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Gender confusing

Why is the word "Madchen" which means a girl/maid, a neuter gender? Why is it not feminine? Also, how do I distinguish among all the genders? They get confusing, because genders do not really exist among non-living things in English.

June 18, 2012



Any word with the diminutive ending "-chen" is neuter because that's what the grammar police decided on. There are some patterns like this (-ung, -ie endings usually point to feminine, -er endings usually point to masc.) but really it's a matter of memorization, or of having a good dictionary. Here's a good dictionary:


Hope this helps!


Also, "chen" is a diminutive form of a word. In this case the word is "die Maid" (the maiden). There is also the joke that it is the diminutive from die Made (maggot :D) Is it because the maggot turns into a beautiful butterfly?

Other examples are:

Das Brot - Das Brötchen (small bread) Das Haus - Das Häuschenouse (small house) Die Wurst - Das Würstchen (small sausage) Der Hund - Das Hündchen (small dog)

Notice that the first vowel gets an umlaut üäö. And so changes its sound.


Thanks for just spelling out the basic rule. I needed it :)


http://www.dict.cc is also a great dictionary for English<>German. It's crowd-sourced so it's go pronunciation from native speakers as well as slang/conversational usage.


You have to learn the gender for each noun. Always note the gender too when you encounter a new noun. And learn its plural form too, because there is no general rule for that either.


a funny grammar - ( Nouns: Genus der Substantive ) - http://coerll.utexas.edu/gg/gr/no_02.html

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