"Duo buys a palace in Austria."
Translation:Duo kauft ein Schloss in Österreich.
I think the problem is the following one:
- Duo kauft ein Schloss in Österreich/Deutschland/Belgien/Brasilien/Kanada/... . but
- Duo kauft ein Schloss im Iran/Kongo/Irak/.. . and
- Duo kauft ein Schloss in der Schweiz/ der Türkei/....
For some countries we have to use an article, while for many others we don't use one.
PS: Duo kauft ein Schloss in den USA/ den Niederlanden. "USA" is a plural word "the united states of America".
Have a look in this list, why some countries get an article:
That is exactly what we English-speaking people have, and yet we used to refer, take for example, to Ukraine as "the Ukraine" back when it was a republic of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics until it got independence from the USSR's collapse, since which it is referred to simply as Ukraine. However, we still refer to Czechoslovakia as Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic as the Czech Republic and Slovakia as Slovakia, not to mention the Slovak Republic as the Slovak Republic.
Interesting. Schloss can mean either palace or castle in German, it seems. I would have thought Palast for palace.
In English, I would take "palace" to mean a sumptuous, large building for a monarch, noble or senior prelate, generally unfortified - or at least with the emphasis on its spendour and opulence.
A castle is primarily a fortified building constructed by kings, nobles or powerful warlords to withstand or discourage (usually unsuccessfully) attack by other people with castles - a mediæval attempt at a sort of cold war arrangement, that usually degenerated into disputes involving ballistas, canon, drawbridges, boiling oil and siege towers.
In other words, a palace is about bling and a castle is about being a tough guy.
Yes, German divides up the semantic space differently from English.
At the most fortified end, you probably have Burg.
A Schloss generally houses a noble - and may be fortified (castle) or less so (palace).
Palast is just about "bling", as you put it. And Palais is from French and so sounds a bit more upper-class.
Basically: it's not one-to-one between English words and German words in this area.
There was a spelling reform in 1996 (modified several times over the following years).
Schloß is the pre-1996 spelling, Schloss is the current spelling.
(Despite what some people think, though, the 1996 spelling reform didn't abolish the letter ß; it's just used differently now, coming only after long vowels and diphthongs, rather than always at the end of a syllable. So Floß "raft" is still spelled like that, for example, because Floß has a long O, while Schloss has a short O.)
When it's the direct object, then use:
- einen before masculine nouns: Ich sehe einen Mann. Du hast einen Hund. Er sucht einen Löffel.
- eine before feminine nouns: Ich sehe eine Frau. Du hast eine Katze. Er sucht eine Gabel.
- ein before neuter nouns: Ich sehe ein Kind. Du hast ein Pferd. Er sucht ein Messer.