I am writing a report about my work. And I want to use the word "Visualisierungsmöglichkeit" but this word doesn't exist in the "Duden".

I am using it many times so far. For example:

Meine Aufgabe besteht darin, eine Visualisierungsmöglichkeit für die Ergebnisse, die das Programm picGeo liefert zu schaffen.

Can I use it anyway?

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  • 8
    Screw the Duden! It's good for checking common mistakes and spellings, but that's it. Especially since in German you can combine almost ANY nouns, and people usually know what you mean. "Visualisierungsmöglichkeit" I've never heard of, but would not notice as odd in a report, go ahead and write that sentence, but I would replace "die" with "welche", that would sound a bit "higher written" – Hobbamok Sep 13 at 11:48
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    Unrelated: There should be a comma after “liefert”. – celtschk Sep 13 at 12:58
  • @celtschk Oh thank you. I am very bad in placeing commas. – Ahrtaler Sep 13 at 15:58
  • 2
    @Ahrtaler Better yet, move the subordinate clause to the end. “Meine Aufgabe besteht darin eine Visualisierungsmöglichkeit für Ergenisse zu schaffen, die/welche das Programm picGeo liefert.” – Konrad Rudolph Sep 13 at 16:47
  • 1
    Btw, it is perfectly fine (some would say preferred) to ask questions in German. – Carsten S Sep 14 at 10:47
up vote 19 down vote accepted

Yes, you can use it. As you can see from any search engine, "Visualisierungsmöglichkeit" is a fairly common word in a certain technical context. The Duden is an orthographic dictionary, it does not even claim to present a complete list of all German words, in particular words coming from a particular technical language.

  • 2
    "claim to present a complete list of all German words": It's even impossible to create a complete list of German words as you can always combine words to create new ones (e.g. 'Visualisierungsmöglichkeit') – FooBar Sep 13 at 10:17
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    To oppose the Duden bashing that is going on here: in addition to the (rather small) Duden Rechtschreibung book on orthography there is also the Duden Universalwörterbuch A-Z which is a pretty heavy brick of a book with 2000+ pages and definitions/explanations for a plethora of words. Having the Duden Universalwörterbuch at hands (in print or digitally) is always a good idea. Composit-nouns with -möglichkeit however will not be listed even there, because -möglichkeit can be found glued to practically everything. Parkmöglichkeit, Schlafmöglichkeit, Ersatzmöglichkeit... – Christian Geiselmann Sep 13 at 12:35
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    @ChristianGeiselmann Wortschöpfungsmöglichkeit… – Holger Sep 13 at 13:03
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    @celtschk Duden bashing can be found in "Screw the Duden!" underneath the original question a swell as in "The Duden is an orthographic dictionary" in this answer here as the claim "this word does not exist in the Duden" does not make it clear if the Rechtschreibung book or the Universalwörter book was meant. – Christian Geiselmann Sep 13 at 14:39
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    @ChristianGeiselmann Even the Duden Universalwörterbuch does not contain, cannot contain, and does not claim to contain a complete list of all German words. (No dictionary does.) For instance, it does not contain "Hornklausel", "unifizierbar", or "Termersetzungssystem", even though these happen to be household words in my research area. You simply can't check whether a word exists or not just by consulting a dictionary. – Uwe Sep 13 at 15:57

It wouldn't be wrong to phrase it like this, but there are possibilities to simplify the sentence.

»Eine Möglichkeit schaffen« can be replaced by »ermöglichen«:

Meine Aufgabe besteht darin, für die Ergebnisse, die das Programm picGeo liefert, eine Visualisierung zu ermöglichen.

Also (as I would write it) »eine Visualisierung ermöglichen« can be replaced by »visualisieren«:

  • Meine Aufgabe besteht darin, die Ergebnisse, die das Programm picGeo liefert, zu visualisieren.

  • Meine Aufgabe besteht darin, die Ergebnisse zu visualisieren, die das Programm picGeo liefert.

  • 12
    "eine Visualisierungsmöglichkeit schaffen" and "visualisieren" may be two different things. – Uwe Sep 13 at 9:07
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    @Uwe I think you are right. "Eine Visualisierungsmöglichkeit schaffen" ist more like creating a GUI that is able to illustrate some data. Either "visualisieren" is more like using this GUI. – Ahrtaler Sep 13 at 10:47
  • 1
    @ahrtaler I'm not sure what you're actually trying to do, but in a context of writing software, I'd definitely interpret the solution by Pollitzer as »to create a functionality that produces a human-readable visual output of the raw data given by picGeo«. – Philipp Sep 14 at 6:45
  • Why not simplify one step further and get rid of the cumbersome relative clause as well? »Meine Aufgabe besteht darin, für die Ergebnisse des Programms picGeo eine Visualisierung zu ermöglichen.« – besc Sep 14 at 7:37
  • @besc: Then I would rather say: »Meine Aufgabe besteht darin, die Ergebnisse des Programms picGeo zu visualisieren.« – Pollitzer Sep 14 at 8:29

Yes, you can.

As Uwe already pointed out, the Duden is incomplete. It always will be. The german language allows for compound words, and thus you can create a new german word at any time by putting several words togather.

So I can say that the Duden is a Nachschlagewerk, which is already a compound word, and can make it more specific by inventing on-the-spot the word Wörternachschlagewerk, which any German will understood even if he has never seen the word before.

But Visualisierungsmöglichkeit is not even a word that you invented. It is just one of the thousands upon thousands of compound words that the Duden does not contain.

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