Austria has no more fucks to give – Fucking (Upper Austria) name change

It is not often that I write about current event, especially in a setting such as this website. While linguistics and language are often in the news, it is not often for a sad reason. As you may have seen in the news, the town of Fucking in Upper Austria decided on 27 November 2020 to change its name from Fucking to Fugging. The change will come into effect on 1 January 2021.

History

The village of 106 people possibly has a history over 1,000 years old. It is believed that the town is named after Focko. Focko was a nobleman from Bavaria in Germany; the town was founded in the 6th century. The town has had no real significance and importance and was virtually unknown to the wider world until after World War 2. At this time, British and American soldiers stationed nearby would sometimes come by for a giggle. Since the invent of the internet, English-speaking visitors have flocked to the town for obvious reasons.

While the increased tourism (usually just taking a picture with the sign and continuing) hasn’t been of great concern to the residents, there are always those people who ruin it for everyone else. There are three main reasons for the name change:

  1. The town entrance sign (common across many parts of Europe to show entering and exiting the town, such as the one posted at the top of this article) often goes missing. Theft is usually the reason. The replacements used with excess concrete to keep the sign where it is (unfortunately I do not know what they are going to do with the old signs once the new names comes into force). The name change to Fugging will stop the more determined from trying anyways.
  2. The residents have had to apparently put up with a lot of bad jokes from English-speaking visitors about the name. Puns can be great but unless you are a dad (or a connaisseur of dad jokes), there is a limit for many of us. It seems that limit has arrived after 1,500 years.
  3. The locals do not pronounce Fucking like an English-speaker would assume. The local pronunciation is more like Fugging.

The name change should solve all of these problems.

Sign of Change

The name of Fucking has actually been used by the residents to promote environmental activism in the past. Here is an image from 2019 posted to reddit:

Because our climate is fucking important (Fucking, Austria) : europe
Image from Reddit. “Weil unser Klima Fucking wichtig ist!” = Because our climate is fucking important!

Somehow, “Because our climate is Fugging important” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

No Fucking

With this name change, Austria will no longer have any towns named “Fucking”. There is a town in Lower Austria that also had the same name until the 1830s. It also changed its name to Fugging (although whether this was something official or it just happened over time, I am not sure). When rumours were circulating in 2012/2013 that Fucking was going to change its name, the mayor of Fugging reportedly said “One Fugging is more than enough for Austria”.

There has also been no word if the street names will also be changing to reflect the updated name; five of the six connections are also “Fucking”. There has also been no mention of whether the nearby villages of Oberfucking (Upper Fucking) and Unterfucking (Lower Fucking) will also be changing their names in the near future.

Reactions

So far there has been no comment from Petting across the border in Germany on the Austrians changing their town’s name. Since the dawn of the internet, many have started their journey in Kissing in Germany, visting Petting in Bavaria and then Fucking in Austria before going up to Wedding in Berlin (next to the old Tegel airport).

I wonder if this shift from Fucking to Fugging is something that might happen in the English language? Do you think our swear word will also reflect these changes in the future? Will the town have to change their name again?

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