Die Donaudampfschiffahrtsgesellschaftskapitaenskajuetenklinkenputzfrau

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May 19, 2013 by anelim


I have studied German for far too many years (1994; 1997-2000; 2000-2004; and 2012-2013) and I’ve lived in a German city for 8 months. Yet, I’m still struggling with the rules and realities of the German language. A few days ago, I found myself completely at sea during a lecture given in German, so I remembered about this photo taken in October by my friend M. It shows one of the signature particularities of German grammar: the composite word formation (known in German as Komposita). Anyone who has ever attempted learning German has come across exquisite formations such as Feuerwehrzufahrt or Schwangerschaftsverhütungsmittel.  I can certainly sympathise with the travails of these person’s job: Donaudampfschiffahrtsgesellschaftskapitaenskajuetenklinkenputzfrau (the lady who cleans the cabin of the captain of the Danube shipping company)

Komposita are  explained here: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~german/Grammatik/Wortbildung/Komposita.html

This website lists some more: http://coerll.utexas.edu/gg/gr/mis_02.html. 

Do you know some fun long German words? Or have you made up some? Would you mind sharing them with yours truly, a fellow grammar geek?

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