Ladle steel 18j07.JPG
"Ladle steel 18j07" by Snowmanradio - Own 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 root 1 are useful here.

  • schöpfen
  • schaffen


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


Creation, in the grander religious or philosophical sense.


Ladle, like for serving soup.


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.


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


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


Inexhaustible. The opposite of this list.


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)

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


Acquisition, in the commercial sense.


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.


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


The raising of funds.


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.


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.