Off topic: Which is the longest word in your language?
Thread poster: Balasubramaniam L.
Recently there was a post about German losing its longest word.
That set me wondering about several related things:
- which is now the longest word in German
- what would be the longest words in other languages
- what is the longest word in the world considering all languages
I found this link which lists some long words of different languages, but all languages are not represented:
There is a word listed in this article, belonging to Montenegrin, which is 2022 characters long.
So if you would like to take a break from the pressures of translation do respond to this thread with the longest word in your language.
Coming to Hindi, my language, I haven't been able to find the longest Hindi word. Hindi words are usually short, because case endings and other grammatical suffixes and prefixes are usually written separate from the main word, which does not contribute to the formation of long words.
One long word which is often cited to mock government efforts at coining new words in Hindi for concepts new to Hindi is the word for the railway signal:
[2013-06-08 02:21 GMT पर संपादन हुआ]
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In theory, at least, when it comes to Polish adjectives that are based on numbers. For example, if you spell out 'aged 9999 years' in Polish, it's going to take forever, all in one word, not even a hyphen, no matter that the corresponding numeral would contain a platoon of words.
Technically, you could do the same in English. As long as hyphenated compound adjectives adverbs count as one word (and they do on exams).
| | Tim Drayton
Local time: 13:18
Turkish to English
| muvaffakiyetsizleştiricileştiriveremeyebileceklerimizdenmişsinizcesine || Jun 8, 2013 |
This is one contest that agglutinating languages are always going to win!
In a language like Turkish, this exercise results in flights of fantasy as you attempt to add one suffix to another to keep lengthening the word. Often touted as the longest possible (even if unlikely) word in Turkish was, prior to the dissolution of Czechoslovakia), in the sentence:
‘Çekoslovakyalılaştırabildiklerimizden misiniz?’ the long word being the part meaning ‘one of those that we have been able to Czechoslovakianise’ in the question ‘Are you one of those that we have been able to Czechoslovakianise?’,
or even the potential adverb:
‘Çekoslovakyalılaştırabildiklerimizdenmişsinizcesine’ ('as though you were one of those that we have been able to Czechoslovakianise').
I found the following linguistic flight of fantasy, producing the potential but highly unlikely word shown in the title line here:
There is a teacher training college at which the malicious policy of turning students into failures is promoted, thus: ‘muvaffakiyetsizleştirmek’ ‘turn (students) into failures’ [muvaffakiyet – success/siz-gives adjectives a negative meaning/leş-turns adjectives into verbs/tir-turns a transitive verb into a causative verb/mek-infinitive ending]; and thus a teacher emerging from this college becomes a ‘muvaffakiyetsizleştirici’ ‘one who turns (students) into failures’ [muvaffakiyet – success/siz-gives adjectives a negative meaning/leş-turns adjectives into verbs/tir-turns a transitive verb into a causative verb/i-glide vowel/ci-creates agentive noun]; however, one trainee teacher refuses to undergo this process, i.e. refuses to ‘muvaffakiyetsizleştiricileştirilmeyi’ ‘be turned into one who turns (students) into failures’ [muvaffakiyet – success/siz-gives adjectives a negative meaning/leş-turns adjectives into verbs/tir-turns a transitive verb into a causative verb/i-glide vowel/ci-creates agentive noun/leş-turns the noun into a verb/tir- turns a transitive verb into a causative verb/il-makes the verb passive/me-creates verbal noun/yi-object case ending]; the director of the school , believing that it is possible to instantly turn everyone into those who turn (students) into failures, i.e. that they can be ‘muvaffakiyetsizleştiricileştiriverebileceğini’[muvaffakiyet – success/siz-gives adjectives a negative meaning/leş-turns adjectives into verbs/tir-turns a transitive verb into a causative verb/i-glide vowel/ci-creates agentive noun/leş-turns the noun into a verb/tir- turns a transitive verb into a causative verb/i-glide vowel/ver-adds the sense of the action being instantaneous/ebil-addsthe modality of ability(+’can’)/ecek-future tense (final ‘k’ assimilates to ‘ğ’ when followed by a vowel/i –third person possessee ending as subordinate clauses act as nouns in Turkish and their grammatical subject ‘possesses’ them/ni-object case ending]; and one day, in anger he confronts this trainee teacher with the accusation that he is acting as if he were one of those whom it is apparently impossible to instantly be turned into one who turns (students) into failures, i.e. ‘muvaffakiyetsizleştiricileştiriveremeyebileceklerimizdenmişsinizcesine’ ‘in the manner of one of those whom it is appaerntly impossible to instantly be turned into one who turns (students) into failures’ [muvaffakiyet – success/siz-gives adjectives a negative meaning/leş-turns adjectives into verbs/tir-turns a transitive verb into a causative verb/i-glide vowel/ci-creates agentive noun/leş-turns the noun into a verb/tir- turns a transitive verb into a causative verb/i-glide vowel/ver-adds the sense of the action being instantaneous/emeyebil-addsthe modality of ability(+’can’), made negative/ecek-future tense/ler-plural/imiz-first person plural possessive/den-of, out of/miş-past tense form indicating that something is only alleged and not known for a fact/siniz-second person plural/ ce-in the manner of/the final string of suffixes si-possessee+glide consonant n+dative ending e gives the meaning of ‘in the manner of’].
