https://www.duolingo.com/profile/StephenL1

I love German Compound Words!!!

German compound words are really cool. Sometimes they can make really long words like Freundschaftsbezeigungen (Demonstrations of Friendship) or stick two common words together to reduce the number of total words one needs to learn, like how the word for Pet is House+Animal or the word for Hospital is Suffer+House.

The best part is that is can be used to name concepts for which we have no word in English, like the feeling you get when your life is nearing its end and you feel stressed about the roads not taken (Closing Gate+Panic) or that moment when you're embarrassed for another person (Exterior+Shame) or having a catchy song stuck in your head (Ear+Worm).

The German language has a truly rich Vocabulary (Word+Treasure)

December 31, 2014

33 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lucretiavan

I HATE German Compound Words !!!

See Mark Twain's comment lol

An average sentence, in a German newspaper, is a sublime and impressive curiosity; it occupies a quarter of a column; it contains all the ten parts of speech -- not in regular order, but mixed; it is built mainly of compound words constructed by the writer on the spot, and not to be found in any dictionary -- six or seven words compacted into one, without joint or seam -- that is, without hyphens; it treats of fourteen or fifteen different subjects, each inclosed in a parenthesis of its own, with here and there extra parentheses which reinclose three or four of the minor parentheses, making pens within pens: finally, all the parentheses and reparentheses are massed together between a couple of kingparentheses, one of which is placed in the first line of the majestic sentence and the other in the middle of the last line of it -- after which comes the VERB,

December 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Khantuta

Hi Lucretiavan. Thank you for sharing that funny quote from Mark Twain about the German language. He obviously was exaggerating, and did not speak German well, lol. It reminded me of his quote about golf, another activity he found hard to master: "Golf is a good walk spoiled."

Regarding German compound nouns, I find that every language presents a particular challenge, but that it is that very difference what allows us to think and talk differently in a foreign language. If it is of any consolation, the plasticity of the English nouns and verbs can also be maddening for non-native speakers (i.e. any noun can become a verb, abbreviations rule, phrasal verbs must be learnt by rote, etc.). Another advantage of German over English: you write what you hear. Kind greetings, and good luck with your advanced German studies!

January 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wolfdays

I only actually notice the thing about haustier because you said it XD

December 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bibeaults

It took me a VERY long time to recognize Haustier as a compound word. The only reason I ever did was because I could not remember the word at all and I was trying to burn it into my brain. I almost literally facepalmed. LOL Now with every new word I almost subconsciously scan for compound parts.

January 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CatherineHawkins

I love them too! (Lingot given) Have you seen this?

http://hellogiggles.com/10-fabulous-german-words-english-equivalent/2

January 3, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Angelito_6

yes, I will try that thank you so much

January 3, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CatherineHawkins

Sorry, Angelito_6 - I was replying to the original post. The website link I provided does not help you practice speaking. Good luck!

January 3, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DogePamyuPamyu

Word for Hospital is sick-en-house... suffer would be leiden... It'd be Krankhaus but that sounds bad I guess so they add in the -en I bet. At least that's how I see it.

In Dutch it's Ziekenhuis which is the exact same thing but in Dutch.

  • Vocabulary = Vokabeln
  • Embarrassment = Verlegenheit
  • Regret = bedauren

All unique words, they're not compounded.

December 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/qfish

But Stephen was not talking about Vokabeln, Verlegenheit or bedauern, but Wortschatz, Fremdscham and Torschlusspanik ;)

December 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jjd1123

As a native speaker, I think that "Krankenhaus" is actually literally "sick people's house", i.e. "Kranken" is genitive plural of "(der / die) Kranke" ("(the) sick (person)").

December 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rewjeo
  • 1547

I actually sort of have a problem with German compound words... I mean, imagine if we did this in English: friendshipdemonstrations instead of... friendship demonstrations. They sound exactly the same out loud, but one of them is easier to read than the other.

Now, there are places where it's helpful- for instance, dictionary being words-book is helpful for remembering, and besides that Wörterbuch is plenty short enough to easily read.

Also, at least around here, earworm is an English word, too.

December 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sakasiru

In English you have the problem where to write words together or seperated, though. Why do you write "newspaper" and not "news paper"? In German, you can be sure that if it's one thing then it's also one word. You'll get used to reading long words fast.

December 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rewjeo
  • 1547

I wrote out a whole response, and it made me realize something: there are two kinds of compound words. There are ones that take two things to create a new idea, and then ones where its just one idea modifying the other. I like the first. I don't care for the second.

Consider your example of newspaper vs. news paper. To me, the two are different ideas. A newspaper is not just any paper with news, it is a specific thing. News paper, on the other hand, could be any paper with news on it, or paper that there is a story about in the news, or something else maybe. In German, you can look at, say, Wörterbuch. It's not just a book with words. I mean, almost all books are word books. Even picture books are also word books. But wordsbook, all together, carries one clear, specific meaning.

