Unexpectedly Intriguing!
March 9, 2006

I'm taking the liberty of reproducing the following lesson in Bona Fide German Words here, just because the lesson is too funny not to! (HT: Marginal Revolution.)

The words you see below are genuine words. True, they are not words you would find in every-day German, but they are lexically and syntactically legitimate. Theoretically, there is no limit to the compounding of nouns in German. There is a practical limit though -- you run out of breath and you lose sight of the beginning before you reach the end.

1) Donaydampfshiffahrtsgesellschafts- kapitaenskajuetenschluesseloch

[The keyhole of the door of the cabin of the captain of a steamship company operating on the Danube]

2) Gesundheitswiederherstellungszusammen- mischungsverhaeltniskundiger

[One who knows the mixture ratio of a concoction that is sure torestore health]

3) Ueberseedeutschlehrerinternetmailing- listenfragenstellundantwortkundigen

[People well versed in asking questions and supplying answers on the Internet Mailing List of German teachers abroad]

But that's not all the fun! The author goes on to create some more:

There follows a small collection of pseudo-compound nouns together with their English equivalents, which illustrate the process of compounding as it occurs naturally in the German language.

German Lesson #7

Dog:                    Barkenpantensniffer
Dog Catcher:            Barkenpantensniffersnatcher
Dog Catcher's Truck:    Barkenpantensniffersnatcherwagen
Garage for Truck:       Barkenpantensniffensnatcherwagenhaus
Truck Repairman:        Barkenpantensniffensnatcherwagen-
Mechanic's Union:       Barkenpantensniffensnatcherwagen-

Doctor:                 Chestergethumpenpulsentooker
Nurse:                  Chestergethumpenpulsentookerhelper
Hypodermic Needle:      Chestergethumpenpulsentooker-
Backside:               Chestergethumpenpulsentooker-

Piano:                  Plinkenplankenplunkenbox
Pianist:                Plinkenplankenplunkenboxgepounder
Piano Stool:            Plinkenplankenplunkenboxgepounder-
Piano Recital:          Plinkenplankenplunkenboxgepounder-
Fathers at the Recital: Plinkenplankenplunkenboxgepounder-
Mothers at the Recital: Plinkenplankenplunkenboxgepounder-

Automobile:             Honkenbrakenscreecher
Gasoline:               Honkenbrakenscreecherzoomerjuicen
Driver:                 Honkenbrakenscreecherguidenschtunker
Auto Mechanic:          Honkenbrakenscreecherknockengepinger-
Repair Bill:            Bankenrollergebustenuptottenliste

No wonder the Germans are such a fun-loving people!


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