This week’s broadcast has some remarks about the German language, always good for a schoolboy snigger:
Everybody knows that the German language has a weakness for long words. A Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitänswitwe is, as everyone knows, the widow of the captain of a steamship company on the Danube; a Hottentotenpotentatentantenattentäter is of course a person who assaults the aunt of a Hottentot potentate; and so on.
Well, the noble German language is now poorer by one such word. Up until last week the Bundesrepublik had on its books a rule for the delegation of monitoring the labelling of beef, which is to say a Rindfleischetikettierungsüber-wachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz. Following a change in EU regulations, that rule has now been repealed, which means that the word is no longer in the rule book.
So say auf wiedersehen to Rindfleischetikettierungsüber-wachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz. Then, after dabbing away a tear at the loss of such a fine word, calm yourself by listening to something from your favorite German composer. This one, perhaps.
[Clip of Monty Python sketch about Johann Gambolputty de von Ausfernschplendenschlitter-crasscrenbonfrieddiggerdingledangledongledungle-burstein von Knackerthrasherappelbanger-horowitzticolensicgranderknottyspelltinkel-grandlichgrumblemeyerspelterwasser-kurstlichhimbleeisenbahnwagen-gutenabendbitteeinnürnburgerbratwurstel-gernspurtenmitzweimacheluberhundsfut-gumberaberschönedankerkalbsfleischmittelraucher von Hauptkopft of Ulm.]
Unfortunately this week’s Radio Derb broadcast includes an egregious error: I say that Istanbul is the capital of Turkey. That was a slip of the tongue: I know Turkey, have been there, and even speak the language at an extremely low level. I know very well what the capital is. Homer nods. Apologies to the fine city of Ankara, Turkey’s capital.
Oh, and just following up on my dinner last night with Prof. Zhang: It was great fun. There were forty or so people present, all but two of us Chinese.
Naturally I forgot to bring my camera, but a friend took this with his iPhone. And I got Prof. Zhang to autograph a copy of his paper.
There were also present a reporter & photographer from World Journal, the main Chinese-language newspaper in the U.S.A., so perhaps the event will be written up there. (World Journal has an English edition here: the immigration articles make depressing reading, though no worse than MSM outlets.)