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Some German Business Idioms

This week's dramatic installment of the German TV series Mama arbeitet wieder has some good examples of German idioms in a context that makes them easy to understand. Let's take a quick look!

Kann sich der Grünschnabel erst mal die Hörner abstoßen.
The greenhorn can first shed his horns.
Caption 30, Spielfilm: Mama arbeitet wieder

The phrase die Hörner abstoßen translates directly as "to shed the horns" and alludes to an old German student hazing ritual, in which a newcomer has to put on horns like a goat and knock them off as a sign of maturity. In this case, it means "to gain some experience."

Wird Zeit, dass wir da runterkommen und den Laden auf Trab bringen.
It's time that we get down there and bring the shop to a trot.
Caption 31, Spielfilm: Mama arbeitet wieder

Here you'll find two idiomatic usages. The noun der Laden usually refers to a shop, but is often used in a slang way to indicate any kind of business or even a specific project. The noun der Trab, which is a nominalization of the verb traben, means "trot" as in "a horse breaks into a trot." To bring den Laden auf Trab thus refers to bringing their "business operation up to speed."

Further Learning
If you haven't been keeping up with Mama arbeitet wieder, now is the time to start! Go to this Yabla German video page to see the entire series.

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