Saturday, August 28, 2010

Those Big German Words

At some point in my youth, and later in my 30's...I got into an attempt to learn the German language. At some point, I started to pick up some and there was this step up in my vocabulary. But then I'd always hit a peak...meeting something that just didn't make sense, and I'd reverse course for a while.

One of those odd things that I've come to hate about the German this attempt by the creationists to invent words that just ramble on....those stupid 33-letter words that you can only pronounce if you've had two liters of beer.

There's the word....Eisenbahnknotenpunkthinundherschieber. Even when you try to break this up into six words and just tie them all's difficult. The meaning of the word? It's the railway switch-yard person. To be kinda honest, it's a dying trade but it has to remain in the dictionary for a obvious reason.

There's also the word....Hubschrauberlandeplatz. It means helicopter landing pad.

I can remember some language professor putting six of these up on the board as an example about the harsh nature of the German language. Then I came to realize that all were invented words of the past eighty to one hundred years. These were not words from the 1840s of Germany, and most had something to do with technology.

In a way, the language creation guys are causing this issue to continue on. They want precision but end up making a word that even half of the German population has no idea of what it means. The odds of any German using one of these 33-letter words? At best, you might find one in twenty Germans who had used a single one of these words in a 70-year life span.

So when some German rattles off some seven-syllable word, and you think it's a's not.

No comments: