New Year
special offer!
Offer valid until:
  • 00
  • :
  • 00
  • :
  • 00
  • :
  • 00
Read more

Compound words in german


Let’s remember the jokes and memes about the three-kilometer-long words in German. There really are. Let’s find out what they are so long for and who makes them up.
Let’s take the word “kiosk” – “der Kiosk”. And how do you say “newspaper kiosk” in German? In Russian we just made an adjective from the noun “newspaper” (“which kiosk?”), and in German we take the word “die Zeitung” – “newspaper” and add “der Kiosk”. We get “der Zeitungskiosk” (for a smoother connection, there is an “s” between them, and between some words “n”).

One part of the construction is the main one, and the second part is specifying. In the case of “Zeitungskiosk” it is obvious that “Kiosk” is the main word, it is the last one, and “Zeitung” is the clarifying one. The article is used with the last main word.

This is how three words can be combined, and infinitely. Let’s take the scary word “die Studentenkrankversicherung” – “health insurance for students”. Well, what language has more letters in it? If you don’t abbreviate it in German with one word, you get “Versicherung auf den Krankheitsfall für Studenten” (preferably with one word).

Naturally, not only nouns can be combined, but also different parts of speech: der Weißwein, das Badezimmer, die Sofortaufgabe, das Aufgabe.

Note that words like “die Himbeere” – “raspberry” are also complex. “Die Beere” is “berry”, but no word “Him” exists. It’s just so you don’t get confused)

If you know each word individually, it is not difficult to read and understand words like “Dampf_schiff_fahrt_s_gesellschaft” – “shipping company” is not at all difficult.

Just for the record. Where do such words come from? They are invented by the Germans themselves. Some are used so often that they are added to the dictionary, some are invented by a German once, he says, and the word dies immediately. That’s why German dictionaries can’t physically accommodate ALL German words, because there are millions of possible combinations.

Can you compose such words yourself? Why shouldn’t you? But remember that there’s a very good chance of freezing the nonsense.

More interesting articles