How to know the gender of words?
Is there a rule to know the gender of words in German? Or should I remember the gender for each word?
I know the obvious ones: "Mann" (masculine), "Frau" (feminine).
There are some patterns that help with the gender of the German words but also a lot of exceptions. As a rule of thumb you should always learn the word + the article... e.g. instead of "Haus" learn "das Haus." Given enough practice you'll start memorizing them and find it odd-sounding when the incorrect article is used... e.g. "der Haus" and "die Haus" sound way off.
But anyway, reading about patterns won't hurt and can be helpful: https://www.lsa.umich.edu/german/hmr/Grammatik/Gender/Gender.html
I've learned this way. I saw on the internet another trick that seems to be good, but i didn't try it. It said you could give a color for each gender, then take colored paper (with that colors, of course) and then pin in that object. For example: Blue = Masculine, Red = Feminine, Yellow = Neuter. So you pin a small blue paper in your chair, table... Red in the door, wall... And Yellow in your bed, window... I don't know if it really works, but i think so.
Might work, I think, but I'm less sure my home folks will be happy about me marking everything I can reach for. And I'm afraid someone will send for the doctors if I try to do it secretly.
So I guess I'll hold it in reserve for now and try the conventional tables first.
Thanks for the heads up though!
Thanks, and the article about gender-specified perception of inanimate objects and even abstractions was really good!
there are a few rules and partial rules. I'm sure someone will give you better info than me, but just to get you started, most things ending in ung are feminine. Lots of things ending in e are feminine. If you have to guess, feminine nouns are the most frequent. Check out endings heit, keit and chen
And as always, there is an exception for every rule: "der Sprung" and "der Dung" are two male German nouns ending on "ung".
Wow thanks, MatthiasBe612802, I was unaware of those. I'll edit my post to say "most things" instead of "anything."
I'm in the same boat.
It somewhat helps me that 'die' goes for plural as much as for feminine, so things which are actually sets of components are likely to be feminine, like:
- die Heizung,
- die Küche,
- die Hochzeit,
But it doesn't seem to always work, like in das Schlaf- / Badezimmer for instance.
So, yeah, I'd like to have a good answer to that, too. :)
Yes, the good news regarding plurals is that it's always die... the bad news it's that there 4 ways to form plurals in German with added suffixes, plus 3 plurals that, along with the suffixes, also add the umlaut to vowels, plus words that don't change from the singular form (only the article)... plus some others that don't fit any previous category, to a grand total of 9 possible forms.
For that reason it's also recommended that you learn the singular and the plural in one go... e.g. das Haus / Häuser.
Don't fret too much though: those compound words have the same gender and plural as their last component. Plus with a little practice, you'll notice some paterns. For instance, all feminine noun ending in -ung have a -ungen plural; most if not all -e ending feminines have a -en plural; -in feminines (many professions, Ärtzin, female doctor, Richterin, female judge, Leiterin, female manager, but also Freundin, girl friend and so on) have a -innen plural. Usually masculine nouns ending in -er or -en don't change at all, as do neuter nouns ending in -chen or -lein. You end up developping a kind of instinct.
What helped me greatly is color coding: I used some spreadsheets (separate ones for nouns, verbs, adjectives/adverbes — since those tends to be the same in German—, "tool-words" if it makes sense). A page in a workbook of the program for each initial letter, three word tables on each page, you guessed it one for each gender, and the background of the cell given the color assigned to the gender. Then I wrote the words in a deeper shade of the same color, the marking of the plural forms in the color of this particular plural, then a column for the traduction in my mother tongue. This way, if I doubt, colors, but also the position on the page helps me remember the gender and the plural.
May I also suggest you check this genius video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrUNyXfnf9Q : to me at least, it worked wonders. I goes without saying you can and should adapt the "heroes" according to what speaks you the most. Combining the two techniques meant rarely getting confused ever, and knowing me, it says a lot.
Sei tapfer: Deutsch ist überhaupt wunderschön :)