Kindergarten is a masculine noun. Masculine nouns use Der in the nominative case, den in the accusative case, dem in the dative case and des in the genitive case.
In German, the preposition "in" takes the accusative case when the verb has to do with motion and it could also be translated as into. If not, it takes the dative case. Here we have the possibility of into in this sentence, so it's den Kindergarten.
Kindergarten is more American. I'm not sure how their pre-school system works but as I understand it they use this word to refer to all organised group child care whether it involves education or not. I may be wrong about that though.
British people will usually say 'nursery, creche, play school or play group'
In British English a 'nursery' would usually be for children aged 2-4 years and they might do some formal teaching as well. Whereas creche, play school or play group would usually just be child-care. So kids will often go to nursery for part of the day and to play group (etc.) for another part of the day.
It can be confusing but British people will know what you mean if you say 'Kindergarten' and Americans should understand 'creche' or 'nursery'
Strictly speaking, that's not correct. Kindergarten is not a preschool in the American education system. Preschool programs are called just that - preschool. Kindergarten instead refers to the first year of formal education. In nearly every state, you must complete a year of kindergarten before you can advance to first grade/year. Preschool comes before kindergarten and is not manditory.
You would also be incorrect in saying that most Americans would understand creche or nursery. There are better odds that nursery would be understood, though in my experience, nursery more commonly refers to a place in which you raise plants (though that might change regionally). But I highly doubt any American would recognize creche - I've never heard this word before in my life and would have had absolutely no idea what it meant outside the context of the question.
If Kindergarden is the first formal year of school, then it would be equivalent to the English term 'reception'. In Scotland, they would call it Primary 1. Nursery would be the year of schooling the year before this, and the year before nursery would be playschool. Creches are not really schooling, they are somewhere you might leave a child while doing something else, e.g. they often have creches in hospitals.
Perhaps you are an American like me. Creche is a British terms for daycare center. I was not familiar with it either, but both Dictionary.com and Wikipedia have this as a definition. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/creche%20?s=t
But this is one of the reasons why it is important to stick to a language standard. It would be very confusing to have creche accepted for those who think that American usage is the standard. Of course both sources also said day care which is also somewhat different from kindergarten to my mind.
I've actually never heard of a creche but I know that kindergarten in Canada (where I'm from) varies from province to province; I came from Ontario where jk (junior kindergarten) was your first yeae of school, followed by sk (senior kindergarten) then gr. 1. Now I'm in BC and they have "preschool" which is optional but serves the same purpose as jk, then "kindergarten" is the same as sk
That's interesting. In the US I have never heard pre-primary. We have preschool, but that's also called pre-K. Although I don't think the official legalities have changed, kindergarten is pretty much considered part of primary school. Most people refer to public education as K-12. Elementary school (which is somewhat more common here than primary, although that may be regional) is generally either K-5 or K-6. Different States and areas have different distribution of the primary grades depending on whether they have an official Middle School or Junior High School.
Preschool and daycare are usual terms in the US. Aussies seem to like abbreviations a bit more than Americans, it seems to me (like "smoko"). I understand both creche and kindy when used in a sentence, as well as nursery, but I would not tend to use these words when speaking to others in Miami, because they would likely not be understood.
I'm not sure if it would be OK or not, but I think it would be acceptable. However though, "zu" and "dem" would be combined to form the word "zum", at least in casual conversation.
Two issues. One is if you want something accepted you do that through the flag icon. We are just users here. Secondly I don't think you will get slang or shortened forms which don't work in the US as American English is Duo's standard. Adding additional correct translations is a lot more complex than you might think. And any accepted word might appear as a suggested correct answer which would confuse those who don't know it.
You aren't alone. Somebody told me that even native speakers struggle over declension tables in school even though they have been speaking for some years before their first grammar lesson.
