Wednesday, January 02, 2019

bzw. (part II)

On this blog I sometimes talk about the difficulties I have learning German. In one blogpost from a few months ago, I spoke of a German word that bedeviled me for years. The word was "beziehungsweise," which is pronounced beh-TZEE-ungs-vahy-zuh and is usually abbreviated in print as "bzw."

All "beziehungsweise" really means is "or rather." Not that crazy in and of itself, but Germans use it all the time in normal conversation. So it would be totally normal for a German person to say, "Ich mag Eis bzw. ich mag verschiedene Eissorten": "I like ice-cream, or rather certain flavors of ice-cream."

Why am I telling you all this...again? Well, today I found a great example of the English equivalent of "beziehungsweise," proof, really, that we actually do use it. I found the example in a 1986 interview with the late writer Primo Levy. Answering a question, Levy begins,  “My model (or, if you prefer, my style) was that of…”

Yup, totally "bzw." territory right there.

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