leihs is perhaps the world’s first bilingual recursive acronym

In the world of software, we sometimes find geeky wordplay such as recurive acronyms. The best-known recursive acronym is surely found in the GNU project, because GNU stands for “GNU’s not UNIX”.

leihs, one of the projects I lead, used to be a pure equipment booking system without any inventory-related functions. There are numerous linguistic problems in translating German booking-related terms to English, because English distinguishes between borrowing and lending whereas German only knows the concept of “Ausleihe”, which is used both for borrowing and for lending. So in German, it made sense to call leihs leihs — it was an Ausleihsystem.

Now you English-speaking people can’t really follow the beauty (ahem) of that, and thus when leihs became international, we had to think up a better definition of the name. The result is perhaps the world’s first ever bilingual recursive acronym:

  • leihs is an easy inventory handling system
  • leihs ist ein einfaches Inventarhandhabungssystem

Amazing, huh?

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