Farewell Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz

220px-Schulen_WegweiserRindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz is now kaput. Germany has officially removed its longest word from us. Without the 63-letter word, it is not clear how people will refer to a law regulating the testing of beef in sentences like “just looking at the sizzling steak, you hardly needed a rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz to know this was a fine piece of meat.”

We have all used rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz to refer to the “law for the delegation of monitoring beef labelling.” It is now the latest victim of those black booted EU language thugs who recommended no longer recommend universal testing. The labelling law was introduced in 1999 to protect consumers from BSE.

Fortunately, we can still get our Kraftfahrzeug-Haftpflichtversicherung (motor vehicle liability insurance) from any Rechtsschutzversicherungsgesellschaften (insurance companies providing legal protection). The latter term not only is in the dictionary but commonly used. By the time you finish saying it, your policy has lapsed.

These words are the result of the German habit of stringing nouns together like Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän for a Danube steamship company captain, or worse, adding a reference to his widow –Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitänswitwe or his hat, Donaudampfschifffahrtskapitänsmütze. These should be said in a shouting Teutonic style.

Then there are is the big daddy of Teutonic words: Donaudampfschifffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft — an eighty word monster meaning, the “Association for Subordinate Officials of the Head Office Management of the Danube Steamboat Electrical Services”.

Of course, the British do the same with names like the place in Wales called Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.

Of our this meaning that you create this wonderful line:

The Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän quickly grabbed his Donaudampfschifffahrtskapitänsmütze and went to the Rechtsschutzversicherungsgesellschaften in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch to buy Kraftfahrzeug-Haftpflichtversicherung in case his wife ever became a Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitänswitwe.

Source: Telegraph

26 thoughts on “Farewell Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz

  1. My favorite great-aunt married a fellow whose parents had emigrated from Germany. They settled in New York sometime in the late 19th century. He was very bright and enrolled in Cornell to become a mechanical engineer. He also liked his beer and parties. His grades suffered as a result, and he found himself in the Dean’s office for a serious conference. The Dean was clear he needed to bring his grades up. He had grown up in a home where German was spoken, and was fluent, so the Dean suggested he take a class in German for an easy A.

    He failed the class. Seems the class taught formal German, and his rural German was the equivalent of hillbilly English. The Dean was gentleman enough to realize his mistake, and gave him another chance. My great-uncle became a well respected engineer, but had to give up the beer and parties.

  2. Darren:

    “Zuerst kamen die Künstler, dann kamen die Kunstkritiker.”

    Gibt es hier etwas übermäßige Internetkunstkritiküberempfindlichkeit?

  3. OS,

    That’s not too surprising a story if you’re familiar with the history of the German language. Prior to the 19th Century, what we think of today as Standard German (really early High German) was almost entirely a written language with each region speaking different dialects, some so different they almost aren’t German at all. It wasn’t until the Brothers Grimm complied their dictionary in the mid-19th Century and the publication and adoption of Konrad Duden’s dictionary in the late 19th Century that modern Standard German came into being. The local dialects truly are a hodgepodge.

  4. “A puff of mist will fade after dawn, a gift.”

    — Anonymous English Poet thrown out of Germany.

  5. And here’s Charlie Chaplin having some fun with the German language in his landmark film, The Great Dictator:

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