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  5. "Kennst du seinen Namen?"

"Kennst du seinen Namen?"

Translation:Do you know his name?

April 27, 2016



Why is there a 'n' at the end of 'namen' ? I'm quite confused ..


Now, there is a weird thing in German grammar (oh yes, another one!) called weak masculine nouns, which get an -n ending when they are declined.

See here: http://www.vistawide.com/german/grammar/german_nouns03.htm



Vielen Dank. Sehr hilfreich.


The BBC bitesize page got moved and is now here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/z2h4dmn/revision/4 I wish Duolingo would do a little popup window when they slip you a new odd rule of German. I had just got my head round "Die Katze trinkt ihr Wasser" and now this pops up unannounced. Hey ho. At least we get pointers to the excellent forum folk. Thank-you, my fellow Germanophones.


It is the direct object of the sentence, hence in accusative case.


Yes and no. Most of the nouns don't take an -n in the accusative case, not even the masculine ones (it's just the articles or other determiners that take the -n) so this is not the real reason. The reason is that Name, like a few other masculine nouns, belongs to the so-called N-Deklination. These nouns take a final -n in every case (singular or plural) except the singular Nominativ.


Namen is Name"s"


In German you can say Namen as plural and as singular: Ich habe einen Namen. or Sie haben Namen. (In this case it is unusal to use a article)And it is right Namen can also be names.


It's not, as SimoneBa already explained.


Well, it is, but not only.


How do we know which one is meant?


By the determiner in front.

kennen takes an object in the accusative case, and seinen must therefore be masculine singular.

Plural accusative would have been seine Namen.

seinen Namen could theoretically also be dative plural, but that doesn’t work together with kennen.


Weak nouns, also called masculine n-nouns, are a group of masculine nouns in German that have a special declension. In addition to inflecting their article, these nouns themselves add an -en or -n ending (-n if the noun already ends in -e) in every case and number except the nominative singular.

Many of the weak nouns refer to people or animals: der Student, der Junge, der Herr, der Nachbar, der Franzose, der Elephant, der Hase, der Affe. Weak nouns that do not refer to people or animals, add an additional -s suffix in the genitive singular.


This is a great explanation, thanks. It would be useful to add it to the lightbulb notes, which are really thin for this section that adds a lot of new concepts.


Why can't it be "Do you know its name" since "er" and "es" have the same possessive pronoun ?


That’s a reasonable translation, if you’re asking about, say, a horse.

I’ll add that translation.


Thanks a lot ! I really appreciate your presence and reactivity on this forum !!


My teacher says to use heißen when asking a name. For example, Ich heibe Amy, can this be interchangable?


You can ask for someone's name by asking Wie heißt ...? "What is ... called?".

That's not quite the same sentence as "Do you know his name?", though.


Why 'Do you know her name is incorrect' ?


"sein" and its variations mean "his". I believe "her name" would be "ihren Namen".


I believe you are correct (at least according to my possessive pronouns declination chart!).


Yes, that's correct.


Can anyone provide a good example sentence of "Name" in Genitive case? I believe in that instance, it's supposed to end with an -ens . . .


Ich kenne die Bedeutung seines Namens nicht. "I don't know the meaning of his name."

Or Er wird oft wegen seines Namens gehänselt. "He is often teased because of his name."

Though many people (including me) would be more likely to say Ich kenne die Bedeutung von seinem Namen nicht. with von + dative rather than with genitive, and some would say Er wird oft wegen seinem Namen gehänselt. with dative after wegen, even if that's not grammatically correct in standard German.


Is there a reason why it can't translate to " do you know his names" ?


Yes -- the fact that that would be seine Namen (with accusative plural -e on seine) rather than seinen Namen (with masculine accusative -en on seinen).


Ah yes, I see, though I don't like the weak noun concept.! Thank you so much for you many really helpful comments. You are a Duo Star!


How would you say "Do you know their names?" then?


Kennst du ihre Namen


now this... thanks german exceptions


Could you say "Weißt du seinen Namen?" Would it imply something else?


Both are correct, with no real difference in meaning.

"Kennen" (and not "wissen") can also be used in the sense of familiarity with the name (e.g., "I've heard your name before, so I know that name"), but obviously that's probably not what is meant here.

Either can be used for just knowing what the person's name is. I believe "kennen" is a bit more common for this usage, but both are fine.


Could you say "Kennst du wie er heißt?"


That would have to be "Weißt du, wie er heißt?"

Anytime you're knowing a clause ("know where the museum is," "know that it's July," "know what his name is") as opposed to just a noun, you'll use "wissen."


I cannot understand when "Name" (singular in English) is sometimes given as "Name" and sometimes "Namen". The question aked is "Do you know his name?" Why, then "Namen"?


Certain masculine nouns (known as "weak nouns") conjugate unusually by adding an "-(e)n" whenever they're not nominative.

So "Mein Name ist Hans" but "Du kennst meinen Namen."

More info and a rough list of weak nouns here.


Why "seinen"? How is this accusative case?


How could it not be?

It is the direct object of the verb kennen (to know).

Who is doing the knowing? You are. (subject)

What is it that is known? The name. (direct object)


Thanks! I'm learning the grammer along with the language, so I'm rusty as a tractor in the rain.


Where can I find the list of weak nouns


http://bit.ly/2SHmc2q (link to canoo.net) has a list of 3954 nouns that follow that declension.

You may find these forum posts useful:


Perfect.Thank you very much for these!


Is there a particular reason that it can't be translated to "Do you know his first name"?


For one thing, the sentence isn't necessarily asking for the first name; the asker could easily be wanting a last name (e.g., "Herr Schmidt").

Even if the first name was clearly meant in context, the German sentence doesn't make a point of explicitly saying that, so there's no reason your English translation should either-- especially since asking for someone's "first name" is kind of an odd way way to ask this in English in the first place.


Most people have two, or more names. Would it be the same if we ask "do you know his names"


No - then you would use plural accusative seine Namen instead of masculine accusative seinen Namen.

Note the different endings on the possessive determiner.


Why you can't say ihn instead of sein?


ihn = him

sein = his

Not the same thing in English, either.


Thought it would be “Kennst seinen du Namen?


No. In a yes–no question, the verb comes first, and then the subject (almost?) always comes next.


That is incorrect English. "It's" means "it is" in English. The apostrophe is not used with possessive determiners except in the case of "one's." An example: my house, your house, his house, her house, its house, our house, your house, their house, one's house.


Isn't it "theyre names??


"Their names" would be "ihre Namen."

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