Long words have somewhat of a special flavor to them, as sometimes make us laugh and sometimes leave us in surprise of ever not knowing who is actually using them. And we are not talking here about Mary Poppin’s “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”, but of real words (well, maybe are some glued together because agglutinative languages allow long word compositions), technical sometimes and frequently used some other times. If you liked grammar in school and you still remember you loved to read and learn new words, then it’s about time to pass to the next level and see what other long, strange, impossible to pronounce words are there.
The trouble already begun, as we have to contenders for this position. One is a 189,819 letters word consisting in the scientific name of the polypeptide TITIN. It is a chemical compound and not a dictionary word, but scholars often make references to it when it comes to English longest words. The second contender is a used dictionary word which goes like this “pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis“, describes a very special type of lung disease and in the medical world it goes by the name P45, as it has 45 letters, probably for quick diagnosis purposes.
The language of love gave the world a lot of terms we use just as they are. But what are the French describing as their longest dictionary word? Apparently it is “anticonstitutionnellement“, which of course means something that is not according to the constitution.
Ah! More troubles ahead. Longest word? No such thing, as Hungarian is an agglutinative language and if you have enough imagination and master the language very well, you can create almost any word you like, no matter its length. Still, their dictionary presents itself with a common used word (although it is too a combination) that looks something like this “megszentségteleníthetetlen” and refers to something that can not be desecrated.
This is a language where you can’t count the number of letters in a word, but just add and glue them together. Still, try to count words that transcript numbers, that will be fun! Still, what is worth to mention is that in 1999, a German word won the award for “Word of the Year” as it was not only incredible long, but it also gathered an entire phrase into it. This is “Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz” and describes a law concerning the regulations of beef labeling.
Let’s move south a little and meet our Brazilian friends. The longest technical world is an adjective derived from the pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis disease, spelled in Portugese, of course and meaning the one who suffers from this illness. But this is no fair game, so we’ll go to the true champion, a non-technical term, “anticonstitucionalissimamente” which basically represents something that is or acts in an unconstitutional manner. Similar as French even.
Let’s travel some more. In Malay language we have a twin situation. Two words, of 46 letters each, referring to technical field. We have “menyepodaknyahcasdiversifikasielektrostatikkan” and “penyetidaknyahcasdiversifikasielektrostatikkan” both having a lot to do with the undiversifying uncharged electrostatic electricity. Get ready for this, because the first word is the actual act, while the second describes the process.
Tricky again and you’ll have to ask the experts. Common knowledge says that the longest Arabic word is fasayakfeekahum meaning “thus he will save you from them”, but checking it against Wikipedia for instance, you’ll find out this word is the longest in the Qouran. The Arabic language knows longer words but apparently, given the dialects, some things have to become more clear than this.
Strange language, but it has some perks. The technical terms are basically the same, but a non-technical term we like is “pretpulkste?r?d?t?jvirziens” which means a direction that goes counter-clock wise. Is this really a non-technical term?
Since we are still in the area and despite the fact that it’s summer, let’s remember the winter holidays laziness and greet our friends and family with “uusaastaöövastuvõtuhommikuidüll” which describes a very great morning after the New Year’s Eve.
We saved last for the best, although we’d die to reproduce that TITIN scientific name just to see if it takes a person 3.5 hours to read it. But back to Afrikaans, this is a language so flexible, you can make an entire doctoral thesis by using one word. We’ll take this directly from Wikipedia, as there is impossible to understand how can one tie so many words together. So they say that “According to the Total Book of South African Records, the longest word in the language is “Tweedehandsemotorverkoopsmannevakbondstakingsvergaderingsameroeperstoespraakskrywerspersverklaringuitreikingsmediakonferensieaankondiging (136 letters!!!), which means “issuable media conference’s announcement at a press release regarding the convener’s speech at a secondhand car dealership union’s strike meeting.” Really!