https://www.duolingo.com/Birdexplorers

German's Longest Word gets 'die Axt'

It is with heavy heart that I report to the DuoLingo Literati that the MSM is reporting that the German language's longest recognised word has been given the ax. The 63-letter

'Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz'

meaning "the law for the delegation of monitoring beef labeling," has been made redundant when the law was repealed last month. ;-(

The next longest, mainstream word is apparently the much less impressive 39-letter word, 'Rechtsschutzversicherungsgesellschaften', meaning, 'insurance companies providing legal protection'.

One has to admire the German language's flexible compound word approach which allows anyone to combine any words at any time to come up with anything the writer wants. Although it often wreaks havoc on the both native and non-native readers alike.

If you are interested in German legal translation there is a barely translated article on the law of obligations in the German immersion section. It is a long and tedious snoozasaurus of a document, but it is there for the willing.

On that sombre note, I will head back to the immersion trenches to do battle with dangling participles, misplaced modifiers and split infinitives ;-)

On a side note, I know the immersion section has its critics, but I must say I am a big fan. On both immersion sides (into English and from English), I have learned a tremendous amount often through active participation and debate, but sometimes just watching and reading the comments and conversations (especially in the translation from English to Italian, which is my weakest language of the 6). There are some great translators out there in DuoLingo Land, and it is really great getting the chance to work with them!

Happy translating and thanks DuoLingo for all the great learning!!

June 5, 2013

21 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/chilvence

Everyone always gets fascinated by the long words in German, I call it cheating though! They just by convention opt to leave the spaces out of a compound term and call it a word. If I staple 5 cats together though, I don't get one huge cat, I get... well probably arrested and charged with animal cruelty, but you see my point.

The irony is if the component parts of the 'long' words were written with spaces between them, they would be twice as easy to read...

June 5, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/mcwise

Spaces or not, the special thing here is that the "nouns put randomly together" still have a "grammatical" sense (albeit not always a logical sense...), which cannot always be translated easily or only by using prepositions and the like, as in above:

"'Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz'

meaning "the law for the delegation of monitoring beef labeling,""

June 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/zippzopp

Goodbye Cruel word.

June 5, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/naut

Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftsraddampferkapitänskajütentürsicherheitsschlüssel

Whoever fluently pronounces this gets a free 10 level bump in German.

June 5, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/nictheman

I instantly thought of a certain scene from Eurotrip.

June 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Flanny-chan

That scene is in the Netherlands, though...

June 7, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Lenkvist

Where can I send my recording to?

June 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/naut

marcel@duolingo.com

June 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/wataya

Hmm, I'd like to try that. But I'm a native speaker, I guess it'd be a bit unfair ;-) I'll leave it for my non-native friends' delight ;-)

June 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Lyarra
  • 2265

Should we send flowers or just cards? :)

June 5, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/elucify
June 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/acm.tx16

I found that interesting. my first langauge is german and i always wondered what the fuss was about over having the longest words. 1, i never actually took the time to find out which were the longest words in the german language and 2, it inally all makes sense, its all legal terms. I usto think "wait... the longest word i can think of is 'der Handschuhmacher'". well, once that term gets "axt" or even seperated into 3 words (which i want to say should be possible, but maybe it's ther german in me not quite knowing how one would do that) the english languge should try out for the longest word with supercalofragelisticexpialidociouse. :P

June 5, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/chilvence

It's probably a matter of perspective. I would find it perfectly fine to say "A Hand Shoe Maker", if we theoretically called gloves 'Hand Shoes' . Like you though, I can't really explain why. I can't see why to have the other way either though. I probably just have a bad habit of floccinaucinihilipilification ;)

June 5, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Lyarra
  • 2265

Fortunately, I do not suffer from pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, otherewise, I would not have the breath/strength to say floccinaucinihilipilification.

June 5, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/KatieKelly

Actually, the longest word in English takes 213 minutes to recite. Fact. This is it.

http://www.geekologie.com/2012/11/20/titin.txt

June 7, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Lenkvist

It's not an actual word, but there is a novel called Der satanarchäolügenialkohöllische Wunschpunsch. Have fun figuring out the words that it is made of.

June 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/wataya

There's also a cartoon series which is loosely based on the novel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VoRHzzYMBY#t=550s

June 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Lenkvist

Ende is my favourite writer, but I haven't really watched the cartoons based on his novels. The Puppenkiste performance of Jim Knopf looks interesting though.

June 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/wataya

Yes, the Puppenkiste version of Jim Knopf is very good. The Wunschpunsch series has its good points too, e.g. I like the alliterating madly malicious maggot Maledictus Made ;-) But sometimes, it gets a bit too childish for my taste. (OK, it actually is intended for a younger audience than me ;-) )

BTW: if you want to explore the Puppenkiste, you should also have a look at

  • Urmel aus dem Eis

  • Schlupp vom grünen Stern

they're great!

June 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/KatieKelly

Curse you, German! I just learned this word!

June 7, 2013
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