"What is the chicken for?"
Translation:Wofür ist das Hähnchen?
Sorry formica, it's just the other way around:
das Huhn - hen or chicken ( female or of unknown sex)
das Suppenhuhn - older chicken, too old for BBQ, meant for cooking in water
der Hahn - male chicken, cock, rooster
das Hühnchen - young chicken (male of female, but young enough to have tender meat suitable for cooking)
das Hähnchen, also Brathähnchen or Grillhähnchen - same as Hühnchen, but almost exclusively used when it is barbecued. (Probably because traditionally male chickens where bred for BBQ or oven.)
German fast food shops often sell "ein halbes Hähnchen" (in East Germany called "Broiler", like mikka said, in Bavaria its often called "Hendl").
Oh and duolingo unfortunately very often uses "Hähnchen" as translation for chicken, which is almost always wrong, see explanations above.
And just to expand further, you might also see "Hendl" if you're in southern areas (Bavaria & Austria).
You look in the fridge and you see a chicken. You ask: Wofür ist das Chicken? The answer could be: Das ist für morgen zum Mittagessen.
I mean, I do not want to oppose the thought that chickens should have a vote. Sure they should, and the vegetarian parties would see quite a surge in popularity, and it would be a good thing altogether.
I only wanted to point out that a simple sentence like this can be understood in astonishingly different ways.
No, most people use all of them. If you want differences, "wieso" is not so often used in written language.
And "wofür" has a second meaning, namely asking for an opinion. "Wofür ist denn Julia?" - "Sie meint, wir sollen ins Kino gehen." "Wofür stimmst du?" "Ich bin für den Vorschlag des Bürgermeisters."
Although about.com says nouns ending "-chen" are nearly all neuter ( "no or few exceptions to the rule" http://german.about.com/library/blgen_das.htm ), there are at least two kinds of words ending in "-chen" that are not neuter nouns.
In neuter nouns ending in "-chen", "-chen" is a diminutive suffix. (Another is "-lein", which also makes nouns neuter.) The "-chen" is not a suffix in some plural nouns (including "die Buchen", plural of "die Buche"; "die Eichen", plural of "die Eiche"; and "die Menschen", plural of "der Mensch"). (See http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100526155348AAYA9UV .)
Some words that end in "-chen" (including "buchen", to book; "eichen", to calibrate; and "sprechen", to speak) aren't neuter because they are verbs and don't have grammatical gender.
I won't be too harsh on duolingo. "Für was ist das Huhn" and "Für was ist dieses Huhn" both sound wrong. Even "Wofür ist das Huhn?" feels awkward without context. It seems plausible in "Danke für den Einkauf, aber wofür ist das Huhn?" In a real conversation you might also hear "Wofür brauchst du das Huhn?" or "Wozu ist das Huhn gut?"
It is hard to teach a foreign language to humans, much more so to a computer program. That considered, duolingo does a fair job. And as with real teachers, I prepare for them to act unjustly now and then.
I agree with this, especially considering we usually want to literally translate from our native language. Also, we are trying to learn it so we can be able to speak and read it, so if we aren't corrected in the proper usage then we will end up sounding like bad foreigners, haha.
Because "wo" means "where", the most obvious translation of "wofür" is more like "wherefore" (as in "Wherefore art thou Romeo?").
I don't know whether the meaning of "wofür" is the same as "wherefore", though. (I assume it is, but I don't hear either word very often.)
There are already some replies below to the same question from fedelenesto and from zmolio above, so this is somewhat saying the same thing twice over:
There is no interrogative word "wasfür" in German in the sense of "what for", the right translation is "wofür". Even if the "wo"-part seems to imply location, "wofür" has no such meaning. - Such is language. (I have to admit, you may come across "Für was ist das Huhn?". It would mark the speaker as unskillful in my mind, - or just a foreigner with pretty good German skills.)
Apart from that, it is correct German to ask: "Was für ein Huhn?" The meaning is different though: "Which chicken?" or "What kind/breed of chicken?" or "What a chicken!" Even so, our many ways of word order would not allow to put the "für" at the end of the question. Possible variants are: "Was ist das für ein Huhn?", "Was für ein Huhn ist das?"
Summery "Wofür" - what for "Was für ein" (separate words) - which, what kind of, what a