Longships

The early impact of the steamship was greatest within the technological and economic heartlands of Europe and North America. Glasgow saw one service every ten minutes in the 1830s, while a regular service between Vienna and Budapest, inaugurated in 1826 and taken over in 1829 by the famous Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaft (one of the longest words in the German language), had a fleet of seventy-one ships by 1850 for a trip lasting roughly fourteen hours.

Jürgen Osterhammel The Transformation of the World: a global history of the nineteenth century Princeton University Press 2009, English translation by Patrick Camiller 2014

According to Wikipedia,

Since the German spelling reform of 1996, “Schifffahrt” is written with three “f”s; however, since the name belongs to a company that existed before the spelling reform, the old form of the name is used when referring to the company.

The name of the company is well known in German-speaking countries as a starter to humorously construct even longer compound words. Donau­dampf­schiffahrts­gesellschafts­kapitäns­mütze is such a word, which potentially might even have been used, but probably never actually was. It means a “DDSG captain’s hat”. Another common example is Donau­dampf­schiffahrts­gesellschafts­kapitäns­kajüten­schlüssel which means “DDSG captain’s cabin key”.

Happily, abbreviations have now been invented.

 

One response to “Longships

  1. Thomas Mc Cann

    As they used to say in Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In “vairrry interesting’

    Showing my age now

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