The word 'beautiful' may not come to mind when one thinks of the German language, but a new competition aims to remedy that. A collection of linguistic and cultural organisations under the auspices of the German Language Council are searching for the prettiest idiom of the so-called tongue of dichter und denker (poets and thinkers) this summer. 'We want to encourage people to discover the richness of vocabulary and beauty of the German language - both nationally and internationally,' said Jutta Limbach, president of the Goethe Institute, which is promoting the competition around the world. Infamous for its tricky grammar and unwieldy compound nouns, German has long had an aesthetic inferiority complex when compared with French or Italian. The competition organisers hope crowning 'German's most beautiful word' will help improve its image and spark greater interest in the language. 'It has a reputation for being hard to learn and boring, but it really isn't,' said Ms Limbach. She and a jury appointed by the language council will pick the winning word from thousands of submissions, among them gluck (luck), vergissmichnicht (forget-me-not) and fruehlingserwaechniss (awakening of spring). While most participants appear to be focusing on the meaning of the word, some are also choosing to emphasise the phonetics. The council said someone from Melbourne, Australia, had nominated streichholzschaechtelchen (little matchbox) because 'if you're a foreigner and can pronounce that, you can pronounce absolutely anything, and that's beautiful'. Arguably less beautiful is the choice of Wolfgang Petersen. The star German director of Hollywood blockbuster Troy picked schweinshaxe, which means pig's knuckles. Though undeniably German, it's not exactly a word that puts the language's best foot forward.