Those majestic German words…

I was just checking out a German language forum, looking at one of the word games there, when I saw this word:

die Niederschlagswahrscheinlichkeit

This translates as “chance of precipitation”, basically. When I saw it, I immediately was reminded of The Awful German Language by Mark Twain. Snippet:

  • Freundschaftsbezeigungen.
  • Dilettantenaufdringlichkeiten.
  • Stadtverordnetenversammlungen.

These things are not words, they are alphabetical processions. And they are not rare; one can open a German newspaper at any time and see them marching majestically across the page — and if he has any imagination he can see the banners and hear the music, too. They impart a martial thrill to the meekest subject. I take a great interest in these curiosities. Whenever I come across a good one, I stuff it and put it in my museum. In this way I have made quite a valuable collection. When I get duplicates, I exchange with other collectors, and thus increase the variety of my stock. Here are some specimens which I lately bought at an auction sale of the effects of a bankrupt bric-a-brac hunter:

  • Generalstaatsverordnetenversammlungen.
  • Alterthumswissenschaften.
  • Kinderbewahrungsanstalten.
  • Unabhaengigkeitserklaerungen.
  • Wiedererstellungbestrebungen.
  • Waffenstillstandsunterhandlungen.

Alphabetical processions, indeed! Are there any extremely long words in your foreign language of choice that have caught your attention?

4 thoughts on “Those majestic German words…”

  1. Does Dutch kindercarnavalsoptochtvoorbereidingswerkzaamheden work for you?

    It would translate as children’s carnival parade’s preparatory activities and seems to be one of the longest we can come op with.

    It’s a consequence, of course, of gluing words together instead of using compounds. Although Massive Multiplayer Role Playing Gamers’ Convention Attendance Statistics could be considered daunting too. I’m sure one could come up with more 😉

  2. Wow. That’s a long word. 🙂

    I wonder if Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games has been translated into German or Dutch, and if so, if they use a big compound word. Hmm…

  3. No, it would become something like online rollenspellen op grote schaal (online RPGs on a large scale). If you really did it quasi literally you would indeed end up with something like: groteschaalsonlinerollenspellen. Hmm. Nah, not nice.

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