"You are a girl."
Translation:Du bist ein Mädchen.
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I know that this word is a really tough one to learn in the very first skill, but we cannot change the system (yet). German grammar has a lot of idiosyncrasies and your assumption that "eine" goes with a feminine noun is absolutely correct.
It is "das Mädchen", neuter and there is a logic why, though. In German, every noun that can be diminished (ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce: The diminutives) and is formed of its stem and the suffixes -lein or chen is neuter. Now please imagine that a girl is a little woman, OK? The word "Mädchen" stems from the old German word Maid (Maid = unmarried woman) or from the old German word Magd (Magd = farm girl or chambermaid). A young Maid or Magd was called Maidchen or Magdchen and as the language developped, these forms turned into the word Mädchen. Since a Mädchen is logically younger than a woman, you have to add the suffix -chen and this is the reason why we say das Mädchen. To sum it up, the grammatical gender is thus neuter, whereas the girl is still a biologically feminine being ;-)
For those of you who want to have another explanation of said suffixes: You can add them to a lot of different nouns (but not to every noun!). If the stem of this noun consists an a, the a of the diminished form converts into the umlaut ä. The same happens for o -> ö and u -> ü. Please compare these examples and notice how the grammatical gender changes:
- das Brot (the bread) - das Brötchen (the bread roll)
- das Schiff (the ship) - das Schiffchen (the boat, the little ship; no a/o/u here)
- der Turm (the tower) - das Türmchen (the turret, the little tower)
- die Tafel (the board/panel) - das Täfelchen (the small board, the small panel).
Please notice that this refers to the singular only! The plural of a noun always goes with "die". Compare the singular of the diminished form with its plural form:
- das Brötchen (only one) -> die Brötchen (more than one ;-) )
- das Schiffchen (only one) -> die Schiffchen (more than one) a.s.o.
Hope this helps =)
My preferred way is to change your keyboard language. Once added, you can alternate between languages very easily. http://windows.microsoft.com/en-ca/windows-vista/change-your-keyboard-layout
Another way is to use codes: http://german.about.com/library/blcharcodes.htm
if there is a button on your keyboard that contain the two points ¨, perhaps, you have to use shift (under windows) with that button to type the ¨. If not, when you want to type ä, ö or ü umlaut in the game, you will find a small gray (just below the space where you put your answer) in which you will find all these characters. If this gray is hided you should activate it by clicking on Aa icone.
I think people miss the point of sentences in Duolingo. While you might use a lot of the sentences in the exact way they are presented, they are simply tools in your learning and should be treated as such. You don't speak with one phrases after another anyway. You naturally put together words and form sentences.
Sorry, I forget I'm the only one that knows what goes on in my brain...
du - ihr (du would be the singular version of ihr; ihr is plural of du) - these are the informal
Sie - Sie (Sie would be the singular version of Sie....this one doesn't work well.) - these are the formal.
I understand that there is no distinction between singular and plural for Sie, but it helps me to approach it that way (at least until German comes more naturally for me and I can stop thinking/worrying about every little word).
Thanks for the affirmation!
You cannot look at the conjugated verb alone, but have to look at the person as well.
See the conjugation of the verb "to be" - sein:
ich bin - I am
du bist - you are (singular, informal)
Sie sind - you are (singular, formal)
er/sie/es ist - he/she/it is
wir sind - we are
ihr seid - you are (plural, informal)
Sie sind - you are (plural, formal - identical with the formal singular!)
sie sind - they are
*Unlike in Spanish or Italian, the conjugated verb cannot stand alone in German, you always have to name a subject.
So Sie will be conjugated with the plural form of the verb (third person), no matter what Sie stands for? Or are there special occasions?
When "Sie" first popped up there was a comment saying that you can figure out what Sie stands for by checking the verb, or am I mistaken?
It often depends on the verb. I think you may be remembering the difference between "she" and "they" (both are "sie"). For example, "she has" is "sie hat", and "they have" is "sie haben". Also, if "Sie" has a capital letter, it means "you" (formal) - but this can be tricky if "Sie" is at the start of the sentence (as is the case in the translation above), but try to use either the verb or context to get the answer! Hope that helps.
Both are correct, but "Du bist ein Mädchen" is much more likely. If you means "Sie", it's a formal and polite way to normally address adult people or people of a higher rang than you. Addressing a girl with "Sie" sounds rather odd, but imagine you'll deal with a girl of nobility or a little princess. In that particular way, it's correct to say "Sie sind ein Mädchen", therefore we accept both translations.