https://www.duolingo.com/Julika

Expressing the Inexpressible in German

It's common in German to see one word that expresses something that might take five or ten words in English. Some examples are:

Donaudampfschiffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän = captain of the society for Donau (river) navigation

Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachung = monitoring of beef labeling

Telekommunikationsüberwachungsverordnung = telecommunication surveillance provision.

Here's a proposal for adding a few more words to the German language:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/10/12/opinion/international/20131011_Schott.html?hp&_r=3

October 17, 2013

28 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/eliahrichards

I prefer "Brot".

October 17, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Kai_E.
Mod
  • 90

I love Eisenbahnscheinbewegung! It's such a bizarre feeling...

October 17, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/MultiLinguAlex

The word does not exist, maybe you mean Eisenbahnschienenbewegung (which I have never heard either)?

October 18, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Kai_E.
Mod
  • 90

Hmm... Did you read the article?

October 18, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/MultiLinguAlex

No, I didn't. Now I did and now it makes sense =)

October 18, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessamator

Are those really one word? It looks to me like many words glued together. Germans don't seem to want to breathe!

October 17, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/christian

They're all compound words consisting of several constituent words. Quite often, you'll find that the English translation (usually a phrase rather than a compound word) is almost or just as long as the German word. In some cases, the English translation may even be longer as you need to add prepositions and articles.

October 17, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/wdfield

They do want to breathe. A classroom full of German teenagers struggling to pronounce a bunch of those in a text is one of the funniest things in existence.

November 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Zach1337

My favorite German word is Weltschmerz.

October 17, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Preusser

My favorite is Kadavergehörsam. Colorful, memorable, and the meaning is instantly apparent. :-)

October 21, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Celine1988

Lebensabschnittsgefährter. Wonderful term to denote the person you are currently with and at the same time implying that it is only for the time being and not forever.

October 18, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/opiumbringtopium

Lebensabschnittsgefährte. But don't forget, maybe next time you are the Lebensabschnittsgefährtin...

October 21, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Dan_gloriosul

Einfühlungsvermögen and Oberbürgermeister

October 17, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/apfelmaedchen

Another lovely word is "Jahresendflügelfigur".

It's paraphrase for Engel / angel used in GDR administration as religion was only tolerated by the socialist government :o)

October 18, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Micha-B.

Das war die Wortschöpfung von Ernst Röhl, Autor der DDR-Satirezeitschrift "Eulenspiegel". Die DDR-Behörden haben zwar Sprachungetüme geschaffen und benutzt. Dieses jedoch nicht.

May 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/jharrer

Does anyone remember the punch line to an old joke about German engineers? They wanted to make the world's most efficient farm animal, and it took ten years but they finally brought to market "der Eierlegenwollelnwachsenspeckmachennutztiere," which was supposed to combine the best features of the chicken, sheep and pig. Somehow everything went kaput but I don't remember exactly how. Maybe most of the joke is in the name!

October 19, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/binweg

The term eierlegende Wollmilchsau (or Eier legende Wollmilchsau), a feminine noun because of the Sau, colloquially refers to an all-purpose object or solution, combining many advantages without having any disadvantages.

It even has its own Wikipedia page: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eierlegende_Wollmilchsau

October 19, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/jharrer

Das ist sehr lustig. Danke für die Geschichte! I especially like the picture of the eierlegende Wollmilchsau.

October 19, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Calendel

You just made my day. I have to remember that.

February 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Micha-B.

"Das eierlegende Wollmilchschwein" wurde zum geflügelten Wort in Ost- und Westdeutschland und stammt aus einem humoristischen Gedicht zum 70. Geburtstag des Schriftstellers Ludwig Renn, Aufbau-Verlag Berlin, 1959, S. 135 („Der Kampf um das eierlegende Wollschwein“).

May 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/sakasiru

Now that would be an interesting duo lesson. Translate!

October 18, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Puddleglum

This thread is a beautiful thing. I absolutely think some of these should be included in the lessons! :D

October 18, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/O_Patife

What the f......

October 18, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/opiumbringtopium

Does anybody know if it is true that in Mexiko the word "Fahrvergnügen" became popular because of a Volkswagen commercial?

October 21, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/opiumbringtopium

The words are highly intellectual and some make sense but could be used only once in a lifetime - "Tantalusqualerlösung"- neverless thanks for the link Julika

October 21, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/wdfield

I'm applying to uni this summer so my new favorite is Hochschulzugangsberechtigung, roughly meaning "the authorization to be admitted into university". All the university sites use it and shockingly enough, it actually saves a lot of space.

November 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Micha-B.

"Gruppenratsvorsitzende" = Head of the pioneer group of a school-class in the GDR.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FB8l_vcRtzA

May 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/KatharinaFloh

I like:

Holzhackschnitzelheizzentrale

April 5, 2019
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