German has three genders and each decline somewhat differently in the four cases. So the first two things you have to determine is the gender of the noun and which case is called for. In general Nominative is the subject case, Accusative is the direct object case, Dative is the indirect object case and Genitive is the possessive case. But different prepositions take different cases, so that is something that you just have to learn.
Here is a link to declension tables.
And here is a discussion of prepositions
I would suggest that you bookmark or print them out. This is probably not something that you will read once and know perfectly. This is definitely a top reason why some people consider German a difficult language to learn.
To be more precise Kindergarten is actually not mandatory, but I doubt you will find many children that don't go, since it is free and the norm. Kindergarten is just considered socialization for school. My brother started early and was sick a lot so he actually "repeated" kindergarten, but that was in the 50s. In this age where so many kids start preschool, it served less of a purpose.
Yes "the' should be accepted. Report it. But Duo uses a common for common convention. In German you would not say this without den, but in American English we seldom say the in this sentence. It's just He goes to Kindergarten. Only if you were discussing a particular school or Kindergarten would you add the in English. So this is essentially the translation for both sentences.
Excellent question. Besides prepositions that are always accusative or always dative there are those than can take either an accusative or dative object. An, in and auf are all on that list, but it is an important list to learn. There are actually more prepositions that can take either than those that only take an accusative object. Essentially if there is motion toward something, the object is accusative, but if the position is fixed it's dative. Here is a link that reviews accusative prepositions and those that take either accusative or dative.
That's almost a difficult question to answer. I am 65. When I was in Kindergarten, it wasn't considered mandatory, although by that time no one didn't go. By the time my kids were born over 30 years ago, I don't know if almost anyone really considers it optional. Primary/secondary education in the US is called K-12 routinely. I don't know in terms of legalities if you can choose not to send your child to Kindergarten or provide official home schooling for it or not. But for all intents and purposes, people consider it the first school experience. Preschool is "pre-K".
Have I got this right? "he goes to school" = "er geht zur Schule", but "he goes to Kindergarten" = "er geht in den Kindergarten". Why "zu" in the first instance and "in" for the second if they are doing exactly the same thing but at different ages? Or is it because "Schule" is a building and "Kindergarten" is a school age group?
I don't know whether anyone here has the official answer to that question. I suspect it's actually a function of the origin of the German word Kindergarten. If you deal linguistically with the word as if it literally a Garden of children. You go to school, but you would say go into the garden. I have no idea if that is the answer, but it would be consistent with how German often deals with words.
I don't know if there is a justification for the first two. With all the languages I speak I have learned to notice and memorize prepositions as they seem to be quite fickle things. With the last one I suspect it is essentially affected by the garten part. Kindergarten essentially means garden of children, and one goes into a garden. That's the sort of thing that is likely to be retained in a German compound word.
Well they are almost pronounced the same. It's sort of the opposite to what happened with my Grandmother's name in World War II. Her name was actually pronounced just like Hitler's mistress Eva Braun, but since she spelled it in the English way, Eva Brown, and since everyone mispronounced Braun as Brawn instead of Brown, no body "knew".
In American English, although they definitely mean the same thing, he attends would be much more formal, especially if you are talking about kindergarten, but even for college/university. But on Duo one of the criteria for a good translation is that it would predictably translate back to the initial sentence. In German they express "attend" using the verb besuchen, so your sentence is a translation of Er besucht den Kindergarten.
I'm not quite sure of the distinction you are trying to make. At least in American English, to go to school is the common way to say someone is attending school. To attend is a more formal word. But obviously you would also say someone goes to a school if that's their destination but they aren't enrolled or "attending" classes. In German there isn't really the equivalent verb to attend for this. Like we do with to go in colloquial American English, German uses gehen for both attending and simply going to that location
If you are talking deen which sounds like dean, den should never sound like that. German vowels have a short and a long sound, but the sounds are totally predictable in words. Sounds are sometimes somewhat altered by the surrounding sounds, but that varies by the speaker.