Ok – this post is a little strange and fun. I was thinking about word length and how it relates to designing software/schemas to support multiple-languages. How far do you have to go in your research to figure out the maximum string length to support? So I started digging about and found some interesting things about words. Here are some examples.
- If you’re putting together a schema to support hospital patient records, you might have a field for disease name. In that case, you’d have to allow for pnuemonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis which has 45 letters (caused by breathing in siliceous volcanic dust). A field for surgical procedure would have to support hepaticocholangiocholecystenterostomies which has 37 letters (creating a connection between the gall bladder and the hepatic duct). What about a field for how a measurement was obtained – electroencephalographically with 27 letters (using an electroencephalograph).
- Probably the one that’s going to catch most people out is place names. The bank Kimberly and I use won’t allow a town/city name of more than 30 characters. That’s fine for the USA, where the longest place name has 24 letters (Winchester-on-the-Severn in Maryland or Washington-on-the-Brazos in Texas). However, if the back-end database is coded to only support 30 characters, that wouldn’t work around the world:
In Wales, there are two longest names are Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyllllantysiliogogogoch with 58 letters and Gorsafawddachaidraigodanheddogleddolonpenrhynareurdraethceredigion wth 66 letters.
In New Zealand, there’s a hill called Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu – 85 letters and that name used to be in general use.
Pretty interesting – or as my kids like to say supercalafragalisticexpialidocious! (34 letters :-))
I’d be interested to hear of longest words in other languages apart from English – please leave a comment. Thanks