Does dessert literally translate to "after table" or "night table", or is that just my brain being crazy?
Hmm something about this seems off. In german Nightstand is Nachttisch with two t's while dessert(nachtisch) has one t. Forgive me if i'm wrong but i think the word is composed of Nacht=night + a derivative of the word essen(isch),Nachtisch.
Nach is after, Tisch is table.
Hence "after table." Or the treat that you eat after sitting at the table for a meal.
That was a good thought, though, and one that crossed my mind as well. Or rather, I was thinking about a nightstand originally.
When I am not sure about the etymology of some German word, I often think about my native language of Dutch, which is extremely similar very often. "Dessert" in Dutch, aside from also being "dessert", is "nagerecht" (after-course). I was also reminded of the English word "dish" in this context.
Essen is both a verb meaning "to eat" and a noun meaning "food."
So really it's probably better translated as "evening food."
i forgot an s from the dessert and i learned that desert is called Wüste in German!
No, in German there needs to be an article in there. In English you could leave it out ("She is eating dessert" is fine), but in German, you can't. You need "einen".
So in the areas where it is ok, does it follow a similar pattern to English where "dessert" without the article is the name of the "meal" (for lack of a better term) while with the article is the name of an item you would eat as that meal? Or is that distinction not present?
(Ex: Cake is a dessert. You eat it for dessert.)
It's not quite the same because eating something "for dessert" is, for me, "zum Nachtisch" and not "zu Nachtisch". (But "als Nachtisch", without, article, for "as [today's] dessert" or "as dessert rather than as the main dish".)
"Kuchen ist ein Nachtisch. Man isst ihn zum Nachtisch. Maria isst gerade Nachtisch. Was isst sie zum Nachtisch? Sie isst Kuchen zum Nachtisch. Isst sie den Kuchen als Vorspeise? Nein, sie isst ihn als Nachtisch."
Ok, to make a it a draw again: in my region this (no article) would sound odd as well (Bavaria here).
As a beginner, my head spins with all these regional differences. Still, please keep posting, native speakers. I'll pick up the subtleties in time--I hope!
How would I say, 'She is a dessert' and how would that be taken by native German speakers?
"She is a dessert" would be Sie ist ein Nachtisch. -- no accusative since "to be" takes nominative on both sides.
For feminine or neuter nouns, there would be no difference between nominative and accusative, e.g. Sie isst eine Banane / Sie ist eine Banane; Sie isst ein Dessert / Sie ist ein Dessert.
But even with a masculine noun such as Nachtisch, I think most native German speakers would hear Sie ist ein Nachtisch as Sie isst ein'n Nachtisch, since einen often gets contracted into a single syllable in quick speech..
I'm sure I should've picked this up by now but how can I know whether this refers to "she" or "they"?
sie isst = she eats
sie essen = they eat
You have to look at the verb conjugation.
Because "Nachtisch" (like "Tisch") is grammatically masculine (der Tisch, der Nachtisch); the word is the direct object of "isst" and thus should stand in the accusative case; and the masculine accusative form of "ein" is "einen".
"ein" would be masculine nominative, or neuter nominative/accusative.
And that lesson, IMO, is why DL used "a dessert" here instead of just "dessert", regardless of regional differences.
I learned the spelling difference by remembering that dessert (the sweet) is about excess--hence the extra letter. Desert (the Sahara or Mojave) is sparse--hence the single letter. As for desert (accent on the second syllable, meaning to leave one's post), the "s" in question has already run away. Silly, perhaps, but it helps me. Hope it's the same for other learners!
Heh, I learned there was an extra 's' in dessert because you want more of it.
I use my mic to put in english instead of typing and when i say dessert, it always comes out "desert" and i get marked red for that.
Perhaps it is your emphasis. "Dessert" is pronounced (in the US, at least) desSERT. "Desert" is DESert. Does that make a difference?
You're right, of course. I was trying to help suss out why the mic might not be recognizing certain input. Clearly I wasn't inclusive in my remarks.
I don't think so. A dessert is something you eat at the end of a meal. A sweet you could eat at any time without having a meal before -at least that's the way it would be in German.
dessert is perfect, but British English calls dessert either pudding or sweet, not to be be confused with the sweets that US English calls candy
Whether to call it "pudding" or "dessert" in the UK is a class distinction, to some extent - saying that pudding is "the British English word" for it misses the mark.
We used "dessert" in my family, for what it's worth -- "pudding" refers only to, well, pudding (things made with boiled milk), not for example, a piece of cake or some yoghurt.
In another lesson from the internet, i was taught about "Nachspeise." Is "Nachtisch" a more common term?
I first thought about writing "She is eating a night table". :p German is weird sometimes.
Very funny, you know what the person is asking even if it was not perfectly asked.
"sie ist" is "she is "
"sie sind" is "they are "
"sie isst" is "she eats "
"sie essen" is "they eat "
I got it wrong for using 'sweet' instead of 'dessert'. What was wrong with that?
What is the difference between "She eats a dessert" and "She is eating a dessert"? Duo doesn't like the first one.