compoundnoungedanken

Entry #1568, Fri, March 07, 2008, 11:58 CET (Random Crap)
(posted when I was 29 years old.)

One of the aspects of the German language that I like most is the whole compound noun concept. At a basic level there is no real difference between English compound nouns and German compound nouns (e.g. contact lens vs. Kontaktlinse) besides the fact that the German one gets compressed into one word. However, what appears to be a mere grammatical convention actually seems to imbue the new word with additional powers in German. Writing it as one word seems to abstractly conceptualize the compound noun to a higher degree.

I don't think it's a coincidence that many of the German loan words in English are compound nouns: Blitzkrieg, Schadenfreude, Lebensraum, Poltergeist, and Wanderlust for example.

Anyway, the abuse of language being a hobby of mine, I enjoy making up silly compound nouns in German. A lack of coffee in the office over the past few days has led to my buying diet coke, which I've been describing as Kaffeeersatzkola (coffee replacement cola). It amuses me.

At some point, however, words can become a bit unüberschaubar (I can't seem to think of a good English equivalent to this, but I feel certain there is one), and reading words like Rechtsschutzversicherungsgesellschaft takes a bit of effort.

I'm constantly amused by the German version of Windows. It is full of words like Leistungsindikatorenprotokolle, Drahtlosnetzwerkinstallation, and Datenausführungsverhinderung. Recently I noticed that what is in English Windows known as the Language bar (two words) is in German Windows the Eingabegebietsschemaleiste (compound made up of four separate nouns). That just seems a bit excessive.

Also: Drachenmünze and Feuernasengesicht.


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