Some awesome German words
It all started with Schifffahrt, a fab word with a ridiculous triple F brought to you by the Neuschreibregeln in the late 90s. Earlier spelling rules said that triple letters that are the logical consequence of joining Schiff to Fahrt, should in fact just have the two, because, you know, that would sensible.
Then, after I did most of my German learning, the orthographic reform came in, throwing everything I knew into confusion and making the difference between long and short vowels crucial into whether you use ß or not, and adding in triple consonants if they are logically there.
For a while I was under the misapprehension that it was Grossstadt, but Duden says it has to be Großstadt.
But talking about Schifffahrt recently has unearthed other German friends’ favourite three-consonant words:
Seeelefant (elephant seals)
Programmmusik (“programme music is a type of art music that attempts to musically render an extra-musical narrative”)
If one triple consonant just isn’t doing it for you, there’s also Flussschifffahrt.
And triple consonants are just the half of it. There are also the super long words. The UK press was full of the Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz over the summer.
But when I showed some of the stories to German friends on choir week, it was a completely new one to them – and they pointed me in the direction of the Eierschalensollbruchstellenverursacher. You can see one of those in the video below.
What are your awesomest German words?
Some more awesome words from this BBC discussion:
Imbissstube (how could I forget that?!)
Fußballländerspiel (international football game)
Balletttänzer (ballet dancer)
Betttuch (as opposed to Handtuch or Taschentuch)
Schusssicher (bullet proof)
Kaffeeernte (coffee harvest)