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Hold Your Positions!

The German noun die Stellung is usually defined as "position" in English. As in English, to know the specific meaning of the word, it is important to know the context in which it is used.

 

In this short TV ad, a provocatively dressed woman makes the suggestion:

 

Dann gehen wir schon mal hoch, ein paar neue Stellungen ausprobieren.
Then we'll go on up and try out a few new positions.
Caption 5, Klicksafe Werbung: Wo ist Klaus?

 

The "positions" she is referring to are the primary definition of Stellung in Duden, the German standard dictionary: to place the body in a particular posture.

 

In the next video, the speaker is referring to a celebrity who has been a patron of their non-profit activities:

 

Der Bülent hatte hier auch eine Stellung.
Bülent also had a position here.
Caption 64, Sallys Tortenwelt und Kochwelt: Backen mit Kindern & Auftritt bei Radio Rumms

 

Here the Stellung being referred to is a  job position or a role.

 

The word Stellung is also the first half of the word Stellungnahme, which means "statement" in the sense of a document that announces the position one is taking on a topic:

 

Grund für die Stellungnahme…     
Reason for the statement
Caption 21, Aufklärung der NSU-Verbrechen: SPD fordert Sonderkommission

 

This week's new video "Mama arbeitet wieder" shows us an idiomatic use of Stellung:

 

Ich halte hier seit fünfzehn Uhr die Stellung.
I’ve been holding the position [idiom: taking responsibility] since three o'clock.
Caption 2: Spielfilm: Mama arbeitet wieder

 

A looser literary translation might use the American English idiom "holding down the fort" (just "hold the fort" in British English), a military phrase dating from the middle ages meaning to keep a military installation occupied to prevent enemy takeover. Apparently the US State Department was objecting to its use as politically incorrect a few years ago.

 

Further Learning
Watch the above videos on Yabla German to get a better sense of the use of the noun die Stellung in real world context.

 

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