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I am an extreme novice novice at German. As I am aware of the fact that there are some common grammatical constructions to German and English, and in view of the fact that I am also aware that in German, especially formal German, and dictionary German, one can construct fairly lengthy nouns (in terms of strung adjective and noun combinations), I am particularly curious about how would properly translate, the following English word, with these two different meanings, into German:

  1. Child psychologist: a child who is also a psychologist
  2. Child psychologist: a psychologist who studies children

I would prefer it if I could have some single word constructions for the translation of this word combination (which, in my mind, at least, would differ in these two cases), into German.

Thank you. :-)

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Note that German builds compound substantives instead of arranging the substantives in a series like English does. Rule of thumb is: The last substantive in the compound is the "fact" substantive (what we "mean the thing to be"), anything before it is used attributively, so

ein Kinderpsychologe

is a psychologist that treats children and

ein Psychologenkind

is a child that is the child of a psychologist, or acts as a psychologist.

Another famous example of German compound substantives is the

Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitänswitwe

Where

Donaudampfschifffahrt

Is "Danube steamboat"

Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaft

is "Danube steamboat company"

Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän

"Captain with the Danube steamboat company"

Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitänswitwe

"Widow of the deceased captain with the Danube steamboat company"

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    "Psychologenkind" zur Beschreibung des Elternhauses, ja. Aber für "minderjähriger (Pseudo-/Küchen-)Psychologe"? In der grammatikalischen Theorie vielleicht, aber wo ist da der Unterschied… – LangLangC May 21 '18 at 14:30
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    Was ist denn mit "Kindsoldat"? Das ist kein Soldat für Kinder ("Kindersoldat"), oder ein Kind eines Soldaten ("Soldatenkind"). Das ist ein Kind, das auch ein Soldat ist. Dann wäre vielleicht ein Kind, das auch ein Psychologe ist, ein "Kindpsychologe"? – Rudy Velthuis May 21 '18 at 16:51
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    @RudyVelthuis Sicher, dass Du da nichts durcheinander bringst? de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kindersoldat Und was ist "ein Soldat für Kinder"? – Arsak May 21 '18 at 17:02
  • @Marzipanherz. Hmmm... ja, da stimmt was nicht. Ich hatte auch zuerst "Kindersoldat" für ein Kind, das Soldat ist, aber dann fand ich "Kindsoldat". Ich finde letzteres persönlich besser und es kam mir auch logischer vor, also verwarf ich "Kindersoldat". Ein Kinderarzt ist ja auch kein Kind, das auch Arzt ist, sondern ein Arzt für Kinder. Und ein Kinderschuh ist auch kein Kind, das auch Schuh ist. <g> – Rudy Velthuis May 21 '18 at 17:08
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    @Marzipanherz: in der Hinsicht habe ich nichts gegen Langeweile. Langeweile kann auch gut sein. Meine Patienten haben lieber eine langweilige Behandlung als eine aufregende. <g> – Rudy Velthuis May 21 '18 at 19:35
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As @tofros answer and its comments Show, it's easy to find a word for example 2, but very difficult for example 1, especially, because some word constructions have fixed meanings. "Psychologenkind" sounds like the child of a psychologist, similar to the better known "Lehrerkind", which is a child of a teacher.

Furthermore, a child who is a psychologist is very very uncommon, so you need an expression that shows exactly what you mean or conforms to similar well known word constructions.

In this case I would prefer

Kindpsychologe or Kind-Psychologe

like in Kindkaiser (child emperor).

But you don't have to use "Kind". When thinking about children doing adult Jobs, I always think about "The Three Investigators" books. They call themselves "Junior-Detektive".

From there on one could translate it as

Junior-Psychologe,

even though you should be aware that some people will think it is a psychologist at the beginning of his/her carreer, just like a "Juniorprofessor".

But maybe you can think of other more suitable prefixes.

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In addition to mtwde's answer:

Indeed, a child psychologist in the sense of a child who is a psychologist is not a thing you meet so often in reality, or expressed the other way round: even if you come to the conclusion that every child is also a psychologist of some kind [yes, pun more or less intended], this is not a standard topic of communication, and therefore there is no special term for a pycholochild.

People coin terms for things they address frequently. For things that are no topic of communication, there are no words, usually. (Interesting question: Is there a word in any human language relating to a thing about which nobody speaks?)

However, if you take a little bit a broader perspective, you may find suitable terms. Mtwde mentioned Junior-Psychologe, which is an option, but it is not perfect because the first thing that would come to your mind when hearing this is something like an assistant psychologist, a psychologist in training or so, so usually a person in their late twenties or early thirties.

However, for children plus professions there is a tradition of calling this

Der kleine Zauberer

Der kleine Chemiker

Der kleine Zimmermann

Der kleine Radiologe 1

or respectively

Der kleine Psychologe.

You would usually find such terms on books and on experimental kits for children for topics like chemistry, engineering, physics, biology, illusionism etc. The term can be used both for the book or experimental kit (cardboard box with variuos materials) and for the child playing or experimenting.

As far as I know there is no experimental kit "Der kleine Psychologe" but if you think this is a market niche: go ahead and offer one! What would you include? I suggest: a desktop calender; a couch; a coffee table an three armchairs; a note pad and a pen; Rohrschach test cards, a potted plant, and a set of tiny dolls for familiy constellations.


1 This is only partly a joke. There was an experimental kit available in the 1950 in the US for exploring radioactivity (Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Laboratory). The kit contained materials such as uranium ore plus various instruments such as a Geiger counter and a cloud chamber. For some reason, this product line has been discontinued... It was also rather expensive; if the information I found is correct, it was something equivalent to today's 500 dollars. Nuclear lab kits only for the better-off child, it seems!

  • Der kleine Professor merkt an: "pycholochild"? – LangLangC May 22 '18 at 19:12
  • Der kleine Dichter sagt: Es ist nie zu spät, einer alten Sprache ein paar neue Wörter zu schenken. – Christian Geiselmann May 22 '18 at 19:14
  • Richtig so! Bei mir war es allein der Zwang. – LangLangC May 22 '18 at 19:16
  • Guter Link! Da können sich der kleine Psychologe (oder von mir aus auch die kleine Tanztherapeutin) ja mal mit dem kleinen Professor treffen. Vielleicht haben sie sich was zu geben auf dem Weg zwischen Pinguin und Giraffe! – Christian Geiselmann May 22 '18 at 19:29

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