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Culture

Best German abbreviations from AA to z.Z.

Parents complain nowadays that they cannot understand their teens' slang because of the many abbreviations they use while texting. But Germans have a long established tradition of abbreviations. Here are our favorites.

The German language is renowned for its extra long words, which are very often comprised of several words glued together. Germans have found a way to deal with the wordy problem by creating "Abkürzungen" - abbreviations.

A typical way of creating these abbreviations is to combine the first two letters of each word. For example, the name Haribo, Germany's famous brand of gummy bears, comes from the name of the creator the candy, Hans Riegel, and the place it was originally created, Bonn. Similarly, supermarket chain Aldi was founded by the Albrecht family and its name is derived from Albrecht Discount.

This process happens so often in German that some words even integrate the language as a word in itself, as people forget they were initially an abbreviation.

The word Gestapo, the Nazi's secret police, derives from "Geheime Staatspolizei" and the common name for the former East German repressive police was Stasi, which comes from "Staatssicherheit" (State Security). The German anti-Islam group "PEGIDA" actually stands for "Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes" (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident).

But they're not all negative or historically weighted. In many German offices, workers face WoKos ("Wochenkonferenz," weekly conference) and Telkos (Telefonkonferenz, telephone conference).

Click through the gallery above to discover a small selection of the huge, confusing world of German abbreviations.

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