Translation:I want to eat my chicken sandwich.
It would have to be:
English is very weird and unique, especially from a Germanic language perspective in just randomly stacking nouns together without forming compound nouns, and this can cause it to be very confusing and ambiguous for foreigners to learn, take a look at this sentence:
"metal destroying acid"
What does it even mean?
Is it saying that metal is destroying the acid? Or is it talking about an acid capable of destroying metal?
In the last case all other Germanic languages would have written it as:
removing all ambiguity.
Just remember this, as Esperanto works the same way :)
Incidentally, if it is acid that is capable of destroying metal, then the correct way of writing that in English is "metal-destroying acid" to remove the ambiguity. We used to do it the same way, but those darn Anglo-Normans introduced hyphenation, which replaced the Germanic way.
The problem is that there are no rules regarding when to use a hyphen, when to use compound nouns and when to pretend one noun is an adjective.
You are right that if it often (not always and not by everyone) done that way though, removing ambiguity in this case.
Yeah, pedants always complain that punctuation is dying, and this is one place where I'm afraid that's true...
The rule I learned in school is that whenever you have multiple words being used as a compound attributive adjective, you hyphenate them, but with predicative adjectives, separate adjectives, or compound nouns without other modifiers, you don't.
I looked at the article you linked to, and now I realize that of course the (already quite complicated) rule I learned is itself a simplification. Oh English...
I think that in German after the spelling reform, it would be a "metal destroying acid" (eine Metall zerstörende Säure) - still unambiguous since a) we don't use the participle to form a present continuous tense, and b) participles go at the end of sentences, after their objects.
Metallzerstörende Säuren sind in kleinen Mengen überall vorhanden. (Der Industriebau: Erster Band) (2013)
Sorry, but you're wrong. In German one still use compound nouns (luckily).
The reason that the ability regarding Leerzeichen in Komposita is going down and you see more and more people writing split compound nouns like in English, is well the influence of English. People don't know that they should be writing it as compound nouns, they're so influenced by English that they think it should be the same way as it is there.
This is a major problem in Norwegian (and I suppose the other Scandinavian languages) because of the way the language works. When you split up compound nouns you often get a whole other meaning as the first noun usually is thought to be a verb. More and more young people are writing things like (this I actually saw the other day): "Ola bil løp" (soapbox race) instead of "Olabilløp" as it should be.
matmor = mistress
mat mor = feed mother! (command) [manĝigu patrinon]
støvsuger = vacuum cleaner
støv suger = dust sucks
hostesaft = cough syrup
hoste saft = to cough juice
en kyllinglever = a chicken liver
en kylling lever = a chicken is alive
Search Google for "særskriving" for more examples of this problem, and how it's been turned to comedy in Norway to try and wake people up and learn them how to write understandably and to stop this nonsensical influence from English.
Looking at Wikipedia, it seems that the rules that were changed in 1996 were changed again in 2006, and some of those changes concern spelling together and apart. Perhaps my problem was due to this.
Note, I was not questioning compound words in general; my impression was only that a combination of noun + participle was spelt separately (Metall zerstörend, for example).
Ever since the Earl of Sandwich, too lazy to get up from the table while playing whist, had his servants bring him some meat between two slices of bread.
Though I think "coffee" and "tea" are more universal in the world's languages.
(Though "tea" is a bit split up between those who got a "tea"-like word from the south of China and those who got a "chai"-like word from the north of China, while "coffee" is more homogenous world-wide.)
The funny thing is, that whole Earl of Sandwich story only dates back to the 18th century, but I feel pretty confident in saying that the concept of eating bread with meat and cheese inside has existed for as long as bread and meat cheese have, and was most likely independently invented in every culture to which those food items are native.
So it begs the question, why is the word "sandwich" so dang universal? At least with tea/chai, it makes sense, because tea comes from China and that's what the Chinese call it.