Freundschaftsbezeigungen: 20 Words from Europe That Will Make You Doubt Your Linguistic Skills

Today, we have a guest post written by Martha Simons!

One of the defining aspects of a continent is it languages. Even when visiting the different countries in a continent, among the many things you could be interested in is the unique language spoken there. In fact, you will be tempted to learn a few words just to identify with the locals or have something to take back home. Europe is no different from other continents since the languages here have pleasant surprises for you.

Some European languages are known to have oddly long words, for instance, German. However, in other instances, an European language speaker will find a correct word for something or situation and render the rest of the world, including English speakers, speechless for the lack of a suitable translation to match that. Even a polyglot will have a hard time if faced with such a situation. Here is a look at some of these words from Europe that will make you doubt your linguistic skills.

Words that are strangely long

 

Long words can be complex. They increase your chances of missing a letter or two when writing or biting your tongue severally when pronouncing. What’s more, some of these words are hard to translate fully to other languages. Here is a look at some examples;

1. Freundschaftsbezeigungen

This is not only long, but also “clumsy” as Mark Twain would put it, referring to its arrangement. Freund means “friend” and the correct translation of the word Freundschaftsbezeigungen is “demonstrations of friendship.”

2. Kraftfahrzeughaftpflichtversicherung

It’s no doubt, German is known for its long words. Surprisingly, they are not rare or special words in this language as you are likely to come across them regularly in a conversation or when reading printed materials such as newspapers. Kraftfahrzeughaftpflichtversicherung is one of these words and it stands for liability insurance for the motor vehicle.

3. Generalstaatsverordnetenversammlung

This is another of the dauntingly long terms in German. In most languages, this term is composed of at least four words. It is used to denote “meetings of the legislature.” Won’t it be just easier to break it into “general states representatives meetings”, then find a German term for each word to form a sentence? Probably, but that’s German for you!

You will not find these long words in German only. European languages have quite a number of them. Here are other examples: Continue reading

Why learning a foreign language can change your life

English-speakers have the great luxury of knowing the most in-demand language in the world.  When Europeans are sitting down for business or for recreation, the common language spoken is often English.  The same is true in Africa and in Asia.  So, if you are a native speaker of a language that many people around the world wish to learn, you might ask yourself – why would I learn a different language?  There are dozens of reasons, but let’s focus on four of them.

Work and travel opportunities

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Speaking another language opens doors to visit other countries and parts of the world that wouldn’t be open to Continue reading

How to enrich your reading with audio

Reading in another language is a great activity to acquire more vocabulary, to learn more expressions, to immerse yourself in the target language, plus, you increase your cultural knowledge. But how to boost this activity?

Igor Barca

Reading with audio is one of the best ways I found to study a language. The only drawback is that you must be prepared to manage two media: your text and you audio file. But I assure you, nothing better than to hear a native reading while you follow the text.

The association word-pronunciation is strengthened and you begin to realize that you were pronouncing words incorrectly or that one word has more than one pronunciation. Reading and listening to a poem at the same time can be a great way to start applying this technique, since,  for the most part, the poem is a short text and contains rhythm and rhymes, elements that facilitate and invite the reader to read aloud. Although a book is (almost) always longer than a poem, you can still follow the reading with a certain ease. Another benefit is that you can retrocede the audio when you want to solve a doubt about pronunciation.

I know it may sound crazy, it looks like you will not be able to concentrate on both at once, but if you try, you will see that is not like that. It’s a matter of habit; adaptation is faster than you think.

This method also works great for when you are unable to focus on a very boring book, required by the university, for example. I can’t tell how many books I’ve read in this way and for that reason: from Shakespeare to Proust, all the books that I considered boring or difficult were read exactly like that. There are some sites that you can use to undertake this task. I’ll show links in five languages: Continue reading