June 4, 2013

Gesundheit!

Despite calling Germany 'home' for a few years, I never really learned the language.  Sure, I can order food, ask for directions, figure out the gist of signs, and have a conversation with a German toddler, but little else.  Most Germans my age and younger speak wonderful English and don't mind doing it. 

I just read that Germany's longest word, which was actually the description of a law, has ceased to exist due to the law being repealed.  As with most of the multi-syllable words of their language, this was a string of words put together:

Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz

Did you get all that?  It means/meant, "law for the delegation of monitoring beef labeling".

The English language is complex and confusing, but we can't hold a candle to German when it comes to length of words.  We might have our wimpy little compound words, but the Germans really know how to turn a sentence into a word.

Remember the hours spent learning to spell 'Mississippi' as a kid?  Makes me feel kind of stoopid to see what German kids might be spitting out.

I used to be proud of my ability to pronounce an ingredient found in many shampoos 'methylchloroisothiazolinone', which seems to be many chemical prefixes and suffixes strung together.  Then I found out it is probably what causes an allergic reaction when I change shampoos, and it wasn't so fun to say anymore.

There is that word from Mary Poppins that I am not going to go look up how to spell - you know the one.  But, that isn't really a word, either, so I don't think anyone should get any points just because they have learned a nonsensical word from a Disney movie and song.

Probably the longest word that I can say at the drop of the hat, is one that isn't even English. It is the Hawaiian name of a reef triggerfish, 'humuhumunukunukuapua'a'. 

Say that five times, fast.

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