Sunday, October 3, 2010


Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz. No, that’s not the result of my head banging on the keyboard after a frustrating German study session. Although, given the complexity of the language, that would be an entirely plausible explanation.

 Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz literally means “beef labeling supervision duty assignment law.” (Thanks to Wikipedia for this letter-laden gem.) If there’s one thing Germans like more than rules and regulations, it might be compound nouns.

Compound nouns are formed by squishing several words together as one … the linguistic equivalent to a stretch limousine.

 After all, why waste time hitting the space bar key … or breathing during conversation?

This penchant for efficiency also guarantees German children a competitive edge in the Name the Longest Word game.

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