Monday, October 12, 2009

Say that one three times quickly!

This morning as I was catching up on tweets, I read from a friend:

"I learned this word in German today: Bundesverbraucherschutzministeriums."

It got me thinking about the longest words in various languages, so I started doing a little research.

In English, 'antidisestablishmentarianism' (28 letters) is the longest non-technical word. I can take a good guess at its meaning, but am not likely to use it in conversation any time soon. However, a friend of mine uses the word as a pronunication exercise when teaching English.

The longest French word is 'anticonstitutionellement' (24 letters).Say that one three times quickly! If you can, give these a try - 'anticonstitucionalmente' (23 letters) is one of the longest words in Spanish and 'anticostituzionalmente' (23 letters) is the longest Italian word in common use. But the Portuguese 'inconstitucionalissimamente' (27 letters) beats them all.

German is a whole new kettle of fish because it tends to string words together to form new vocabulary. The longest word is considered to be 'Donaudampfschiffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän'. It means Danube steamship company captain.

But why break it down when it can be a lovely 41-letter challenge for our friends learning German?

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