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Donau­dampf­schiffahrts­elektrizitäten­haupt­betriebs­werk­bau­unter­beamten­gesellschaft or Donau­dampf­schifffahrts­elektrizitäten­haupt­betriebs­werk­bau­unter­beamten­gesellschaft (German: [ˌdoːnaʊˈdampfʃɪffaːʁtsˌʔelɛktʁitsiˈtɛːtn̩ˈhaʊptbəˌtriːpsvɛʁkbaʊˈʔʊntɐbəˈʔamtn̩gəˌzɛlʃaft] (About this soundlisten); English: Association for Subordinate Officials of the Main Maintenance Building of the Danube Steam Shipping Electrical Services) was an alleged suborganization of the Donau­dampf­schiffahrts­gesellschaft (DDSG) in pre-World War I Vienna, Austria, a shipping company for transporting passengers and cargo on the Danube. The DDSG still exists today in the form of the now-private companies DDSG-Blue Danube Schifffahrt GmbH (passenger transport) and the DDSG-Cargo GmbH. However, there is no evidence that Donau­dampf­schiffahrts­elektrizitäten­haupt­betriebs­werk­bau­unter­beamten­gesellschaft ever existed.

As a compound wordEdit

Donau­dampf­schiffahrts­elektrizitäten­haupt­betriebs­werk­bau­unter­beamten­gesellschaft is a compound word that serves as an example of the virtually unlimited compounding of nouns that is possible in many Germanic languages. According to the 1996 Guinness Book of World Records, it is the longest word published[clarification needed] in the German language.

The German spelling reform of 1996 abolished the rule that compound words with triple consonants coalesce them into double consonants. The reform affects noun adjunct Schiffahrt, itself a compound of Schiff ("ship") and Fahrt ("transportation"), which is now spelled Schifffahrt (with three "f"s). A modern spelling would use 80 letters, Donau­dampf­schifffahrts­elektrizitäten­haupt­betriebs­werk­bau­unter­beamten­gesellschaft. However, as the compound is (allegedly) a historical name, the original spelling with 79 letters is kept.

Long compound words are used sparsely in German conversation, but considerably more often than in English. A pre-World War I Danube steamship captain could be referred to as Donau­dampf­schiff­kapitän more naturally than with the somewhat contrived title Donau­dampf­schifffahrts­gesellschafts­kapitän ("Danube steamboating association captain"). According to the 1995 Guinness Book of World Records, the longest German word in everyday usage is Rechts­schutz­versicherungs­gesellschaften ("legal protection insurance companies") at 39 letters.

The compound word contains the uncommon plural Elektrizitäten. Elektrizität ("electricity") is normally used only in the singular.


Donau dampf schifffahrts elektrizitäten haupt betriebswerk bau unter beamten gesellschaft
Danube steam shipping (+ interfix) electricities main maintenance shop building sub officials' association

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