Prefix Verbs Explained – “aufkommen”

Written By: Emanuel Updated: July 4, 2024

 

Hello everyone,

and welcome to a new episode of the series Prefix Verbs Explained, the series that starts to get on everybody’s nerves.
Come on, I know.
This series is a bit like mom spoon-feeding you spinach; a LOT of spinach.
“One prefix verb for mommy, one prefix verb  for daddy, one for grandma… (1 hour later) … one for daddy’s coworker’s friend, one for the guy at the bakery, come on SWALLOW!”
Seriously though, we don’t need to talk about all the prefix verbs that exist in detail. And we’ve actually already covered many of the really important ones. But there are still some left that need special attention, so let’s buckle up and do this, despite the slowly rising reluctance.
Hey, speaking of rising reluctance … what a coincidence … that would be a perfect context for the verb we’ll look at today.

aufkommen

 

 

Quick insert here, which is totally an ad, but for my own stuff, so it’s okay.

If you want just a quick overview of the meanings, you can find it in my second project – the prefix verb dictionary. There, you can find a lot of the most common prefix verbs like angehen, bekommen or aufmachen, and you don’t only get hand made translations that actually make sense and that come with audio examples – no, you also get a really cool an unique interface that let’s you explore prefixes and verbs like nowhere else. It’s a new project, but growing fast, so check it out :)

German Prefix Verb Dictionary

But now let’s start our look at aufkommen.

And the big question many of your are askig themselves is of course:
aufkommen means to come up, right? It just has to, right?”
I mean… auf is up and kommen is to come.
But it’s a German prefix verb we’re talking about, so we’re always in for a curveball.

Place your bets now :).

So, are aufkommen and to come up translations?
Well, the answer is more no than yes.

“aufkommen” vs “to come up” (spoiler: not the same)

The English to come up has two main fields of use, as far as I know.
One is for thoughts and ideas:

  • “I come up with an example”
  • “An idea came up…”

…and the other is for near future events:

  • “coming up next”
  • the upcoming election is going to be really really tough

If we wanted to find a common core for those, we could call it “appearing/bringing onto the scene”.

Now, the German aufkommen has the same core idea. But it has a different speed and vibe: it’s more of a gradual, slow emerging.
Think of clouds building up at the horizon. Sentiments, fads, trends, storms – those are common things you would use aufkommen for in German.
Let’s look at some examples.

  • Ein Sturm kommt auf, Mr. Wayne.
  • There’s a storm coming Mr. Wayne.
  • Practice pronunciation – click once to start recording and again to stop

  • Wegen dem schlechten Wetter ist keine richtige Urlaubsstimmung aufgekommen.
  • Because of the bad weather, there wasn’t really a “vacation feel” building up/evolving.
  • Practice pronunciation – click once to start recording and again to stop

  • Im Team kommen langsam Zweifel an der Machbarkeit des Projekts auf.
  • Doubts are slowly emerging within the team about the feasibility of the project.
  • Practice pronunciation – click once to start recording and again to stop

  • In letzter Zeit ist die Mode aufgekommen, Rennräder mit superkurzem Lenker zu haben.
  • Recently the trend came up/emerged to have a racing bike with super short handle bar.
  • Practice pronunciation – click once to start recording and again to stop

  • Thomas versucht, die aufkommende Müdigkeit durch Kaffee zu vertreiben.
  • Thomas tries to chase away the “upcoming”/emerging tiredness with coffee.
  • Practice pronunciation – click once to start recording and again to stop

  • Ein wichtiger Faktor für das Ende des Feudalismus in Europa war das Aufkommen des Bürgertums.
  • An important factor for the end of feudalism in Europe was the rise/evolution/advent of the … uhm… bou… bourgeoisie.
  • Practice pronunciation – click once to start recording and again to stop

What’s up with “Bourgeoisie”, by the way. I mean, what the hell, French? That’s vowel-flation. There are entire German sentence with less vowels than this.

Anyway, I hope the examples gave you an impression of the vibe and speed of aufkommen.
You can also find it used in context of questions or ideas coming up in a meeting, but at least to me, that already sounds a bit odd. And it 100% does NOT work in the sense of “someone coming up with something”.

  • I came up with a plan.
  • Ich kam mit einem Plan auf... NOPE, makes no sense.

The best translation here depends on the contexts, but aufkommen does not work. Maybe it’s best to think of it as emerging.
That would also help remember that it absolutely DOESN’T work in the sense of events coming up. The most common way to express that would be something with nächste (next) but depending in context, there are other options.

