The Editorial Apartment


The most multilingual owner’s manual I’ve seen

The instructions for using my Bell bicycle helmet are repeated in 17 languages, including some not often seen, such as Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Czech, Polish, Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Swedish and Hebrew. It’s a 3-foot-long, double-sided, multilingual treat!




Instructions in Finnish

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The short words of English

English is difficult to learn. I agree. Using the right prepositions, figuring out all the thousands of phrasal verbs, memorizing the exceptions to grammar rules, etc., can be frustrating. But thank goodness we don’t have the lengthy words of other languages. Here’s a noun in German that would slow down anyone for sure (including copy editors, proofreaders and writers):


It’s been deleted from the dictionary recently, though not for being too long. Read about it, and other superlong words in other languages, in this recent article and this one, both from the BBC.