Exhausted Creature Achieved

Ladle steel 18j07.JPG
Ladle steel 18j07” by SnowmanradioOwn work. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

We’ve achieved a lot this year. It’s wearing me out. But we’re getting through it and the year is nearly exhausted, as well. A few related words with a common root1 are useful here.

  • schöpfen
  • schaffen

schöpfen

It means to create. Or to scoop, as in dip or ladle. You can derive a whole bunch of words from this one.

Schöpfung

Creation, in the grander religious or philosophical sense.

Schöpflöffel

Ladle, like for serving soup.

Erschöpfung

Physiological exhaustion; when all the energy has been scooped out of the soup terrine that is your being.

Geldschöpfung / Wertschöpfung

Corporate-speak: “value-add.” At least the German version feels less like a Bullshit Bingo double-score square.

Ausschöpfung

Also exhaustion, but maybe less pertinent to the human condition. Think “exhaustion of available resources.”

Geschöpf

Creature, like a monster or mythical being, but also like “creature of habit.”

unerschöpflich

Inexhaustible. The opposite of this list.

schaffen

This one is tricky because it’s almost like two different verbs, subtly different in their meanings and visibly distinct only in their past-tense forms.

schaffen (weak conjugation)

schaffen / schaffte / geschafft
  • to accomplish something
  • to achieve something
  • to manage (to do) something
  • to work (in Southern dialects)

schaffen (strong conjugation)

schaffen / schuf / geschaffen
  • to create
  • to execute (a work of art)
Abschaffung

Abolition. From the transitive one, past tenseschaffte, abgeschafft.

Anschaffung

Acquisition, in the commercial sense.

Beschaffung

Procurement. Work in a large corporate environment? Surely you’ve seen utterly superfluous busy-work processes and projects and immediately identified them as Arbeitsbeschaffungsmaßnahmen (ABM), even if you didn’t know that word for the at the time.

freischaffend

Self-employed. Which could the motivation for a Kapitalbeschaffung or the result of your Arbeitsbeschaffungsmaßnahme failing.

Kapitalbeschaffung

The raising of funds.

Schaffensfreude

Kind of a polar opposite to every foreigner’s favorite German word Schadenfreude, this means “creative enthusiasm.” It’s great when you’ve got it, and insufferable when someone else does.

Schaffner

The guy who checks your ticket on the train. Is he creating something? Achieving something? Managing something? Or just working?


That wraps up 2015 for us — jetzt sind wir erschöpft und die Zeit ausgeschöpft, und wir haben es gerade noch geschafft.

Frohes Schaffen in 2016!

  1. in Old High German; see their entries on DWDS. []

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