Posted on June 4th, 2012
By now you probably know that Russian language is full of surprises: first Cyrillic, then tedious grammar with lots of exceptions from rules…. If you hadn’t been challenged by Russian language enough, here is a fun exercise for you – try reading and pronouncing these super long words in Russian.
According to the Guinness Book of Records published in 1993, the longest word in Russian language was:
Рентгеноэлектрокардиографического (33 characters, adjective, masculine) [ryen-gye-na-e-lyek-tra-kar-deea-gra-FEE-chyes-ka-va]
This is a medical term that in English means – X-ray electrocardiographic.
The issue the Guinness Book of Records published in 2003 revealed a different longest word in Russian language:
Превысокомногорассмотрительствующий (35 characters, adjective, masculine) [prye-vi-so-ka-mno-ga-ras-mat-REE-tyel’-stvoo-yoo-sheey] This word means a polite form of addressing clerks in XIX century in Russia, similar to Your Highness and Your Excellency.
Let’s have a look at a few more examples. The Russian Orthographic Dictionary of the Russian Academy of Sciences by V.V. Lopatin (1999 – 2011) discloses an even longer word in Russian language:
сельскохозяйственно-машиностроительный (38 characters, including hyphen, adj, masculine, singular) [syel’-ska-ha-ZYAYS-tvye-na-ma-shee-na-stra-ee-tyel’-niy]
agricultural machine building
A few more words that are slightly shorter, but yet are still very interesting:
корчеватель-бульдозер-погрузчик (31 characters, including hyphen, noun, masculine, singular)
this word can be translated literally as “stubbing machine bulldozer loader” which really is a loader/excavator/bulldozer.
одушевлённость-неодушевлённость (31 characters including hyphen, noun, feminine, singular)
animate and inanimate
водогрязеторфопарафинолечение (29 characters, noun, masculine, singular)
treatment with water, mud, peat and paraffin
электрофотополупроводниковый (28 characters, noun, masculine, singular)
And lastly, according to the “Russian Grammar Dictionary by A.A. Zalizniak, there are a few more oddly long words in Russian:
Частнопредпринимательского (26 characters, adj., masculine accusative case, singular)
owned by a businessman or an entrepreneur
These words below are equally long – 25 characters each:
Переосвидетельствующимися (25 characters, participle, plural, Instrumental case) [pye-rye-as-vee-DYE-tyel’-stvoo-yoo-shee-mee-sya] (from) reexamine
Субстанционализирующимися (25 characters, participle, plural, Instrumental case) [soop-stan-tsee-a-lee-ZEE-roo-yoo-shee-mee-sya] (from) substantialize
Интернационализирующимися (25 characters, participle, plural, Instrumental case) [eenter-na-tsee-a-na-lee-ZEE-roo-yoo-shee-mee-sya] (from) internationalize
If you are feeling creative and always appreciate a good challenge, try creating super long words yourself in Russian. Here is how:
Tip 1: If you are into chemistry or biology, you will know that certain names of chemicals can reach an extraordinary length, especially if they are in Russian… For example, word никотинамидадениндинуклеотидфосфатгидрин abbreviated as also НАДФ and is translated as “nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate” (NADF) is considered one of the longest Russian words (40 letters).
If you are up to the challenge, think of chemical names and try to combine them in one long word in Russian, but make sure that it makes sense, of course.
Tip 2: Even if you are not a fun of chemistry, you can try combining any words into one in Russian, but again as long as they make sense. As you know, words корчеватель-бульдозер-погрузчик and превысокомногорассмотрительствующий as well as the rest of the words above are a combination of smaller words. Think of prefixes and suffixes where appropriate, they will certainly help to you make your words longer.
Tip 3: Combining numeral compounds is one of the most exciting ways to create long words in Russian. Why? Because it allows you to come up with enormously long words, just like this one:
Тысячедевятисотвосьмидесятивосьмимикрометровый (46 characters) translated as 1988-micrometer
And of course, adding ending “-ого” will bump up the number of characters to 47(!):
Тысячедевятисотвосьмидесятивосьмимикрометрового (Whether you consider it cheating or not… I say: whatever helps you to win at Scrabble! )
These are only a few tips on how to create long words in Russian. The sky is your only limit! Maybe we’ll see your words in the next issue of the Guiness Book of Records?
What are Your Thoughts?
I hope I didn’t scare you away with the longest Russian words above. Please don’t worry, not all of the words in Russian are this long, although you might come across some other interesting and amusing words while learning Russian.
Now, it’s your turn: What was the long Russian word you have ever encountered with? Do you know any long words in any other languages?
Have fun learning Russian!
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The courses of Russian as a foreign language with Russian4real take place online via Skype. The teacher works with adults individually since he is convinced that each person must receive maximum time for practice and professional attention while learning a foreign language.