Take the 2-minute tour ×
German Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of German wanting to discuss the finer points of the language and translation. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I saw "Heizölrückstoßabdämpfung" as an example of a word that is almost a pangramm without repetitition, but is it a real German word?

share|improve this question
4  
Are you kidding? It's one of the most important concepts in heating: stupidedia.org/stupi/… ;) –  splattne May 25 '11 at 6:22
2  
Hmm, with "real" I mean that it is actually used like Fahrtrichtungsanzeigerkontrollglühlampe or Einkommensteuerdurchführungsverordnung. –  Phira May 25 '11 at 6:31
3  
Are people still using Fahrtrichtungsanzeigerkontrollglühlampen? I thought they would use Fahrtrichtungsanzeigerkontroll LEDs by now... –  bjoernz May 25 '11 at 9:58
    
The marriage law in Austria is in 19th century German, so I guess that it will be quite some time until Glühlampen vanish from legal texts. –  Phira May 25 '11 at 10:25
    
@bjoernz: Actually, Mercedes-Benz just replaced Fahrtrichtungsanzeiger with Blinker in manuals a few years ago, or so I've heard :) –  OregonGhost May 28 '11 at 12:21

8 Answers 8

up vote 4 down vote accepted

It's a "real" word, in the sense that it doesn't contain any orthographical mistakes, but I seriously doubt that you'll find the word in technical literature.

My guess is that the word was composed for amusement's sake: getting the longest German isogram.

share|improve this answer
    
What about "Oberweserdampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitänsmütze"? –  arik-so Jun 6 '11 at 17:41
1  
@arik-so It's not an isogram: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isogram. –  splattne Jun 6 '11 at 17:59

As indicated by markus, this is an example of compound word, a Kompositum. It is perfectly legal in German to create these from as many words as you like; the last word of the compound defines the main meaning, and the word or compound before that acts as refinement, not that different from english:

Kanne > Ölkanne > Heizölkanne (Can > oil can > heating oil can)

Whether the word still makes sense is another matter, of course. In theory, you could build an infinitely long word (and thus, if you do count compounds as "real words", German has infinite words).

So it depends on your definition whether Heizölrückstoßabdämpfung is a real word. Apparently, such an apparatus does not exist, but the meaning is clear, as Isotopp points out.

You could just invent such a thing, and you'll have invented a very real word as well :)

share|improve this answer

If a 'heating oil backlash suppressor' existed, it would be a real noun. If it does not exist, it is not real, but still valid.

It is a constructed noun with no orthographical mistakes, and it is constructed according to the rules of german grammar and syntax. Because you can construct new nouns in german by putting two existing nouns (even constructed nouns) together, german vocabulary is at the same time finite and unbounded. :-)

share|improve this answer

I'm amazed that nobody has mentioned the term 'zusammengesetzte Nomen'. That's what we're talking about here. You can create them in almost any language but the german language makes it easier than other languages and uses quite many of them naturally.

share|improve this answer

This word is made up only to be the longest "known" German isogram. So it is a phantasy term meaning really nothing. It doesn't make any sense, so I would not agree with the other answers stating that it is a "real" word.

share|improve this answer
    
Also see de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isogramm –  RBloeth May 25 '11 at 7:35
    
Depends on what you mean by meaning nothing. It does have a meaning, just not one that's actually used... +1 anyway for the correct answer (I guess). –  deceze May 25 '11 at 7:37
    
This is true. It is not an existing term, it just shows the possibilities of German language. ;-) –  ladybug May 25 '11 at 7:48

Once I've asked a heating contractor and he told me that he had never heard of this word before. So I guess it's just a clever combination of single words.

share|improve this answer

Fun fact about german: You can combine almost any noun with any other and still have a valid noun, at least from a grammatical point of view. That doesn't always mean that the word itself makes sense or even represent an actual "thing" in the real world.

So to answer the question: Yes, it is. In this case, the word even describes something that actually exists.

Words like this are often referred to as "snake words" (Schlangewörter), because you can go on and add more nouns to it without making it "wrong".

Example: "Heizölrückstoßabdämpfungstechnikerkabinenschlüsseldekorationsbeauftragtenmobil" - Still a valid german word.

share|improve this answer
2  

It's certainly a word that can be formed and understood in German. If it's actually used I couldn't say, as it seems very technical. I can at least imagine a "heating oil backlash suppressor" to exist though, even if I don't know what it is.

share|improve this answer
2  
According to Wikipedia, it's fictitious: de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isogramm –  Pekka 웃 May 25 '11 at 7:34
    
Gut zu wissen. :) –  deceze May 25 '11 at 7:36

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.