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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


meaning "the law for the delegation of monitoring beef labeling," has been made redundant when the law was repealed last month.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



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...


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:


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


Goodbye Cruel word.



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


I instantly thought of a certain scene from Eurotrip.


That scene is in the Netherlands, though...


Where can I send my recording to?




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 ;-)


Should we send flowers or just cards? :)


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


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 ;)


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


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



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.


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


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.


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!


Curse you, German! I just learned this word!

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