  • Coming up next: the news.
  • Als nächstes/Im Anschluß: die Nachrichten.
  • Practice pronunciation – click once to start recording and again to stop

  • We’ll talk about that in the upcoming meeting.
  • Darüber werden wir beim nächsten/anstehenden/kommenden Meeting sprechen.
  • Practice pronunciation – click once to start recording and again to stop

So yeah… a slow emerging, arising is kind of the theme of aufkommen.
But that’s only ONE of the themes.
There are two more. Because you know… German prefix verbs.

Two more meanings of “aufkommen”

The first one is a somewhat formal, niche-y option for the idea of financially compensating for something; usually in contexts of some damage or credit. You come up with the money, if you will.

  • Meine Versicherung wird für den Schaden aufkommen.
  • My insurance will pay for the damage.
  • Practice pronunciation – click once to start recording and again to stop

  • Der Arbeitgeber kommt für die Fahrkosten auf.
  • The employer pays for the travel expenses.
  • Practice pronunciation – click once to start recording and again to stop

That’s not really something you’ll need in daily life, but you might read it in some document or contract sooner or later.

And then, last but not least, we have the third meaning of aufkommen. The weird one.
Basically, aufkommen is about hitting the floor.
I know you’re probably like “What?!”
And yes, it sounds weird at first, because auf is about upward, and not about falling. But if you think of “hitting the ground” as “coming onto the ground” then it kind of gets this weird twisted logic that we love so much from German.

When would you use this aufkommen?
Well, one very common context is for people hurting themselves while jumping because the landed the wrong way, but it also works for stuff falling down.

  • Maria ist beim Sport falsch aufgekommen und hat sich am Fuß verletzt.
  • Maria landed the wrong way while doing sports and hurt her foot.
  • Practice pronunciation – click once to start recording and again to stop

  • “Mir ist grad mein Toast aus der Hand gerutscht.”
    “Und ist es mit der Marmeladenseite nach unten aufgekommen?”
    “Es ist noch gar nicht aufgekommen.”
  • “My toast just slipped out of my hand.”
    “And? Did it land/hit ground with the jam side downward.”
    “It hasn’t landed at all yet.”
  • Practice pronunciation – click once to start recording and again to stop

This particular toast is actually never going to aufkommen. Do you know why?
Because it’s with surreals.
Hahahahahahahaha…. get it, get it? Surreals, like cere…uh… yeah… your face tells me that you want to move on, so uh… let’s do that.
There’s a noun das Aufkommen and it’s used in a few compounds in sense of grand total or turn out.. like… Besucheraufkommen would be the visitors turnout and Steueraufkommen is the total of taxes collected.

But I can already feel boredom aufkommen, so let’s waste no time with this and instead move right on to the r-version. 

(d)raufkommen

Ahh, the good, old  r-version…  a bedrock of stability :).
We know what we’re in for, and it doesn’t let us down this time either.  As usual, it is an extremely literal, “locational” take on the combination of prefix and verb. raufkommen means come upward and come on top of.

  • Ich brauch noch ein paar Minuten. Willst du kurz raufkommen?
  • I still need a few minutes. Do you wanna come up real quick?
  • Practice pronunciation – click once to start recording and again to stop

  • Maria ist traurig, weil man bei ihr im Haus nicht mehr auf das Dach raufkommt.
  • Maria is sad, because you can’t access/go up on the roof of her building anymore.
  • Practice pronunciation – click once to start recording and again to stop

  • Auf eine vegane Pizza kommt natürlich keine Salami (d)rauf.
  • Of course, salami doesn’t go on a vegan pizza.
  • Practice pronunciation – click once to start recording and again to stop

  • Der Flug selber ist billig, aber auf den Preis kommen noch zahlreiche Gebühren drauf.
  • The flight itself is cheap but there are several fees coming on top of the price.
  • Practice pronunciation – click once to start recording and again to stop

What’s the difference between raufkommen and draufkommen? Well, rauf puts a strong stress on the directed motion whereas drauf is focused in the result – the being on top of. You can make this distinction if you want to. And if you’re like “Nah, that’s a bit too much” well, then just stick with rauf – that always works.

And I think that’s it for today.
Another prefix verb tackled. Yeay.
As usual, if you want to check how much you remember, you can take the quiz I have prepared for you. It’s really short this time, just four questions, so you might as well do it.
And of course, if you have any question about any of this or if you want to try out some examples that I’ll correct, just leave me a comment.

I hope you liked it and see you next time.

 

** aufkommen – fact sheet **

meanings: 

slowly emerge, evolve  (for trends, weather, sentiments)
für etwas aufkommen  – compensate financially for something (pretty formal)
aufkommen – land, hit the ground (NOT for completely controlled landing)

past tense:

form of sein + aufgekommen
kam auf

related words:

das Aufkommen – the emergence, the advent, also: the grand total of something
raufkommen – come upstairs, come/go on top of something

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