I'm wondering if there's a rule for compound words containing a proper noun. For instance could

Domestic Ferrari Exhibition

be translated into



Ferrari Heimausstellung

or should it be always written separately?

  • 2
    Are you talking about a domestic exhibition of Ferraris or an exhibition of domestic Ferraris?
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 14:11
  • Domestic exhibition.
    – user25077
    Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 18:05

2 Answers 2


I think that there is no general rule for that, regardless of whether there is proper noun involved or not. You have to know the exact meaning of what you want to translate.

I tried to figure out the exact meaning of "domestic" for your particular example, and think that you wouldn't translate it with the noun "Heim-" in this case, but rather with the adjective "heimisch":

heimische Ferrari-Ausstellung

("heimisch" here would mean "happening locally", or maybe "in your home town")

(Edited: As Wrzlprmft pointed out in a comment: If this is supposed to refer to "domestic Ferraris", then you would rather translate it as "Ausstellung heimischer Ferraris", but that sounds a bit strange for me, in German and in English...)

The main influencing factors for the meaning are the order of the words, and the hyphenation. For example, if you translated it as "Heimferrariausstellung", then people might wonder what a "Heimferrari" might be. One could disambiguate this by using "Heim-Ferrariausstellung", but again, I think that "heimisch" is more appropriate. Similarly, the form "Ferrari Heimausstellung" sounds more like an exhibition of homes (maybe interior designs or furniture) that is somehow related to "Ferrari".

A famous example for the dangerous ambiguities that may arise here is the "Girl('s) Trade School", which, as a compound of "Mädchen", "Handel" and "Schule" should be translated as

Mädchen-Handelsschule (business/trading school for girls)

and definitely not as

Mädchenhandels-Schule (school for girl trafficking)


Quotation from Wikipedia:

Bei der Bildung von Substantiven durch Komposition mit Eigennamen wird oft die Kopplung mit Bindestrich gegenüber der sonst üblichen Zusammenschreibung bevorzugt. Dies gilt besonders, wenn der Eigenname orthographisch nicht integriert ist (Mekong-Offensive, aber Italienaufenthalt) oder die Gefahr einer Missdeutung entstehen könnte (Fischer-Initiative).

"Heimferrariausstellung" is wrong. You cannot put a proper noun into the middle of a word. "Ferrari Heimausstelung" sounds ok, though not correctly written (see "Leerzeichen in Komposita"). "Ferrari-Heimausstellung" looks better.

Names of streets and other geographic places are often written not separated: Goethestraße, Siemensstraße, Schillerplatz etc.

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