I was trying to figure how to say "birthday book", i.e. a book or card made for someone's birthday. I tried using the rules of compounding words in German and came up with "Geburtstagebug". However, I'm wondering if that could be interpreted as "birthday diary" instead. What would be the right way to say this word?
As you used card yourself, I want to clarify: If it is a (foldable) card of smaller format which you may insert in an envelope, the common German word is Geburtstagskarte or Glückwunschkarte (includes anniversaries, child births, etc.). You can buy them in places such as bookstores, stationeries or supermarkets.
Geburtstagsalbum sounds good, if the object is more book-like. Maybe you would need another word, if Album doesn't fit either.
It is a "Geburtstagsbuch" or "Geburtstagsalbum", if you mean the customs of making a book with photographies, stories, maybe some lyrics and so on from and about the life of the "Geburtstagskind" (a term not limited to childhood) so far. It may be in the form of a "Tagebuch" (diary or journal). But "Tagebuch" is more used for a very personal journal, often times kept hidden from the eyes of others by those who write one.
Goes without further links. I know that customs, but am unsure if it is practiced everywhere in Germany.
As explained in a_donda's answer, "Geburtstagsbuch" should be the way to go. I would like to add some additional considerations about how native speakers might understand this, or related, words:
In general, compound nouns that comprise more than two individual parts can be parsed with different combinations of nouns. In the case of "Geburtstagsbuch", these possibilities would be:
In this case, the former is definitely more likely to be the one that comes to native speakers' minds, as "Geburtstag" is a set term, while "Tagsbuch" is not (at all).
With that said, note that just by using the word "Geburtstagsbuch", a host of possible interpretations comes to mind. It could be:
- a book crafted for someone's birthday (as a gift)
- a book reporting about someone's birthday (after the celebration or event)
- a (purchased) book given as a birthday gift
- a book with stories centering around birthdays
- an encyclopedia of birthday customs around the world
- a book with ideas on what to do for a birthday (party)
Just by the word alone, each of these strikes me as equally likely, though context might clarify what you are talking about.
The compound you suggested, on the other hand - "Geburtstagebuch" -, has two equally likely ways to be resolved:
Without the dash, the writing is the same, although the pronunciation might feature a subtly different stress.
Each of these options evokes a different mental picture:
A "Geburtstage-Buch" would be a book related to several birthdays, or birthdays in general. This could be:
- a book where you keep memories from different birthdays (in this interpretation, "Geburtstagetagebuch" would indeed be a valid, if clumsy, name, as well)
- a book where you keep a list of dates of birth
- as above, a book that deals with birthdays in general in some way, i.e. the aforementioned encyclopedia or DIY guide
A "Geburts-Tagebuch", on the other hand, would indeed be some sort of a diary, related to (usually one) childbirth. It could, for instance, be a book where memories of the days right before and especially after a baby's birth are kept.
If it is, on the other hand, just a card (i.e. a single sheet of paper or thin cardboard, or one that is folded at most once), as also mentioned by you, it cannot be called "Buch" in German. In that case, it is simply a "Geburtstagskarte".