[Edited at 2013-06-08 05:38 GMT]
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| | felicij
Local time: 12:18
German to Slovenian
| Longest "real" Slovenian word is || Jun 8, 2013 |
"dialéktičnomaterialístičen" (26), an adjective meaning dialectical materialism, but there is like in Polish a possibility to build the longest word with numbers "tisočdevetstodevetinsedemdeset" (1979).
Btw. the Montenegrin is just a plain sentence without spaces or punctuations...
| Medicine gives us plenty || Jun 8, 2013 |
I actually thought antiestablishmentarianism was the longest for the longest time, only to discover that pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism is even longer (and tedious to write out during exams, let me tell you... no wonder so many of our exams had heavy oral components from 5th year onwards)
On the other hand, the very longest word in English, most commonly given as "Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis" is hardly ever, if ever, used in medical contexts because the word was fabricated to be the longest word in English and did not arise from practical use. So although it might appear impressive (and not all that impressive at all because it should really be broken in two after ultramicroscopic in my not so humble opinion), most medics will never even have heard of it - and I have just learned that it is simply a drawn out way of saying "silicosis"!
[Edited at 2013-06-08 10:08 GMT]
| | Cristina intern
Local time: 12:18
German to Italian
| The longest Italian word: esofagodermatodigiunoplastica (29) || Jun 8, 2013 |
According to a research analysing 114.000 Italian terms - taken from the dictionaries «Lessico universale italiano», «Grande dizionario della lingua italiana» (by Battaglia), other dictionaries (Zingarelli, Devoto-Oli, Palazzi), and some historical dictionaries (like Tramater and Tommaseo) -, the longest Italian words should be:
- esofagodermatodigiunoplastica (29), a complex reconstructive surgery after the removal of stomach and esophagus.
- precipitevolissimevolmente (26), an adverb meaning "very hasty"
- guardianodelcoccodrillo (23), a little bird called "crocodile's guardian".
- internazionalizzazione (22), meaning "internationalisation".
Further info (in Italian):
>B>RICERCA - Tutte le curiosità dell' italiano. La parola più lunga? 29 lettere
| pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcaniconioza (44 ) || Jun 8, 2013 |
Cel mai lung din Limba Romana este unul cu caracter stiintific si are nici mai mult, nici mai putin de 44 de litere. Acesta este pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcaniconioza.
Cele mai lungi cuvinte din Limba Romana, care il preced pe cel de 44 de litere sunt:
- cu 36 de litere - Difosfopiridinnucleotidpirofosfataza;
- cu 32 de litere - Encefalomielopoliradiculonevrita;
- cu 31 de litere - Gastropiloroduodenejejunostomie;
- cu 30 de litere - Diclordifeniltriclormetilmetan.
| How is "word" defined in your language || Jun 9, 2013 |
Thank you for replying to this thread.
One factor that will affect the length of a word is how it is defined in a particular language. Most languages define it as the smallest meaningful unit.
If that is accepted, then I was wondering if in agglutinating languages like Sanskrit, Turkish, German, etc., whole sentences which are written without any breaks can be treated as a word.
It is said that in Sanskrit it is technically possible to write a whole essay as single unit with words and grammatical units adding on to one another in a continuous way. Would it be correct to treat this as a "word"?
Just thinking aloud. I would be delighted to hear what you think about this.
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Which is the longest word in your language?
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