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Erzahnenurgroßväter und andere Anverwandte

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Feb. 15th, 2016 | 12:11 pm

In Icelandic, the words for "grandfather" and "great-grandfather" are "afi" and "langafi", respectively (compare German "Opa" and "Uropa").

It turns out you add additional "langa-" prefixes to zip back through the generations, just like you can slap on additional "great" or "Ur-" prefixes in English and German. The longest example I've found is from this 2004 blog post, where the author talks about poking around in the Íslendingabók:

Það getur stundum verið gaman að vera nörd... Var að grúska í Íslendingabók og fann þennan snilling, sem var langa­langa­langa­langa­langa­langa­langa­lang­afi minn [...]

In print, you'll have to settle for one "langa" fewer; page 20 of the Fréttabréf Ættfræðifélagsins, volume 22 (2004), issue 4 has this:

Þorgeir Adamsson garðyrkjustjóri hjá Kirkjugörðum Reykjavíkur, hafði á sínum tíma verið skírður í kirkjunni á Akranesi upp úr skírnarfati því sem Brandur Bjarnhéðinsson langa­langa­langa­langa­langa­langa­lang­afi hans gaf Dómkirkjunni um 1710. (Sjá sér grein)

Það sama er að segja um vitneskjuna um það að páskaljósið skuli hafa logað í stjakanum hans Brands Bjarnhéðinssonar við fermingu bæði Ragnars föður míns og Bjargar dóttur minnar í Dómkirkjunni en Brandur var líka langa­langa­langa­langa­langa­langa­lang­afi hennar.

And an honorable mention goes to Morgunblaðið, which in 2000 managed another "langa" fewer (while talking about the same person as the previous article, incidentally), still an impressive feat:

Þegar þeir safna upplýsingum um Laugarnesið í Nesstofu árið 1703 er einn vitundarvottanna Brandur Bjarnhéðinsson lögsagnari, kirkjuhaldari og bóndi á gamla Víkurbænum, langa­langa­langa­langa­langa­lang­afi minn. En hann hafði ekki aðeins látið sér nægja að reisa veglega Víkurkirkju frá grunni og gefa henni altaristöflu, messingsskírnarfat og tvo forláta látúnskertastjaka, sem enn prýða altari Dómkirkjunnar í Reykjavík, heldur hafði hann einnig gefið Laugarneskirkju forláta predikunarstól.

On a related note, did you know that German has words for ancestors going as far back as 24 generations, not including your own? I didn't — I was aware of "Altvater", without knowing exactly how many "Ur-"s it implied, but there's actually a whole slew:

  1. Vater
  2. Großvater
  3. Urgroßvater
  4. Altvater
  5. Altgroßvater
  6. Alturgroßvater
  7. Obervater
  8. Obergroßvater
  9. Oberurgroßvater
  10. Stammvater
  11. Stammgroßvater
  12. Stammurgroßvater
  13. Ahnenvater
  14. Ahnengroßvater
  15. Ahnenurgroßvater
  16. Urahnenvater
  17. Urahnengroßvater
  18. Urahnenurgroßvater
  19. Erzvater
  20. Erzgroßvater
  21. Erzurgroßvater
  22. Erzahnenvater
  23. Erzahnengroßvater
  24. Erzahnenurgroßvater

Isn't that neat? :)

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Comments {3}

allaboutweather

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from: allaboutweather
date: Feb. 19th, 2016 01:35 am (UTC)
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"Erzahnenurgroßvater": words like that are making learning german a little intimidating. XP

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Schneelocke

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from: schnee
date: Feb. 19th, 2016 10:15 am (UTC)
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Heh, I guess they would do that.

But it's not a common word, to say the very least. Or do you mean longer compounds in general?

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allaboutweather

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from: allaboutweather
date: Feb. 19th, 2016 02:00 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, the latter. Hell, even many of their straße names are really long. XD

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