Postreadying

My immediate future has a name and it is perfect. Bear with me while I deconstruct.

The first week of the new school year -– the one used for preparation before the students show up -– is logically called:

“Vorbereitungswoche”

The prefix Vor- means “pre-“ / the stem bereit means “ready” / the ending –ung turns the word into a noun or a gerund -– so in this case “readying” / woche means “week”. Put it all together and you get the literal translation

“pre-readying week”.

So far, it all makes sense. The problem comes when naming the final work week after the students leave – the one ahead of me. German speakers simply change the prefix from “pre-“ to “post-“ and end up with:

“Nachbereitungswoche”

“Postreadying Week.” I can’’t decide if this word is inane or somehow genius. It means I will be spending next week getting myself ready for the preceding school year after the fact.

And, as it turns out, that is true.

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2 thoughts on “Postreadying

  1. Given, Nachbereitung is one of those new, ugly words. Stemming from academic marketing or industrial/business speech (you know, the language supposed to be used in academic papers or by so-called media experts). In the given case one could easily use the term Abschlusswoche or Fertigstellungswoche if the task at hand were to recount last year’s work, . Or Resümeewoche, if it were more about reviewing the last year, in order to make things better for the next.
    I think the stem “bereit” takes various meanings with different prefixes: getting ready would be vorbereiten, making ready as in finishing would be nachbereiten. Same with zubereiten as in preparing (food). Then there is aufbereiten as in getting ready for a different use altogheter or a new cycle of use.

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