The longest German word has been dropped from the lexicon.
A change in EU laws regarding the testing of cattle means that the need for a “Rindfleischetikettierungsueberwachungsaufgabenuebertragungsgesetz,” meaning “law delegating beef label monitoring” is no more. Non-German speakers, thanks to the Daily Telegraph, you can hear how the word is pronounced at the bottom of this article.
The 63-letter legal term, which was introduced in the German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, came to being in an effort to combat mad cow disease in 1999. However, with the EU now rescinding the law on testing healthy cattle at abattoirs, the need for the word has vanished.
It inherited the title of the longest word in the German language in 2007 when the term “Grundstücksverkehrsgenehmigungszuständigkeitsübertragungsverordnung” was dropped, which, according to the Guardian means: “regulation governing the delegation of authority pertaining to land conveyance permissions.”
The German language is famous for such compound words when two or more words are joined together to form a single word. Mark Twain described them not as words, but as “alphabetic processions – marching majestically across the page”. The search is now on to find the new longest German word. The word, however, must be authentic, meaning that the word needs to be in use. “Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitänwitwe,” which the BBC flagged as a contender, might not make the cut since it’s the result of a parlour game where players add words onto the end of “Danube steamship company captain” – in the last example, the captain’s widow.
We’re opening this competition up to our native German-speaking readers and linguists: what’s the longest German word that you remember coming across? Send us in your answers via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
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Image courtesy of www.4news.gr