Civil Service German

Beamtendeutsch – the German of civil servants – prefers nouns instead of verbs, in the hope of coming across as sophisticated. It is not only typical in documents and correspondence with and between German government agencies at local, state and national levels –  Beamtendeutsch has also found its way into large German companies. Its compact form, and supposed clarity, aim to be objective and authoritative. Verbs are turned into nouns. To notify becomes a notification of.

Beamtendeutsch also turns the active form into the passive, making it difficult for the reader to know who the subject is. It then creates Substantivketten, literally noun-chains: Application for Registration of Residence for Foreign Students in the County. The German language in general favors individual words made up of several nouns:

Leistungsnachweiserbringungspflicht or Leistung (benefit, performance) – Nachweis (certificate, confirmation) – Erbringung (producing, provision) – Pflicht (duty, responsibility), which in English would read: „Students must show proof of course completion.“