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Indecipherable German abbreviations

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Posted

I've noticed that Germans like abbreviating strings of words into individual letters, in order to thoroughly confuse the reader and complicate comprehension. Presumably the ultimate intention of the writer is to make themselves look highly intelligent. Needless to say, these abbreviations never appear in any dictionary.

This thread can be used to post examples of such abbreviations. Other users can then provide entertainment by suggesting possible solutions.

My two examples from today alone (both from completely different people, despite the common theme) are as follows:

Korrigiert werden müsste v.a. die Einleitung und die restlichen Seiten

Die Einleitung ist a.m.S. ok

Any clues?

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Posted

http://abkuerzungen.woxikon.de/abkuerzung/ams.php

Edit: None apply

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Posted

vor allem

aus meiner Sicht

Both unnecessary anyhow.

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Posted

v.a. - vor allem: a very common abb

a.m.S. - aus meiner Sicht: IMO ott and someone making himself look more busy and important than he is

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Posted

Alright, thanks for the answers. Definitely both superfluous, especially the "vor allem".

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Posted

Ever watched a newsreel from the former DDR? They really went to town on (spoken) abbreviations, far worse than here & now...

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Posted

English is a lot easier on this. IRS, FBI, CIA, MoD, FSA.

The prevalence of compound words clearly make this tougher in German. Kommanditgesellschaft auf Aktien becomes KGaA instead of KaA. Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht becomes BaFin (which always sounds like "barfin'") instead of BfF. Beziehungsweise is the one that gets always me; bzw instead of bw. Arbeitsgemeinschaft der öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunkanstalten der Bundesrepublik Deutschland becomes ARD, so Die Gebühreneinzugszentrale der öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunkanstalten in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland should be GRD, right? No, it's GEZ. Then there's St. Vo, the patron saint of traffic offenders (Straßenverkehrsordnung); why isn't it SVO?

Has anyone else noticed the tendency to give cutsey, sing-songy "nicknames"" to things with long toungue-twisters, but that the cutesier the acronym/contraction, the worse the thing actually is (Kripo, Stasi, Nazi), whereas fun stuff like swimming naked and bras become the grim-sounding FKK and BH.

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Posted

There's Schubi (Schubkarren) and Hubi (Hubschrauber) which are a bit ridiculous

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Posted

the tendency to give cutsey, sing-songy "nicknames"" to things with long toungue-twisters, but that the cutesier the acronym/contraction, the worse the thing actually is (Kripo, Stasi, Nazi), whereas fun stuff like swimming naked and bras become the grim-sounding FKK and BH.

Top observation!

I offer you Stuka as well, i was collecting them for a while but right now i cant think of any other.

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Posted

My favourite is "Mifrifi" for "Mittelfristige Finanzplanung".

You decide if that is a good or a bad thing.

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Posted

And KaDeWe in Berlin. When it was celebrating its 100th birthday, it got a mention on the BBC news where they called it Cader Wee.

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Posted

Cracked another one. "Lt." = "laut", as in "according to". What a brilliant abbreviation, reducing the number of characters from four down to three. Even worse than "w/" for "with" in English.

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Posted

More stupid ones: Hr. = Herr, Frl. = Fräulein

and mfg = Mit freundlichen Grüßen (if you want to be really impolite)

"mfg" by Die Fantastischen 4:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zfczKwT9o0

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Posted

I dont see why the abbreviations are stupid, every language has its own unusual traits you just have to learn as a non native speaker.

French has dropped vowels and apostrophes nearly everywhere, English has abbreviations for not when combined with certain verbs.

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Posted

Has anyone else noticed the tendency to give cutsey, sing-songy "nicknames"" to things with long toungue-twisters, but that the cutesier the acronym/contraction, the worse the thing actually is (Kripo, Stasi, Nazi), whereas fun stuff like swimming naked and bras become the grim-sounding FKK and BH.

You forgot GeStaPo.

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Posted

that is one of the standard abbreviation styles, taking the first syllables of the phrase and putting them together.

nothing intentionally sing songy.

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Posted

Do other languages do that? It seems that mostly in English we use the one intial letter and not the first pair.

Otherwise you would have NoAtTrOr or UnNa, WoHeOr instead.

Of course the French just do it backwards out of spite but even they use only the one letter.

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Posted

Do other languages do that?

Yes, Swedish (sometimes). Säpo = Säkerhetspolisen = Security Service.

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Posted

Reviving this because I heard a new one today: I thought I'd heard pretty much everything on German abbreviations... My boss told me to tell some Handwerker about something to do with APU-Leisten, so I passed the message on and found out these are Anputz-Leisten. Far as I can work out, it's some sort of profile a plasterer uses instead of plastering strips, around windows. I'm sure the DIY-knowledgeable will be along shortly to explain it more fully.

EDIT: LuMa was one of my favorites too.

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Posted

The most common one I've seen a lot is LG . liebe Grüße

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Posted

I've noticed that Germans like abbreviating strings of words into individual letters, in order to thoroughly confuse the reader and complicate comprehension.

I am glad to hear that this doesn't happen in the UK. I just heard a report on the BBC about the driver of a HGV who was convicted of GBH and who complained that he wasn't properly represented when he was charged by the CPS. This is shocking as he was represented by a distinguished QC, Sir Nicolas Spankbottom, CBE, DSO, brother of the Rt Hon Reginald Spankbottom, minister of the CoE, and Mr. Archibald Spankbottom, MD, RCS (who is currently MP for Darlington West).

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Posted

But there is a difference between abbreviations such as FBI or Gmbh than for example AFAIK and mfg etc.

English has got very lazy since the computer age with lots of "leetspeak" type of abbreviations creeping in.Although I've yet to see any sort of official communication with these abbreviations in it they do seem to be an accepted means of abbreviation.

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Posted

This thread of unexplored potential had escaped my notice so far tucked away in the Translations sub-forum. I might've seen it as a TT newbie in its early days if it had been in Special or Miscellaneous. Thanks for reviving it, the.frollein. I'd been thinking something along these lines could be fun so it's a bit of a shame it didn't take off from the start.

This thread can be used to post examples of such abbreviations. Other users can then provide entertainment by suggesting possible solutions.

1) I came to Germany in the mid '80s to work with the US Military so, before I had any time to learn German, I first had to get up to speed on the language of acronyms (MILSPK) used by USAREUR. My favourite distraction from serious study was inventing alternative civil, or (better still) uncivil, translations for their abbreviations. Following STB's idea from his OP, here's a couple of examples in both languages (US:DE - MILSPK:BwVkg(?)) to try to solve.* Bonus points for correctly matching the pairs.

GAFCOM

HFüKdo

LwFüKdo

GARFCOM

2) To find your way through Germany's bureaucratic jungle it helps to know not only which rules apply, but also their names. Unfortunately that's not easy as, when it comes to German abbreviations, the area of total flummoxation is inhabited by whomsoever has the job of titling German laws. Just take the following example for a walk around your mind and see if it doesn't leave you hearing an echo of 'why...? why...? why...? WTF were they thinking?... were they... do they... can they think?'.

(UZwGBw) : Gesetz über die Anwendung unmittelbaren Zwanges und die Ausübung besonderer Befugnisse durch Soldaten der Bundeswehr und verbündeter Streitkräfte sowie zivile Wachpersonen.

My bolds (added to assist finding the key words used in the abbreviated title). The actual title of that law consists of the entire quoted text which is also used in any official initial written or spoken references to it. Now you can see why German lawyers have to study so much longer than their foreign colleagues and why they get to take so much money for initial interviews. It's accounted for by the time it takes them looking up titles of laws in their database - when you thought they're just listening to you and drinking coffee.

*Those who have served in the military of any country may have the advantage of knowing, but it may be more fun to wait and see who comes up with the most original suggestion.

2B

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Posted

If you think use of abbreviations in German TV etc is bad you should have watched some of the newscasts from the former East Germany (DDR).

There was a time (about 30 years ago) when once a week on UK TV there was an educational German-language program with the news - usually the previous day's ARD/ZDF but once in a while from the DDR. My parents (who knew a bit of German) & I would fall about laughing at the newscaster getting into difficulties around the abbreviations.

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