Manche Deutsche, wenn sie englisch schreiben, benutzen nur nicht-Muttersprachlern bekannte Wörter / Abkürzungen, z.B. resp., a.o., f. ex. und furtheron. Zitat von einem Engländer, der kein Deutsch kann und resp. überhaupt nicht verstehen konnte.
Ever since I first taught English to Germans – that was at Cologne University in 1974 – I have been amazed at people’s ability to regularly use non-existent English words.
When I don’t know a language well, I know there are words I lack, or I make spelling mistakes in existing words.
But who coined the word furtheron, which seems like a combination of weiterhin and furthermore?
And then there are all the abbreviations: f.ex. instead of e.g., and resp. standing for German beziehungsweise, which very rarely means respectively. Recently I saw a.o., clearly meaning among others. Of course, German unter anderem really means inter alia or among other things, not among others, so that too was misused.
For a summary of the problems with resp., see below.
Now I have read a query from someone on a forum with a German member whose English is very good. However, he keeps including the abbreviation ‘resp.’ in his postings, and English speakers can’t make sense of it. Here are two examples:
There are two kinds of suitable Polyurethane foam. One is single
component. Works well, only requires some water moisture resp. wetness to
react and set.
And I see that the vast majority of users resp. members still would like
to post ‘Wanted’ ads here.
To quote the questioner:
I thought at first it meant “with respect to”, but I think he’s actually using it to offer an alternative word for the one he has just used. I suspect he’s using a literal translation of a German abbreviation, but it doesn’t quite get his meaning across in English.
This is interesting, because every time I read resp. I know from German what the writer means. Beziehungsweise usually means and or or. But respectively has a narrower meaning:
‘each separately in the order mentioned’, to quote the Longmans Dictionary of Contemporary English. Example:
Classes A, B, and C will start their exams at 9.30, 10.00 and 10.30 respectively.
Beziehungsweise can mean this, but more often it is used the way the German uses resp. above: water or wetness, members or users.