My post on 17th May about German words produced some interesting responses.
Beergut Bratwurst contacted me to point out that as a German speaker he (or she) often had difficulty with English and that English also has nouns with specific definitions that succinctly sum up a feeling or reduce a sentence to a single word. For example we have;
Qualtagh – The first person you see when you leave the house
Agelast – Someone who never laughs
Hippopotomon-strosesquip-pedaliaophobia – Fear of long words
Tarantism – The urge to overcome melancholy through dancing
Misodoctakleidist – Someone who hates practicing the piano
Quiddler – A person who hangs around wasting time at work and makes conversation with people who are working
Xylopolist – Someone who sells wood
Preantepenultimate – Fourth to last
Aglet – The plastic coating on the end of a shoelace
and, (I’m hoping Beergut wasn’t thinking of me here),
Ultracrepidarianism – The act or habit of talking constantly about subjects of which you know little or nothing
Frau Merkel said she had been enjoying a quiet drink when she read my post:
Which left her feeling like this. I’m not sure whether the beer or my writing had this effect but either way there’s sure to be a special word for it in German:
Timothy Tarantula-Tinklewasser applauded me for being onto a winner with this subject as today The Guardian has an article about this very subject and they point out that authorities in Mecklenburg have decided to ditch: “Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz” which (as you know from my 17th May burble), was the “the law concerning the delegation of duties for the supervision of cattle marking and the labelling of beef” and was introduced in 1999 during the BSE crisis. It was given the abbreviation RkReÜAÜG – which was itself unpronounceable. The Guardian reports: The 63-letter word was deemed no longer necessary after the EU halted BSE-testing on healthy cattle at abattoirs. The big question they are asking is which word will now take its place? “It was until now the longest authentic word in German usage,” Anatol Stefanowitsch, a Berlin professor of linguistics research told Die Welt. It took eight years for RkReÜAÜG to be recognised as Germany’s longest word, only securing the title when the majestic 67-letter word: ”Grundstücksverkehrsgenehmigungszuständigkeitsübertragungsverordnung” – regulation governing the delegation of authority pertaining to land conveyance permissions – was ditched in November 2007.”
Pornobalken Hüftgold (a reader from Schittgablerstrasse in Munich and whose name translates as “Moustache Love Handles”), reports that Mecklenburg’s agriculture ministry has now issued a nationwide appeal for the new longest word. But whatever it is, the word is unlikely to make it into a German-language dictionary. A spokeswoman for Duden, publishers of the most extensive German dictionary, said: “For that, it has to be in common parlance, and long words are sometimes simply too uncomfortable.”
So the longest word to be found in the German dictionary is going to be; “Kraftfahrzeughaftpflichtversicherung” – motor vehicle indemnity insurance. That’s pretty mimsy, here in New Zealand our longest word (a place name) is:Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu which is a Maori name for a hill near Porangahau in Hawke’s Bay. And what does this German-beating mammoth Maori monogram mean? Well it translates as: “The summit where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, the climber of mountains, the land-swallower who travelled about, played his nose flute to his loved one.” And at 85 letters it is listed by Guinness World Records as the longest place name in the entire world.
I think New Zealand wins by a “Reichkolben” (smell cob) or as we would say a nose.