https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mjbug

German nouns should include the article (der, die, das) when presented, and should be capitalized.

Duo is great, I love it, and it has helped me revive my fascination with learning languages.

Just a couple of suggestions, however.

For a strongly gender-oriented language like German, Duo really should be presenting new nouns in every instance with the article.

It's not enough to say:

Anstellung = employment

The noun, Anstellung, is inseparable from its article, 'die'.

die Anstellung = (the) employment (feminine)

So, please include it at least the first time it's presented.

OK, anything ending in "-ung" is likely to be feminine, but...so is any noun ending in "-e", as in:

die Katze = (the) cat (feminine)

OK, but there are a TON of irregular German nouns. Just two examples:

der Riese = (the) giant (masculine) [edit, fixed!!!, oops!]

der Junge = (the) boy (masculine)

Both would appear, to a newbie at the language, as feminine nouns in the absence of a definite article. But, both are examples of why the definite article is always paired with the noun in German when a noun is first introduced, or recalled, or explained, or defined.

The list is really endless, and this is why pairing the definite article in presentation of a new noun is important: in German, the article is essentially part of the noun.

My other point is, in a display like the summary for a category (in this case, Abstract Objects 3), the nouns are all in lower case. This is incorrect. Ideally, they'd also include the definite articles, but I can understand if there's no room for all that in this context.

But it's misleading for a language like German for all the words to be shown in lower case.

See imgur screencap of my Duo Abs Objs 3 here (imgur is friendly, guys...) :)

http://i.imgur.com/BBZBHuj

Thanks for reading and thanks especially to the Duo team for creating such a wonderful learning tool!

April 4, 2014

34 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/J.DavidCR

Nouns should also color-coded, and should be a proper explanation about Gender rules (there are!!!) and the the 9 sorts of plural forms. Check here for more info: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/2496526

April 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mjbug

Thanks for the link!

I'm not certain that we need quite such a "crutch" as color-coded nouns throughout the course. When I first studied German years ago in college, my native German professor emphasized that nouns should be learned together with the definite article from the start, and subsequently, recalled as a pair.

This is my core point. While Duo does a great job at many things, it is inconsistent at the introduction of a new noun in that it sometimes does include the article, but more often, leaves the determination of gender to context.

However, after one has learned the noun (together with its definite article), it should take a hover-hint kind of action to reveal the gender (or, by proxy, the definite article which is a part of the noun).

Color-coded nouns would make life incredibly easy...too easy, I'm afraid, since that would obviate the requirement of recalling the article + noun as an essential pair.

Just my opinion.

April 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HowardCJones

I have to agree that the use of colour coding would be counter-productive. There is no substitute for learning nouns with their article as a pair.

April 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/J.DavidCR

I strongly agree about your point on hover-hint kind for nouns, nonetheless the color-coded feature is about make a more effective use of mnemonics, which to the issue of german genders is quite handy to remember rapidly lots of words, besides, adding such feature is not complicated to the developers (some few lines of html codes here and there...).

April 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/darrenthecrude

Color coding is SUCH a great idea! I think that would help immensely with learning all the languages on this site. I color code things in my own notes. It'd be a big undertaking for the site but it would go FAR!!!

April 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/alienorade

I think it may depend on the how people process information--though if in my memory all masculine nouns were shaded blue then that would be a big tip! :)

In the long run, it could be a tool to bridge the complete package into memory (adding to a visual memory of the word), but could also become a crutch quite easily.

April 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Khymsdragon

And yet another reason I miss the vocabulary tab.

April 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/inkybaba

I would agree, most times when we hover over a word it is not because we do not know it but because we need a gender. However, it might make people think they do not need to learn the genders when they can peek and practice the lesson more later

April 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shady_arc

Well, the gender is only shown when you peek at a German word. It is not shown in English hints.

Also, I am not sure I see genders on iPad, which is sad.

April 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/si.hobbs

I feel that the peek is useful, even if it is basically used as a cheat. I notice that my mind want to guess first, and then the peek can be a positive reinforcement if I get it right.

April 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LimegreenMamba

Der Riese geht auf eine Reise.

April 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MourningMorgan

All these genders to remember ends up discouraging me. Any lists of them on the Duolingo would be super helpful. >__<

April 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SyxHyTex

To help alleviate the gender headache for now, hop on over to www.dict.cc and pop in the German word you need a gender for. It'll appear next to it as either {m}, {f}, or {n}, for der, die, or das, respectively. They also have a free app for the iPhone with the same functionality.

