Browsing articles tagged with " The German language"


Berlín, May 25, 2014

Learning German is no easy thing, even for English speakers (English and German are said to be quite close, which is pretty debatable in terms of comprehension). Besides letters like “ß” (beta, equivalent to “ss”), there are impossible words (“Bundesverteidigunsministerium“, Federal Ministry of Defence), declensions, three grammatical genders (masculine, feminine, neuter) and other issues due to which the study of this language is a huge challenge. Although some words can be understandable for English speakers, like “Buch” (book), others have absolutely nothing to do with this language; such is the case of “Wirtschaft” (economy).

One of the features of the German language that mostly catches one’s attention is the length of many of its words. This is due to the so-called “Kompositum”, which allows the formation of words by joining two or more nouns. Thus, “Bus” and “Haltestelle” (stop) make “Bushaltestelle”, bus stop. Or “Bushaltestelle” and “Schild” (signpost) form “Bushaltstellenschild”.

One of the longest German words, though, refers to a draft law. The M.Ps. of the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Parliament were discussing, back in 1999, about the “Cattle marking and beef labeling supervision duties delegation law”. It might seem impossible, but the truth is this sentence can be said in just two words, in German:

Rinderkennzeichnungs – und Rind­fleisch­etikettierungs­über­wachungs­aufgaben­übertragungs­gesetz

Thus, the official name of the law consists of two parts, referring the first one to the “cattle marking”, the second one to the rest of the draft law which includes, in just one word, 63 letters, the longest word ever on an official document. Most probably, listening to it will not make its comprehension easier; nontheless, should you feel like trying, just click here.

It might seem impossible, but there is an even longer word: Donau­dampfschifffahrts­elektrizitäten­hauptbetriebswerk­bauunterbeamten­gesellschaft. It has 80 letters, and includes a curiosity: three “f” in a row (underlined). It is no mistake but the consequence of applying the German orthography reform of 1996 (“Rechtschreibung“). Anyway, the longest word ever does not come from Germany but from Greece. In Aristophanes’ comedy “Assemblywomen” (392 b.C.), the playwright created a delicious dish with an amazing name: Lopado­temakho­selakho­galeo­kranio­leipsano­drim­hypo­trimmato­silphio­karabo­melito­katakekhy­meno­kikhl­epi­kossypho­phatto­perister­alektryon­opto­kephallio­kigklo­peleio­lagōio­siraio­baphē­tragano­pterýgōn. In case you are hungry, better order something else!

Anyway, do not get too scared if you are interested in learning German. Just start by the easiest: the alphabet, for example by watching this video. And in case you already know some German and just want to practice a bit, do not miss this one, produced by the public television Deutsche Welle: some pieces of news, read slower than usual and with the corresponding text…

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Rhythm, Rhythmus

Berlin, July 2, 2012

“An update on Germany” is happy to start a new month with a bunch of different rhythms, all of them having a common factor: they are born in Germany. Within the past few months, you already had the chance to eventually discover some of the most popular German singer-songwriters, musicians, composers… This, in the case you are actually following us on, of course 🙂

Sportfreunde Stiller is a Bavarian group, born near Munich:

Formed in Berlin by Annette Humpe and Adel Hawil in 2003, Ich & Ich manage to convert each and every theme in huge success. This is, among many others, the case of “Was wär’ ich ohne dich” (“What would I be without you”):

Gerhard Schöne is a singer-songwriter born in the GDR. Ever since 1981, when his first album was published, he has achieved to be atop the ranking of the most popular artists in Germany. No wonder!

Rocker, writer, painter… Udo Lindenberg is also an absolute maestro. In this video, he sings “Cello” alongside with Clueso:

Raabe, Max: he founded the Palast Orchester back in 1986 and devoted himself to the music of the 20’s and the 30’s. A great example of his unmistakable style is “Küssen kann man nicht alleine” (“You cannot kiss alone”):

And finally, a last sample of music made in German: “Sommerzeit”, to greet the summer theoretically around!

Needless to say, there is much, much more music made in German/y, this being just a small sample. We at will bring yo some more in the weeks to come!

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