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Germany dumps its longest word

world Updated: Jun 04, 2013 19:22 IST
PTI
Germany

Germany has dropped its longest word - Rindfleischetikettierungsuberwachungsaufgabenubertragungsgesetz - a 63-letter-long title of a law related to testing of beef.

The tongue-twister refers to the "law for the delegation of monitoring beef labelling".

It has been repealed by a regional parliament after the European Union lifted a recommendation to carry out Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) tests on healthy cattle.

German is famous for its compound nouns, which frequently become so cumbersome they have to be reduced to abbreviations.

The beef labelling law, introduced in 1999 to protect consumers from BSE, was commonly transcribed as the "RkReUAUG", but even everyday words are shortened to initials so Lastkraftwagen - lorry - becomes Lkw, 'The Telegraph' reported.

Professor Anatol Stefanowitsch, a linguistics expert at the Free University of Berlin, told the German news agency dpa that the beef labelling law was the longest "authentic" word in the German language.

The law was considered a legitimate word by linguists because it appears in official texts.

However, it never actually appeared in the dictionaries, because compilers of the standard German dictionary 'Duden' judge words for inclusion based on their frequency of use.

The longest word with a dictionary entry, according to Duden is at 36 letters, Kraftfahrzeug-Haftpflichtversicherung, motor vehicle liability insurance.

However, a 39-letter word, Rechtsschutzversicherungsgesellschaften, insurance companies providing legal protection, is considered the longest German word in everyday use by the Guinness Book of World Records.

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