Synopsis

Simply put, this book is about how to use terms and phrases in the business world in the German language.

Berlitz

There is no definable author of this book, rather it is published by the language-learning publishing house Berlitz. They are still active and are still publishing language-learning books in many languages.

Themes

As can be expected, there will be nuances in the translations which do not completely reflect the original English sentence or phrase. As such, the question “Did you take the bus?” is translated as “Did you travel with a bus?” The colloquialisms found in the English language do not translate directly into German. Another example being the placement of “not,” which is not placed in from of the predicate, but in front of the object. The phrase “I cannot drive the car” would be translated into German as “I can drive no car” or “I can drive not the car.”

As for adjectives, they are sometimes given the morphological shift from the noun with the +en at the end of the word. They are then affixed at the beginning of the noun it modifies. It does so to convey the idea of the noun in its modified form, or it is derivational in its form by creating an entirely new word.

This was especially seen with the terms found throughout the dictionary at the end of the book. There are plenty of words that have affixes, particularly if they pertain to a piece of technology or an abstract concept. For example, a lot of words pertaining to finance has these affixed words. Although it is similar to how the English language has these words, the affixes in the English language are mostly from the Greco-Latin roots, whereas German words make use of mostly Germanic rooted words.

The book also makes use of dialogue in order to convey a question or statement pertaining to the career path. This is an important step, since you are able to see how the language is used. Though, there are only bare dialogue lines without any interactive dialogues between two parties.

Historical Context

This was written more than two decades ago, so obviously there are no phrases yet pertaining to responsive technology, like iPhones, or Zoom calls. That should be kept in mind to any who want to go through the cheap option of finding old language-learning books.

Intertextuality

It does come to mind Yuval Noah Harari’s examination of the concept of credit, which is abstract yet is used to monetize long-term finances. This is especially something to keep in mind, since I mentioned previously how finance is among the abstract concepts found in the German language.

As noted by Christian Mabsbjerg, there are social ramifications for business leaders that they would need to consider, since a single miscalculation could result in fewer sales. I think this is important when learning a different language in a business context. The German language offers such an opportunity.

Connecting To The Previous Book

This definitely relates to the previous book, though not just because it deals with the German language. The authors of the previous book suggest trying to learn specific terms related to whatever career you may have in order to quickly understand how German works. It may not apply to the previous book, but it would definitely apply to this book, which specializes in phrases spoken in the business world.

Writing Style

One thing that I noticed was how it translated colloquialisms from English into German. In which case, the German language has to specify the object pronoun or some other. It had to mentioned “to you” or “to self” in order to show to whom the phrase was referring to. As far as number within the context of a telephone number, it is translated as “telephone number.”

This also applies to phrases with phrases such as “I regret” or “I’m sorry.” In the case of “I regret to inform you that…,” it is translated as “With regret I must inform you that…” The word “must” is important, since it also takes the place of “to need.” As expected of an SOV language, the verbs usually come at the end. For more complicated sentences, like ones with “can” and “must,” they come directly following the subject pronoun.

Real-World Application

The purpose of this book is to help those who are in the business world and may have business partners or firm divisions in Germany, Central Europe, or Namibia. It features requests, questions, replies, and descriptions that would definitely be used in the business world.

Inspiration To Myself

Maybe in some uncertain future, I would do business in German. However, as of right now, I am still a beginner and a few phrases would only get me so far. Along with the other 20 most spoken languages in the world, it would definitely have its place among the many towers of babel that proliferate the planet. I would need to think more about how far I am willing to take my place among the Germanophonic world.

Ultimately…

Although we have the Internet to be able to learn some essential German phrases, this book definitely reads like a last-minute effort to learn as much essential German phrases before meeting with German business partners. This book is obviously useful, though it does not get into depth about the intricacies of the German language; and it should be read in accompaniment with other German language books.

Recommend This To…

  • Any beginning German speaker. Though, this edition might be outdated, it was cheap to buy, and the worst case scenario is being informed “Well, we used to speak like that.”
  • Anyone who knows someone who is actually from Germany. They might know more about how these phrases are constructed–or might be in one of the professions described in this book.

Sources

  • German Business Phrase Book. Berlitz. 1996.
  • Harari, Juval Noah. “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.” 1st Edition. Harper-Perennial. 2018.
  • Kaufman, Josh. “The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business.” Revised Paperback Edition. Penguin Random House. 2012.
  • Madsbjerg, Christian. “Sensemaking: The Power of the Humanities in the Age of Algorithm.” Hachette. 2017.
  • Stern, Guy and Everett F. Bleiler. “Essential German Grammar: All the Grammar Really Needed For Speech and Comprehension.” Reprinted Edition (2014). Dover Publications, Inc. 1961.
  • “What are the top 200 most spoken languages?”Ethnologue. 24th Edition. 2021.

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