Zusammengesetztes Hauptwort / by mrm

I'm really enjoying learning German. I wish it was because I was some kind of language genius and would be fluent in a month or that I was planning on reading Goethe in the original or something else suitably impressive. But really, it's out of absurdity. German words are often extraordinarily long (by English standards), but they have an even more extraordinary – if in some ways relentlessly pragmatic – poetry that I find increasingly irresistible.

I am speaking, of course, about the Zusammengesetztes Hauptwort, or compound noun. This part of speech flourishes in the climate of the German language in a way that makes its languishing English cousin cry in the corner in despair, rubbing its tears into the wallpaper. The creation of new words in German seems to have been extremely economical; whenever possible, two existing nouns were stitched together to create a new and entirely logical noun. If you know what the pieces mean, you probably don't even need to look up the English equivalent in your words book – I mean, dictionary. Allow me to offer my favorite samples thus far; see how you do:

1. Haustier – house animal
2. Handschuhe – hand shoes
3. Kinderwagen – child car
4. Mittagsessen – midday eating
5. Tierpark – animal park
6. Vorband – before band
7. Staubsauger – dust sucker
8. Wasserkocher – water cooker
9. Fußboden – foot ground
10. Worträsel – word puzzle
11. Taschenlampe – pocket lamp
12. Sommersprossen – summer sprouts

Wasn't that fun?

Surely you're not still resisting the charms of German? What if I told you that they have a special verb for watching television (fernsehen – to TV see), and for eating breakfast (frühstücken – to breakfast)?

You can't hold out forever.

(1. pet, 2. gloves, 3. stroller, 4. lunch, 5. zoo, 6. opener, 7. vacuum cleaner, 8. electric kettle, 9. floor, 10. riddle, 11. flashlight, 12. freckles)