German translation and the word ''pumpernickel''

OK, a while back there was a columnon this, but this is not really a comment on the column.

I only had one year of German, and that was many, many years ago, but I thought that adjectives preceded the noun, which would make the translation (assuming the component etymologies are correct) more like “farting devil” as opposed to “devil’s fart.”

Can they go either way in German?

You’re right; adjectives practically always precede the noun in German(I cannot think of a reasonable exception at the moment, but never say never, so probably there are exceptions to the rule).

OTOH, I guess “pumpernickel” isn’t adjective + noun, it’s a compound word; in those, the first word will modify the second one (very much like “classroom” in English: A classroom is a room, for a class, so “class” modifies “room”). Compound words are very common in German, I guess they make up a huge portion of the vocabulary.

Anyway, adjective + noun or compound both boil down to the same thing: It ought to be “farting devil,” not vice versa.