Tuesday, January 20, 2009

German Sausage of Another Kind

This morning the radio newscaster used the word Inaugurationstourismus to describe the masses of people travelling to Washington for the inauguration of President Obama. It reminded me what I loved most about my mother tongue: its long sausages of words that allow you to express abstract concepts in a single word without the use of any prepositions. Another topical example is Verschrottungsprämie (scrapping premium), a reward for people who decide to scrap their old cars and buy a new one, thus boosting the ailing automotive industry. Another classic example is the German verb thematisieren which translates to "to address the issue of something". It's more of a small English breakfast sausage and yet so poignant.

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