Friday, May 22, 2009

Twittering in German.

Mark Twain once said, "Some German words are so long that they have a perspective." For whatever reason I was thinking about that and then I leapt to what it must be like to Twitter in German. Perhaps even sillier than Twittering in English.

Herewith are some German words I found.

Long German Words

Betäubungsmittelverschreibungsverordnung

(die, 41 letters) "regulation requiring a prescription for an anesthetic"

Bezirksschornsteinfegermeister
(der, 30 letters) This word may be short in comparison to those below, but it's a real word submitted by Robin in our Forum, taken from a letter he received. It means roughly "head district chimney sweep."

Donaudampfschiffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft

(die, 79 letters, 80 with new German spelling [one more 'f' in ...dampfschifffahrts...]) "association of subordinate officials of the head office management of the Danube steamboat electrical services" (the name of a pre-war club in Vienna) - Not really useful, this word is more of a desperate attempt to lengthen the word below.

Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän

(der, 42 letters) "Danube steamship company captain"

Rechtsschutzversicherungsgesellschaften

(die, plur., 39 letters) "legal protection insurance companies"
According to Guinness, this was the longest German dictionary word in everyday usage, but the word below is a longer legitimate, official "longest word" — in semi-everyday usage.

Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz

(das, 63 letters) "beef labeling regulation & delegation of supervision law"
This was a 1999 German Word of the Year, and it also won a special award as the longest German word for that year. It refers to a "law for regulating the labeling of beef" - all in one word, which is why it is so long. German also likes abbreviations, and this word has one: ReÜAÜG.

2 comments:

Jakeman said...

Thanks for taking us beyond the fun-but-overworked "schadenfreude." My favorite new German word isn't necessarily a Twitter-buster, but I love the sentiment and imagery behind it: backpfeifengesicht, i.e., "a face crying out for a fist."

geo said...

Nice.