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A friend described her university studies to me as "[major] unfertsch". I can't find this word in LEO or either of my dictionaries. I assume it means she didn't finish, because as far as I know, she didn't.

But is there any other nuance to the word's meaning? Does it mean she hasn't finished, but could go back and finish later? Or that she has dropped out completely? I feel like it's an overly personal question to ask her directly.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

It is most certainly "unfertig", i.e. incomplete. But I wouldn't attribute it to any specific dialect. It is anologous to "fertsch" and might originally come from dialect (e.g. "Faehdisch" in Koelsch, but Hessian is also a candidate), but is something I haven't seen or heard before the internet was around. So it might as well be internet speak.

It could come from child speech as well, as in "Fertsch. Abwischen!" (on the toilet) or from school, when the geek kids finish their math task first.

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It sounds like a southern dialect of "unfertig".

This means (normally) it is not yet finished, but will be completed later.

If you want to express "dropping" you would use other words like "abbrechen" or "aufgeben". So I see no reason to not ask your friends about the details if you are curious.

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Possibly she referred to (anspielen auf) "fertsch", which in Saxonia is quite often used to emphasize that you are ready.

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