it’soktotakeabreak

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When you first move to a foreign country, there is a fair bit of paperwork to attend to. And, let’s be fair, in Austria, they don’t shy away from the paperwork. There is the Meldezettel, there is your Sozialversicherung, and, if you really know your paperwork (which not everybody did and got fined for it afterwards, not naming any names here….), there is your Anmeldebescheinigung. Your what shine? Exactly!

Other than being paper that you literally have to work through, these things have more in common. Have you noticed how long these words are? I mean, really. To get your Sozialversicherung sorted, you have to go to a respectful establishment that everybody calls the gekaka. I think you can empathise with me when I say that it took me a fair while to figure out that this is not an actual German word. But rather, an acronym, GKK (now fondly known as dzee kai kai in my family). This acronym stands for Gebietskrankenkasse. So no wonder Austrians occasionally speak in acronyms! Although, let’s face it with our elloels (LOL) and ouemdzees (OMG), the English language uses acronyms for words that have just one syllable. We’re so busy, we acronym our sentences!

However, this gets worse. Nowhere do they love long words more than in anything to do with taxes in Austria. Take Einkommensteuererklärung for example. Yes, this is one word. One word that has actually swallowed three. Very greedy if you ask me. Umsatzsteuervoranmeldung. Now, here one could argue that this big ‘un has actually devoured four words! Four words – it’soktotakeabreakIsay. Well, no wonder Austria is not a tax haven. Too complicated to start hiding anything here…

And, to finish off with a real bomb shell, this is a word that a student of mine recently acquainted me with. Hold on, you’re in for a real treat, Eierschalensollbruchstellenverursacher. Yes, this is no joke, this is an actual German word. In English, it could sound something like “eggshellbreakingpointcauser”. Enough said.

I think it was actually unnecessary for me to italicise the German words, you might have recognised them due to the amount of space they take up anyway.. 

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