. What I had expected to be the winner, "fellow citizens", is used often, but just "citizens" is nearly as frequent. Muslims have it worse there. And finally, defining Jews by faith seems to be the least common, at least in comparison to doing the same for other faiths.

I don’t claim this to have any significance in terms of actual research, but maybe someone found it interesting.

PS: Hat tip to Juna in Darf man eigentlich Jude sagen for discussing the same question.

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