German COVID Words

A discussion of the peculiarities of languages and the differences between them.
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Slava
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German COVID Words

Postby Slava » Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:41 pm

The Germans, well-known for making new words, have done a bang-up job with the pandemic, as demonstrated in this article from the Guardian.

Here's another one from Slate.
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.

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Dr. Goodword
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Re: German COVID Words

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun Mar 28, 2021 5:31 pm

I loved both pieces. Germans have a rather complex set of rules for connecting as many words as are called for: Kraftfahrzeughaftpflichtversicherung "motor vehicle indemnity insurance". The translation is the same thing, a single compound noun, but the separation of the words reflects one problem of the English spelling system.

English words have only one major stressed syllable (accented syllable) and "motor vehicle indemnity insurance" fits that definition.

In German it is easy to spell compounds; English hasn't matched the spelling with the pronunciation yet.
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