In the movie Das Boot, the crew address the captain with a word I don't understand.
I think it may be "Kaleun", which I assume is short for "Kapitan Leutnant".
Am I right? Is that a real word?
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"Kaleun" is a real abbreviation, I'm not sure if this makes it a real word ;)
And yes, it means "Kapitänleutnant".
In the current day Bundeswehr, the shortened word is "Kaleu". The term "Kaleun" was previously used in the Wehrmacht.
wherein it says:
The official manner, in line to ZDv 10/8, of formal addressing of military people with the rank Kapitänleutnant (OF-2) is “Herr/Frau Kapitänleutnant“. However, as to German traditions and in line to seamen´s language the abbreviation of the title to "Herr/Frau Kaleu" (contemporary usage) is used in verbal communication. The commander (line officer) of the Type VIIC U-boat U96 in the film Das Boot was of this rank, and called "Herr Kaleun" (historical usage) by his crew.