Short and sweet

My first hurdle in writing emails in German is that you do not capitalize the first word of the sentence after the greeting. My second is that it is very, very common to abbreviate the closing. To choices I see regularly are MfG and LG. The first is short for Mit freundlichen Grüßen – “Sincerely yours” or  “Yours truly.” The second is short for Liebe Grüße – which I have seen translated as “Love” but I think that that might only work for British speakers (I can recall the first time a male colleague from London closed his email with “love” – after checking with a native speaker I was able to relax). In the US, we tend not to end emails or letters to acquaintances or colleagues with “love” and might instead use something like “Kind Regards” or “Warm Regards” or even “Fond Regards.” All of these feel friendlier than “Yours sincerely” but nowhere near as intimate as “love” and I suspect that friendliness is what is intended by the people sending me LG. I believe that intimacy would require the addition of viele to liebe Grüße (perhaps at some point I’ll have a close enough relationship with a German speaker so that notes close with VlG?!)

One thing you will may have noticed is that abbreviations in German respect the fact that nouns are capitalized. Compare the way a German-English dictionary would indicate that a preposition is followed by a noun in the dative case in the two languages:

+Dat. gefolgt von Dativ
+dat.” followed by dative

My favorite example of this is – you’ve guessed it, perhaps – “for example” – z.B. which is the abbreviation for zum Beispiel. For some reason we abbreviate the Latin exempli gratia to” e.g.” when we want to briefly say “for example  in English.

To get a feel for the variety of abbreviations used in German, listen to this rap and read the glossary of their meanings: http://www.pauljoycegerman.co.uk/abinitio/alphabet/alphamfg2.html (perhaps unsurprisingly a number of the abbreviations have become the names of bands!).

MfG and bye for now.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

a free state of mind

Thoughts from the Journey...

The Diversity Dividend

Doing Diversity Differently

Lirean

Smart language learning

Akademie für geile Texte

Literaturnobelp-Reis, Basmati, 3min

Idol Musings

Ray's ruminations, rants and reflections on his American Idol addiction

PAUL'S EFL REVIEW

Taking a Fresh Look at the English Language

Marathon Sprachen

Unravelling the complexities of German in English

The Elementalist Epoch

Stories and Poems from the mind of Tristan Nagler

Reality Swipe

Welcome to the Reality Swipe experience... Brace yourself

%d bloggers like this: