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Whenever I want to express a "favorite thing" in German, I use the "Liebling-" prefix:

Meine Lieblingsband ist XX

Oh, du magst XX? Was ist denn dein Lieblingssong von ihnen?

Kochst du gerne? Was ist dein Lieblingsgericht?

It never feels natural, it always feels like something is wrong with the word (/abomination) I just created. Do any of these examples sound wrong? In fact,

Can the prefix "Liebling-" be paired with any conceivable noun, or are there exceptions? Are there any rules to follow when creating a word with Liebling-?

And speaking of which, the prefix Liebling- always sounds to me like an exception in the German language, so are there actually any other prefixes/words that behave like Liebling-?

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    meine Lieblingsband, von ihnen – Carsten S Aug 2 '18 at 0:44
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    Your intuition is off. "Lieblingsband/-song/-essen/..." are entirely unremarkable to Germans. It is somewhat unusual that this noun works like an adjective when used in a compound, and one with superlative meaning to boot (Lieblings-X == der liebste X), but the unrestricted use in compounding is completely normal. – Kilian Foth Aug 2 '18 at 6:43
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    Lieblings- can be productively prefixed to every noun. Okay. But can it be prefixed to itself? Is there something like Du bist mein Lieblingsliebling? – Christian Geiselmann Aug 2 '18 at 9:45
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    @ChristianGeiselmann Yes, there can be a Lieblingsliebling - if somebody has more than one Liebling, one of them can be his Lieblingsliebling. It may not be something his wife likes to hear, but still... – Thorsten Dittmar Aug 2 '18 at 12:23
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    You can even have a "Lieblingshassobjekt" – Beta Aug 2 '18 at 16:24
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You can use the Lieblings- prefix with any noun which describes a kind. It turns it into your favourite thing of that sort. It doesn't match well for things that are unique but may be used for effect:

Das ist im übrigen meine Lieblingselbphilharmonie. – Aber, die gibt's doch eh nur einmal! – Eben drum!

Liebling isn't exceptional at all. Another common example is Wahnsinn.

Was für eine Wahnsinnshitze!

Mach doch nicht so ein Wahnsinnstheater!

But in general, any German noun may be combined with another. It's up to you to coin meaningful combinations.

Das Fernsehen hat in der letzten Zeit ein hohes Kochsendungsbewusstsein.

  • Nothing to add. In German you can combine any word with an other word to create a new word, as long as the new word makes any sense in the context where it is used. The resulting words are called »compound words«, and there is no limit to its lenght. media-cdn.sueddeutsche.de/image/sz.1.1630207/… – Hubert Schölnast Aug 2 '18 at 7:04
  • Kochsendungsbewusstsein :D – npst Aug 3 '18 at 8:13

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