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Today's quote:

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Have "Kaufmannsgehilfenbrief", will travel!

My German "Kaufmannsgehilfenbrief" (Commercial Assistant's Certificate)


The longest word composed in German - at 80 letters - is "Donaudampfschifffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft", meaning, the "Association for Subordinate Officials of the Head Office Management of the Danube Steamboat Electrical Services" (as Mark Twain once remarked, "These things are not words, they are alphabetical processions").

At a mere 22 letters, "Kaufmannsgehilfenbrief" doesn't come close to "Donaudampfschifffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft", but it allowed me to leave Germany and see the world.

For those whose German vocabulary doesn't go beyond "Hofbräuhaus", "Oktoberfest", "Kuchen", "Kindergarten", "Bildungsroman", "Gestapo", "Bratwurst", "Sauerkraut", "Bretzel", "Kaputt", "Dachshund", "Edelweiss", "Angst", "Blitzkrieg", "Schnauzer", "Lebensraum", "Zeitschmerz", "Autobahn", "Weltanschauung", "Schadenfreude", "Gemütlichkeit", "Dummkopf", Kaffeeklatsch", "Schweinehund", "Abseilen", "Realpolitik", "Panzer", "Lederhosen", "Achtung", "Wanderlust", "Poltergeist", "Kohlrabi", "Pumpernickel", "Wirtschaftswunder", "Götterdämmerung", "Goggomobil", "Ersatz", "Wunderkind", "Doppelgänger", "Übermensch", "Zeppelin", "Gesundheit", "Schnapps", "Rucksack", "Volkswagen", "Kitsch", and "Apfelstrudel", let me fill your "Bildungslücke" by explaining that those 22 letters stand for what can be (very) loosely described as a "Commercial Assistant's Certificate". It is given to those who have successfully complete three years of articles to a business during which they are force-fed on subjects such as accounting, commercial law, economics, business ethics, and many other, none of which seem to matter much once they are let loose in the real world.


"Die ganze Welt mein Arbeitsfeld!"


Have "Kaufmannsgehilfenbrief", will travel - and I did! (... and fifty jobs in fifteen countries and fifty-seven years later, it's become just another piece of parchment, slowly yellowing away while I am mellowing away!)

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