Well, I went and did it! For no reason other than the tile-work looks amazing, I’ve booked myself on a trip to Uzbekistan in May next year. [You sort of head towards Turkey then carry on a few countries to the right]
I mean, just LOOK at the decorations! That’s SERIOUS tiling. I want these Uzbeks to do my bathroom.
Anyway, whenever I visit a new country, I always think it’s polite to learn at least a couple of words of their language. I managed Poland with dzień dobry [Good Morning – no matter what time of day it was!] and Dziękuję [Thankyou]. Mind, I did get them mixed up when trying to thank some border control people – with guns! – for reminding me I’d left my keys at the passport control. I politely said ‘good morning’ to them, wondered why their faces looked puzzled, then amended it to ‘thankyou’. Lots of laughter ensued, and thankfully no-one drew their gun.
OK, so, back to Uzbek. I had no idea what sort of language they speak there, or even if there IS an Uzbek language, so off to good old Wikipedia I trotted. It turns out Uzbek is a Turkic language and therefore of the agglutinative variety. Don’t panic, just concentrate on the -glu- bit in the middle. These languages can ‘glu’ loads of bits together to create humungously long words if they see fit. Whereas, in English, we would have to ask ‘How are you?’ using three different words to convey each part of the question, all the Uzbeks do is ask ‘Qandaysiz?’ The first part, qanday, means ‘how’ to which they simply stick ‘siz’ – ‘you’ on the end. So, Howyou?
As I said, these languages can formulate seemingly endless words; The longest word in Turkish being, arguably,
Muvaffakiyetsizleştiricileştiriveremeyebileceklerimizdenmişsinizcesine at 70 letters. Yup. It means As if you would be from those we can not easily/quickly make a maker of unsuccessful ones https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longest_word_in_Turkish. Makes schifffahrten [see my post Tongue-Twisters and Triple Letters] seem quite innocuous.
So, a 70 letter word? Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch in Wales has a mere 58. Pffffft. Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu is the place with the longest name in an English-speaking country [New Zealand] at 85 characters, but these are place names. So, what’s the longest word in the world? Back to Wikipedia, and it seems there is a Sanskrit word, which I have copied and pasted needless to say, which runs to 431 letters. AAAAAARGH. Even the children on The Big Spell would balk at that. So – here it is in all its glory –
Its meaning:- In it, the distress, caused by thirst, to travellers, was alleviated by clusters of rays of the bright eyes of the girls; the rays that were shaming the currents of light, sweet and cold water charged with the strong fragrance of cardamom, clove, saffron, camphor and musk and flowing out of the pitchers (held in) the lotus-like hands of maidens (seated in) the beautiful water-sheds, made of the thick roots of vetiver mixed with marjoram, (and built near) the foot, covered with heaps of couch-like soft sand, of the clusters of newly sprouting mango trees, which constantly darkened the intermediate space of the quarters, and which looked all the more charming on account of the trickling drops of the floral juice, which thus caused the delusion of a row of thick rainy clouds, densely filled with abundant nectar
from the Varadāmbikā Pariṇaya Campū by Tirumalāmbā, the longest word ever to appear in worldwide literature [see Wikipedia][[yes, it’s Sunday evening and I feel lazy]]
-unless, of course, you know better?