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What is the longest (based on their representation in romaji) word in Japanese? Are there any longer than リュウグウノオトヒメノモトユイノキリハズシ? If it depends on criteria for a word, then list them by their criteria.

Background: I'm wanting to use a long word for a JRuby bug report, and I think that floccinaucinihilipilification is pretty worthless. Wikipedia's article on Longest words (by language) is currently lacking an entry for Japanese.

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Isn't this the sort of thing that could be answered with a trivial perl/ruby script and the EDICT file? –  jkerian Nov 14 '12 at 4:17
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Quote: 植物では、アマモの別名をリュウグウノオトヒメノモトユイノキリハズシ(竜宮の乙姫の元結の切り外し)といい、現在標準的に使われていないものではあるが、最も長い和名と‌​される。 Link: ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/… –  Dono Nov 14 '12 at 4:19
    
Do you want to include personal names? This is fairly long: ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%AF%BF%E9%99%90%E7%84%A1 –  Dono Nov 14 '12 at 4:25
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Define "word" in Japanese. (good luck) Also: if katakana is allowed, I can generate "words" of pretty much any length you want. Take any technical English phrase (or even chemical compound name) with a use in Japanese, transliterate it and there you go. –  Dave Nov 14 '12 at 5:11
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"floccinaucinihilipilification is pretty worthless." - I assume the irony was deliberate. –  Tim Nov 17 '12 at 10:44

2 Answers 2

Well, I found the following question which includes some pretty long words/names:

  1. タウマタファカタンギハンガコアウアウオタマテアポカイフェヌアキタナタフ
  2. 愛知県海部郡飛島村大字飛島新田字竹之郷ヨタレ南ノ割
  3. ランヴァイル・プルグウィンギル・ゴゲリフウィルンドロブル・ランティシリオゴゴゴホ

And a site with some more (though it's based on kanji): Long 1-kanji words

sorry for not linking, not enough rep...

According to the link you gave リュウグウノオトヒメノモトユイノキリハズシ is a name of a sea weed, compromised of more then one word, so I guess some of the stuff here pass...

Edit: The Japanese wiki page for really long words have some more really long words like 英国国教会の廃止に反対する主義. it's one word in English ("antidisestablishmentarian-ism"), but I'm not sure it can be considered as such in japanese.

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英国国教会の廃止に反対する主義 is definitely not one word in Japanese –  ssb Nov 14 '12 at 10:49

One can always recursively create infinitely long Japanese verbs by sticking on agglutinative markers:

食べられられられられられられられられ...られる

おいしくなくなくなくなくなくなくなく...ない

連れていってきていってきていってきて...いく

Obviously they don't mean anything useful but since phrases like he is going to go to go to go to go or it is not not not not not not bad is one word in Japan word length is theoretically unbounded.

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Note that he is going to going to going to going to going to go is ungrammatical in English. (I'm not qualified to make grammaticality judgements about the Japanese, but 〜られられられる looks questionable... I wonder if anyone else has an opinion about the Japanese constructions in your answer.) –  snailboat Aug 8 '13 at 16:22
    
Why is the English phrase ungrammatical? It is definitely parseable syntactically, so it's a syntactically valid phrase. Whether it has any standard meaning semantically is something else - colorless ideas sleep furiously is definitely grammatically correct too. –  user54609 Aug 9 '13 at 1:22
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I know the difference between syntax and semantics. It's syntactically invalid because of the second going. Compare *I am going to walking to the store, which is likewise ungrammatical. The sentence is already finite (tensed) with the first verb, so the second needs to be a to-infinitive. Your sentence should read he is going to go to go to go to go to go to go. –  snailboat Aug 9 '13 at 1:45
    
Oh, nice catch. I'll edit my post. –  user54609 Aug 9 '13 at 1:49
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That depends on whether you consider Japanese an agglutinative language with a fixed number and order of agglutinative slots. japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/1712/… –  dainichi Aug 9 '13 at 6:56

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