Turkish tongue-twister wins longest word competition

Published 13.06.2017 13:20

The Turkish language came out on top in a "longest word" contest held by the Euronews channel in France, with a winning word composed of a whopping 75 letters.

Euronews, which broadcasts in 10 languages, asked its international journalists to enter the contest with the longest words they could find in each language. The journalists then had to pronounce the words on camera, which proved to be a challenge in itself.

The winning Turkish word was, "muvaffakiyetsizleştiricileştiriveremeyebileceklerimizdenmişsinizcesinesiniz," which translates to "As though you are from those whom we may not easily be able to make into a maker of unsuccessful ones."

Meanwhile, the longest word in the Oxford English Dictionary is "pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis," a medical term for a type of lung disease. However, most competitions do not accept scientific or medical words, making the longest English word the 28-letter "antidisestablishmentarianism," which refers to opposition to the withdrawal of state support or recognition from an established church, particularly the Anglican Church.

The longest words in French, Spanish, and Italian are all under 30 letters, with the 23-letter "electroencefalografista" in Spanish, which describes medical workers who operate an electoencephalogram. The French language has the 25-letter "anticonstitutionnellement," meaning "unconstitutionally." Italian's 26- letter "precipitevolissimevolmente" is an adverb meaning "as fast as possible."

Turkish is an agglutinative language, meaning that rather than separate tense words like "has" "did" or "will" in English, all of these are added to the verb in the form of a suffix. The agglutinative structure grants Turkish the power to produce long words, although they are rarely used in normal conversation – so potential Turkish learners should not be scared off.

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