Edit: dict.cc also has an extension, much like the one below, but it does German <-> English (or whatever other language you specify) on Google Chrome. Not quite as good, but it can help you learn in the early stages. Google themselves have a dictionary, but it doesn't indicate gender like dict.cc does.

Viel Spaß!

April 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LeMaitre

If you have an Apple device, you can download the prebuilt German dictionary too, that gives you the gender of each word. It also tells you the plural, the genitive form of the word etc. For example, here's how it works:

April 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nicholas.j12

wow, how can I dl it?

April 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LeMaitre
  • First, randomly type a word and select it. Then select 'Define':

  • Then select the 'Manage' option that appears to the bottom left corner as you can see in the image in my previous comment.
  • Dictionaries in multiple languages appear as you can see below. Download the 'German' one or any other one which you want. I've downloaded the French dictionary too, but only the German one displays the gender of the word. :)

April 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/craigpatik

Note that there is now also a Deutsch <-> English dictionary that you can download as well.

Also, as a general tip (even outside of language learning) this is a great way to perform a google search for a term. Highlight some text (e.g. on a web page), tap Define, and even if there is no definition you will see a "Search Web" link in the bottom right of the screen. Tap that to search for the text. I use this daily.

August 1, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/si.hobbs

Ah thanks! I verified this on iPhone, and this will serve most of my purposes! I know this is in an English answer, but you get the idea!

Defining words to find gender on iPhone

April 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mjbug

Yes, I always have a dict.cc tab open. My suggestion above is more about how to avoid a long-term deficit in a new German student's grasp of the "2-dimensional" nature of nouns in German. Duo is, perhaps, presenting the German language with a mix of context and supplemental information, but even children in Germany are always given the gender of a noun when first introduced to it. Or so I have been told.

At any rate, I'm hoping that Duo can add this "second dimension" of nouns to the German track, at least, so that newcomers going through the course will easily associate the definite article with the noun from the very first time they encounter it. Without having to look up every new word on dict.cc.

April 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/aldittli

I have been thinking about this too. Every time I click on a new noun for a definition I would like to hear it say, "die Frau" not just "Frau". I am often looking at the definition just to see the gender. Listing the plural of a noun when it is introduced would be helpful too.

April 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GinnyWeasley1

Thanks for pointing this out! I'm a total newbie at German, so your comment will be helpful! :)

-Ginny

April 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mjbug

My pleasure. :)

April 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Landsberg

I fully agree, thanks for bringing this up.

April 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LeMaitre

Here's a funny discussion, that in a way, highlights the importance of capitalisation of nouns. https://www.duolingo.com/comment/2236561

April 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DarkCatXX

I read an news article that said the best way to learn the gender of words was to do this! So with my own studying on the side I'll study the word with the article. I find it helps a lot! This would be a great idea for duolingo to do :3

April 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rurodudo

i like the gearmany and his language

April 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HowardCJones

This is an extremely important comment and I whole-heartedly agree.

April 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/linguafiqari

As well as things like Mädchen not being feminine

April 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/oohemoo

what i found the German langue so easy and sometimes flexible

April 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/si.hobbs

Oh great, I was sure there'd be a post about this somewhere in the forums. I put a feature request on the Duolingo's Google+ page: https://plus.google.com/108763565784680476845/posts/ZArGnF3qvv2

EDIT: Actually I think i like the built on option better: http://i.imgur.com/3hOnGgy.jpg?1

April 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cambrightlamb

Here, here! Is there any reason why this has not been implemented yet? It is rather strange to have dictionary hints that do not include gender when one is trying to learn German....

May 21, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rowagness

I'm glad you brought this up, I agree with your points!

On a completely different note, nice profile picture my dude. War, war never changes.

June 7, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vanstrien

In addition to the articles being in the wordlists, you should be able to see the words with the same articles grouped together. For example, die Maus, die Biene and die Vogel should be grouped together. Some people will remember the article more quickly that way.

February 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GrasshopperPie

Good idea. Take note, though, it is "der Vogel" - masculine! "Die" would indicate plural, however the correct plural form is "die Vögel."

January 28, 2018
Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.