In Other News, Germansrecognizetheyuseunnecessarilylongwords

Pete Enns, Ph.D.

Peter Enns (Ph.D., Harvard University) is Abram S. Clemens professor of biblical studies at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He has written numerous books, including The Bible Tells Me So, The Sin of Certainty, and How the Bible Actually Works.Tweets at @peteenns.

Sorry folks, I can’t resist this.

Apparently my years-long letter writing campaign has born fruit: Germany is officially dropping its longest word, 63 letters, the title of  a law regulating the testing of beef:

Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz.

The article will even show you how to pronounce it, though you might want to be sitting down and wearing a seatbelt.

My parents were German immigrants and they always lamented how German was becoming more and more Americanized by taking American words and just lazily adding “-ieren”  or “-ierung” to the end to make them German (though look for -ierung in the word above. “Etikettierung” means “labeling.” Figure it out.) Still, I can’t imagine they would have a problem with this.

The linked article is great fun to read, and also includes the longest German word ever composed (though not in dictionaries):

Donaudampfschifffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft.

I’m not sure what to say to that other than Gesundheit.

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