If we go back to Freundschaftsbezeigungen or friendshipdemonstrations, I don't think there is any new meaning contained in those words beyond "demonstrations of friendship." But they're harder to read. Getting used to reading long words is one thing, but reading and understanding them as quickly as I can with words I already know is another. Maybe someone raised in the language can. I know English speakers don't actually read letters, they just recognize whole words, but maybe since German actually has consistent spelling rules you guys do read the letters? I don't know. In any case, I doubt I will ever be as good at reading new words that are 24 letters long as I am at reading two words I already know that are 12 letters long.

December 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ubdip

The German language also has a solution to this problem: If you feel a compound word is too long, you can put a hyphen inbetween. However, this should only be used for very long words (not less than about 20 letters).

December 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheSmaxx

It's less about avoiding long words. Often it's about making the actual meaning of the word easier to grasp, i.e. to avoid ambiguity.

For example:

"Lederhosenträger" could mean a leather braces to keep your pants from slipping down, but it might as well be a strap specifically for leather pants. It actually might even be someone who's wearing leather pants.

"Leder-Hosenträger" makes it clear that we're talking about braces made from leather, while "Lederhosen-Träger" could specifically be someone wearing leather pants.

January 2, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/logan5201

English does have compound words, there just usually not as long as German ones. Ex. airport, understand, leadership, loudspeaker, photocopy. Most of them make pretty logical sense but some I scratch my head thinking about words like "leadership," like why is 'ship' used in words like this and marksmanship, and friendship. English has compound words, I think German just has it down to an art.

January 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sakasiru

-ship is not part of a compound word, it's a suffix. It has nothing to do with vessels, it just alters a word the same way the suffix -ness alters words like happy - happiness.

January 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nFaele

-ship confuses you? Do you mean that you find it strange that we add 'large seagoing vessel' to words? Because we don't, -ship and ship are unrelated homophones. Or is it something else?

January 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/logan5201

Oh ok I did not know that. I did not pay attention in English class but I'm glad I've just learned something new haha xD

January 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nFaele

Well, -ship is a fairly unusual suffix; most don't sound like words. It has the meaning of a skill (marksmanship), an office (ambassadorship) or time spent in office (chairmanship), or a condition (friendship). I think if you look at WIktionary, it will show the different etymological roots of -ship and ship.

January 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lucretiavan

I HATE German Compound Words !!!

See what Mark Twain had to say on the subject:

An average sentence, in a German newspaper, is a sublime and impressive curiosity; it occupies a quarter of a column; it contains all the ten parts of speech -- not in regular order, but mixed; it is built mainly of compound words constructed by the writer on the spot, and not to be found in any dictionary -- six or seven words compacted into one, without joint or seam -- that is, without hyphens; it treats of fourteen or fifteen different subjects, each inclosed in a parenthesis of its own, with here and there extra parentheses which reinclose three or four of the minor parentheses, making pens within pens: finally, all the parentheses and reparentheses are massed together between a couple of kingparentheses, one of which is placed in the first line of the majestic sentence and the other in the middle of the last line of it -- after which comes the VERB,

Note: NOT TO BE FOUND IN ANY DICTIONARY!!!

lol ;)

December 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lucretiavan

Oops sorry I think I posted twice.

December 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OnesimusUnbound

You can delete your other duplicate post

January 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OnesimusUnbound

There is an attempt to purge English of influences from Romances languages (e.g. French, Spanish, Italian, etc.)

Take a look at these versions of Martin Luther King's "I have a Dream"

January 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nFaele

What's the rationale behind this "purging"?

Edit: After initially posting, I found the "Reasons" page on that "Anglish" wikia with the purged version, and was immediately turned off by their word wordstock. We already have the excellent wordhoard, a modernized version of Old English wordhord. Why create a new word when the old one is just as "pure" and and just as understandable, if slightly poetic?

January 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/paxchristo

Perhaps the reason English does not have the very long compound words that German has because English 'borrows' from so many other languages, or because it has so many dialects from places across the globe. It takes what it likes to suit the ears and tongues of its speakers.

January 2, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sakasiru

Well, German has borrowed words from Latin, Greek, French and lately English as well. It takes a while to integrate those words into German grammar, but we try ;)

January 2, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/paxchristo

That is true. However, I would argue that English has a wider language base that it draws from because of the history of the British Empire. Also, there are sounds English speakers can understand and pronounce that perhaps allow them to pick up more foreign words. Not all of them, certainly!

January 2, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OnesimusUnbound

Well, primarily from French, thanks to Norman invasion of England

January 2, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lucretiavan

How do I delete a duplicate post?

January 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdiyaHamee

very difficult

January 2, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Angelito_6

hi hi hi i'm learning German and i wonder if you can help me finding a website to help me practice speaking as i'm travelling to Germany in two months and I want to practice speaking in German ...

thank you in Advance & good luck ^_^

January 2, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnastaciusWright

Ich hasse sich. alle. I really hate them haha. I noticed about Haustier three days ago, and about Willkommen a month ago... after than, i don't know many compound words... Oh... and a friend of mine recognized Worterbuch inmediatly... I´m not good with them.

January 4, 2015
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