by Sirje

One of the most amusing things Germans say is the magical “folgendes.” It’s a word that basically translates to “concerning the following,” and it seems to be a preparatory word to alert the listener to the really REALLY important stuff. It makes sense to have a word like this in German, because– I don’t know if you’ve heard this language lately– but it can really have a long wind up; often, one prefaces anything important with 3 or 7 warnings that they are about to tell you something extremely vital. Sometimes you can even use folgendes twice, if you want to frighten your listener into attention before going on with the usual intro.

Plus, usually the way a conversation works in German is that one person talks for a really long time and then the other person goes, etc., until both sides are out of opinions and everybody is happy. So it’s normal for the attention to wander sometimes. It’s expected, so that in case the speaker forgets which verb they were aiming for, they can sort of restructure things midstream and go in a new direction without really confusing the listener.

So if anyone gets sleepy in the middle of your introduction, it’s useful to sort of wake them up a little with a little “folgendes.”Here is a short illustrative example of the use of “folgendes” on the telephone, translated for clarity into English:

“Good day, Schnicklefritz my name. Yes, FOLGENDES. I am calling from Berlin because I have some important information to tell you. I often have important information for a variety of reasons such as my expertise in various fields, and today is no different. And it’s about this. Yes. FOLGENDES: (insert actual information here).”

Try it! And let me know how it goes. I am certain you will be as happy with your results as I will be amused.