In this blog series, I post fun facts about the German language. The first part discussed the importance of the German language, the second why English and German are sister languages, the third the language’s love for compound nouns. Today, I will discuss the longest words in the German language.
Owing to the language’s obsession with compound nouns, it’s no surprise that things can get a bit excessive when too many words are put together. This is particularly true for the infamous German bureaucracy. German bureaucrats just love rules and regulations a bit too much and give them names that you wouldn't find in any other language. Believe it or not, the longest German word is made up of 79 letters. Let's look at the top three of the longest German words, beginning with one that no longer exists since 2013.
This 63 letter word, meaning ‘the law concerning the delegation of duties for the supervision of cattle marking and the labelling of beef’ was considered too much of a mouthful even for German bureaucrats.
This 68 letter word that refers to the 'regulation on the delegation of authority concerning land conveyance permissions'. This neologism obviously comes from officialese as well.
This 79 letter monster means 'association of subordinate officials of the head office management of the Danube steamboat electrical services', which is essentially the name of a pre-war club in Vienna.
Ouch! But don't worry, you won't learn officialese from us 😉. Our small-group German courses are practice-oriented, highly effective and will make you learn German fast. We also offer private German tuition, corporate German courses, and German exam tutorials taught by experienced native tutors.
On our German language blog “Auf Deutsch, bitte!”, you will also find explanations of all German grammar topics- from the conjugation of German verbs to temporal and spatial prepositions in German. Happy reading!