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Some German Abbreviations & Acronyms

At Yabla, we like to write out words in their entirety (for instance, 2016 is zweitausendsechzehn) in our video captions so that you can learn them better. But you may also come across abbreviations and acronyms in German articles that you are reading, so it's not a bad idea to catch up on some of the more common ones. (An acronym is an abbreviation too, but it's used in speaking.) You won't find many actual abbreviations in Yabla videos since they aren't usually spoken, but there are plenty of examples where words or phrases would be abbreviated if they were in standard written form! 



Unterschrift, Stempel und so weiter und so weiter, ne?

Signature, stamp, and so on and so forth, right?

Caption 23, Großstadtrevier - Von Monstern und Mördern

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One of the most common abbreviations of all is usw., which is short for und sweiter, and pretty much interchangeable (even in German) with "etc."

Merkel hat noch TÜV [Technischer Überwachungsverein]

Merkel still has a TÜV [technical inspection organization certificate]

bis zweitausenddreizehn.

that's valid until two thousand thirteen.

Captions 32-33, Der Merkelpilot - der kleine Mann, der es macht

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If your car won't pass the TÜV (an acronym, with the "Ü" pronounced like the "oo" in "foot") inspection in Germany, you'd better get it fixed or get rid of it, because you can't drive it on the street without the certificate from the Technical Inspection Organization or Technischer Überwachungs-Verein. This non-profit organization (eingetragener Verein or e. V.), responsible for overseeing technical inspection procedures in Germany, even owns a registered trademark on the term. Hopefully Chancellor Merkel will get her TÜV approved this year! 

Wir sind sehr zuversichtlich beziehungsweise sehr froh auch.

We are very confident, or rather, very happy too.

Caption 26, Strothoff International School - Interview mit dem Rektor

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The word beziehungsweise is often shortened to bzw. in informal writing, and is one of the most commonly abbreviated German words. It's also a very effective word that has no single-word equivalent in English, meaning "and/or" all in a single word. It's a bit tricky to translate because "and/or" is just not an elegant solution, so it's often translated as "respectively" or "alternately."

The undisputed champion of German acronyms, however, must be "for example": 

Hier haben wir zum Beispiel Rohkaffee aus Kolumbien.

Here we have, for example, raw coffee from Colombia.

Caption 8, Kaffee - Noch von Hand gemacht

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"For example" or zum Beispiel takes the acronym z. B., and this being German, don't forget to capitalize the "B" even in its short form! 



Further Learning
Take a look at this list of common German abbreviations and go to German Yabla to find some of the words and phrases used in context.

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