Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Martha Barnette's . . . Ortkontrollfahrten?

Okay, so it's a different kind of "ort," but still. Leave it to the Germans to engineer an oh-so-efficient automotive word like this. Hat tip to Erin, who also knows from dresses.


Blogger sunbelt said...

Great word, Ortkontrollfahrten. Such concept words remind me of the 1980's Sniglets from Not Necessarily the News. I loved those! One of my favorite NEWER 'sniglets'....

Questfallen - reaction to the realization that your MapQuest directions have failed you.

9:25 PM  
Blogger Martha said...

Oooooo, Questfallen! Now I finally have a word for that feeling I know all too well. Thanks, Sunbelt!

10:02 PM  
Anonymous Christian said...

Hmm...I'm German but I have never ever in my 25-year-long life come across this word and - even worse - can't make any sense of its constituents. It has to be un-German since there's no 's' between Ort and kontrollfahrten which is usually added in German words. I wonder who came up with this.

12:57 PM  
Blogger Martha said...

Christian, thanks so much for a native speaker's perspective! I hadn't seen the word in any dictionaries, and therefore figured it might be some kind of slang. Please do let me know if you hear any more about this, and I'll do the same, OK?

7:48 AM  
Anonymous Christian said...

Well, Martha, I did google for that word in its purported spelling but Google only returned results containing Ortskontrollfahrt and these search results more or less all were referring to a German website named ortskontrollfahrt.de. This website seems to be a portal for all sorts of clubs and discos where party-goers can find their desired party place.

I also looked up both spellings in the largest German corpus (COSMAS II) containing > 100 million word forms but did not yield any results at all. It has to be said, though, that COSMAS II largely contains newspaper material.

Ortskontrollfahrt sounds just so odd to me that I could think of this as an official term used by policemen when they go patrol their precinct. One possible German sentence might be Während unserer Ortskontrollfahrt in der vergangenen Nacht kam es zu keinen Vorfällen. which would translate into English as something like During our patrol last night there were no incidents whatsoever. This word sounds just so highly official that I would only expect to find it in an official document for internal use.

Again, German phonotactics sort of requires the insertion of the so-called "Fugen-s" (i.e. "cleft s") connecting Ort and kontrollfahrt just as in Himmelstür (Heaven's Gate), Anfangsbuchstabe (initial letter) and so on.

Feel free to email me directly at christian *at* glockner.de


11:14 AM  

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