In English, terms like Congressman, Postman, Mailman, Salesman etc. are sometimes used to refer to females, so I'm wondering if its at all acceptable in German to refer to a female teacher as ein Lehrer instead of eine Leherin or if thats considered offensive or improper? Or when making a non-specific use of teacher, as in 'A teacher learns best' is the gender in German optional?
I live in Austria for some time, I can say people are overily careful with this gender policies here. To the level that if you don't know the gender, you have to use both. I've seen Soldat/Soldatin written on a recruitment poster, for instance. So I would guess it's offensive to use male gender for female proffesionals :)
Id like to know this too. ..in much the same way that female performers are not referred to as actresses anymore, but actors
it wouldn't be acceptable to refer to a female wiht a male form. In non-specific cases the male form is acceptable and common sense, but politicians and officials use the politicly correct double form, which makes all sentences much longer than needed. The other option for official speaches is to asure the audience in the introduction that you are using the male form as a collective form for both genders in non specific contexts. In private conversations, you always use the collective male form.
Why is 'he likes the female teacher' not acceptable? It's not always clear how much detail is necessary.
Probably because we probably wouldn't go so far to define the teacher as female when we say 'the teacher' in English, especially when we would probably go on to refer to the teacher as 'she,' 'her,' etc...
I suppose it's a question of whether one translates in oder to demonstrate exactly what a phrase means, or translates into English idiom. Back when I studied languages at uni, the preference was for the former, while Duolingo seems to prefer the latter.
I agree with you completely. As a person who would love nothing more than to be able to translate languages word-for-word, I like to express the entire idea each word represents in the context of a sentence. Leaving room for interpretation or other ambiguity really bothers me.
That said, I feel that Duolingo is taking the more practical approach to learning languages instead of the academic "tell me exactly what this means and why" methodology. While you may be talking about a female teacher, usually you wouldn't even mention that fact (unless it was relevant to the story) in casual conversation.
You need to think in terms of male and female teachers though when speaking in German or your audience will become confused by your switching of gender throughout the sentences surely? It's harsh to get the sentence wrong for translating it literally. Just like it's dumb for Google/Bing to translate always using the formal you when it goes from English to German
So why is die Lehrerin in this sentence accusative, but Ich esse mit DEM Lehrer considered dative? Is the 'mit' a defining characteristic of a dative sentence?
It's the same in English. "Mit" will always take the dative case as well as some other prepositions. There are some prepositions that also only take the accusative case. Also, some prepositions take both in order to differentiate a stationary/in-motion condition. Eg, "In dem Bus" vs. "In den Bus." They hold different meanings. Dative is stationary, while accusative is in-motion.
is 'die Lehrerin' both nominative and accusative? what would be the dative?
Earlier in this lesson 'Der Lehrer' was given as 'the teacher'. In this sentence when I hover over Lehrerin, it is listed as a feminine noun meaning teacher. Which is it? I am really confused with the two examples and then dative case too boot.
For Male Teacher : Der Lehrer (nominative), Den Lehrer (accusative), Dem Lehrer (Dative)
For Lady Teacher: Die Lehrerin (nominative), Die Lehrerin (accusative), Der Lehrerin (Dative)
For Male Teachers : Die Lehrer (Plural)
For Lady Teachers: Die Lehrerinnen (Plural)
Someone may please confirm the above. Danke !
Thanks for the useful sketch, Duolingo confuses us in this case since it offers as possible translations to "die Lehrerin" teacher and teachers, so when I translated "He likes the teachers" it said I was wrong.
When you were iin grade school, or high school, did you call your teachers “professor“? That is a title usually used in collage.
In Germany (and most European countries) "Professor" is not a job but the highest academic title, higher than PhD, awarded after a habilitation. Therefore not everyone who teaches at a University is a Professor, they are then "lecturers". And European Professors usually don't teach in schools or colleges.
I put "He likes the lady teacher ''and was marked wrong, instead " he likes the female teacher." Wots the difference between lady and female .....
I got it wrong, but I typed "Er mag die Leheren" multiple times and each time it said "You typed in English, not German." Really? Did I now? Methinks not . . .