"The girl and the boy, the woman and the man"
Translation:Das Mädchen und der Junge, die Frau und der Mann
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Girls are female.
But the word Mädchen is grammatically neuter, not feminine.
Grammatical gender is not necessarily related to natural gender -- words are arbitrary. (Like how the word "monosyllabic" has more than one syllable, for example.)
die Person is always feminine, even if persons can be male. das Mädchen is always neuter, even if girls are female. der Löffel is always masculine, even though spoons have no (natural) gender.
So: Das Mädchen ist weiblich. Das Wort „Mädchen“ ist sächlich. (The girl is female. The word “Mädchen” is neuter.)
You have to distinguish between words and the things that the words refer to.
This comment is really good, explaining the subject very well! I gave you a Lingot for it!
The only thing missing here, for ultimate convenience of course, is a link to a (wiki) page explaining masculine, feminine and neuter forms and when they apply like the -chen trick explained.
It just happens to be one of the many cases in German where grammatical gender is (or at least seems) arbitrary. However, as Ly_Mar had said yesterday as of this comment, Mädchen contains the suffix -chen, which I would refer to as a neuter suffix since it always makes the noun neuter.
‘Mädchen’ is an exception in the pattern: nouns referring to people generally take that person's natural gender. There is one grammatical rule, however, which trumps all the other on the matter of grammatical genders: the diminutive suffixes ‘-chen’ and ‘-lein’ always make a noun neuter, and ‘Mädchen’ is historically the diminutive of the now obsolete word ‘die Magd’, cognate of English ‘maiden’.
Duolingo doesn't mark it wrong because they're not capitalized (although you're right, it's a rule in German). Penny504757 must have accidentally made a typo for it to be maked as incorrect.
There are many exceptions to these rules, but here are a few ways to tell whether a noun is Masculine (using der) or Feminine (using die).
Male people and animals.
Most nouns ending in the following are Masculine:
Most instruments or things that do stuff that end in "-er" or "-or".
Nouns derived from verbs ending in "-er" are masculine.
Car brands are masculine.
Months and seasons, days, points on the compass, and most weather elements are masculine.
Most names of alcoholic drinks are masculine.
Most non-German rivers.
Female people and animals.
(exceptions include das Mädchen)
Nouns ending the following endings are feminine:
The -e rule has many exceptions to it.
Foreign words that are used in German with the following endings are feminine:
Most of the German rivers are Feminine.
Cardinal numbers have a feminine article.
Whenever you learn a noun, the best would be to learn the article with the noun, and, prefferably, also the plural form.
The first assessment you have to make is what gender and number the noun you're trying to add an article to is: the ‘der’ declension is used for masculine nouns, ‘die’ for feminine and ‘das’ for neutral, while plural for any gender is also ‘die’.
The second step is understanding the role of the noun in the sentence, this will dictate the case: is it the subject (nominative) or the direct (accusative) or indirect (dative) object? Is it the owner or possessor of something (genitive)? Is it introduced by a preposition? The last case is the hardest because certain prepositions prefer certain cases and you will just have to learn which one, but there is one logical rule: prepositions indicating location take the dative when referring to position but the accusative when indicating aim/direction of movement or when not used in a literal sense (for example ‘ich bin stolz auf dich’, ‘I'm proud of you’, where ‘auf’ doesn't literally mean ‘on’).
After answering these question you can apply the declension as found, for example, here.
Every noun in German has a grammatical gender, a class that determines what set of endings the articles and adjectives modifying the noun must take. There are three grammatical genders in German: masculine, feminine, and neuter (from Latin ‘neuter’, meaning ‘neither (of the two)’, in reference to the fact that it refers to things that are neither masculine nor feminine).
Masculine and feminine generally agree with sex/gender of human referents (with some exceptions, for example ‘das Mädchen’), and they often agree with sex of animal referents (at least when different options are available for male and female, like ‘lion’ and ‘lioness’), but nouns denoting non-living things and concepts also have a grammatical gender in German, and not necessarily neuter. Certain groups of nouns prefer one gender (for example alcoholic beverages are often masculine, with the exception of ‘das Bier’) and suffixes have fixed gender (but sometimes multiple fixed genders, like ‘-tum’—equivalent to English ‘-hood’ or ‘-dom’—, which can be masculine or neuter but never feminine).
Since a noun's gender is essentially arbitrary, it's common among German learners to memorise new nouns together with their nominative definite article (der, die, or das) as a shorthand for that noun's gender. If, for example, I told you that ‘wall’ in German is ‘die Wand’, you would immediately now that ‘Wand’ in German is feminine. Neuter nouns take the nominative definite article ‘das’ and the nominative indefinite article ‘ein’.
Wats d difference between die nd das
No difference in meaning -- which one you have to use depends on the grammatical gender of the noun it accompanies, which is something you simply have to memorise.
For example, die Person (the person) is a feminine word, das Mädchen (the girl) is a neuter word.
the hover information is incorrect.
It sounds as if you are treating the hints as "suggestions" or "recommendations".
They are not intended to be that and are not fit for that purpose.
They are merely hints, intended to jog your memory -- not to supply the correct answer immediately.
The system tries to order the hints so that the most relevant ones are near the top, but it gets confused easily, especially when the same word (e.g. "the") has to be translated differently in different parts of the sentence.
You still have to learn German yourself and memorise which noun goes with which article. You cannot just type what the hints say.
I thought die was for men?
die can be for feminine nouns or for plural nouns.
Feminine nouns are ones such as die Frau (the woman), die Person (the person), die Gabel (the fork), die Zukunft (the future), ... -- as you can see, feminine nouns don't generally have anything to do with females.
What is the purpose of accents?
To show that the pronunciation of the vowel has changed.
In ä, the vowel was raised; in ö and ü, the vowel was fronted.
So schon (already) and schön (beautiful) are not pronounced identically, for example -- the vowel sound is different.
Di germans always capitalise Mann, Frau, Junge, Mädchen, Kind?
Of course, since those are nouns, and nouns are always capitalised in German.
Have you not been reading the tips and notes? Capitalisation of nouns is mentioned in the tips and notes for the very first lesson.
On the web site https://www.duolingo.com/ , click on the light bulb icon to access the tips and notes:
is 'das' exclusive for the word 'madchen'
das is only for neuter nouns.
Mädchen is a neuter noun. (Note: capital M, since it's a noun; and the second letter is ä, not a. If you can't make the letter ä, use ae instead: Maedchen. Do not just leave out the dots over a letter entirely.)
Similarly with other neuter nouns: das Fahrrad (the bicycle), das Messer (the knife), das Opfer (the victim), das Pferd (the horse), ....
Junge and Mann are masculine nouns, which is why it's der Junge, der Mann
Similarly with other masculine nouns: der Fernseher (the television set), der Löffel (the spoon), der Hund (the dog), ....
Frau is a feminine noun, which is why it's die Frau.
Similarly with other feminine nouns: die Gardine (the curtain), die Gabel (the fork), die Katze (the cat), die Person (the person), ....
As you can see, grammatical gender is mostly arbitrary. You have to memorise which gender a given word is.
I wonder if maiden and madchen have a close etymology?
There is no word madchen, but Mädchen (starting with capital M and ä) is the diminutive form of die Magd or die Maid, which are related to English "maid" and to its diminutive "maiden".
So yes, they are related in their origin, though the meanings are not identical in the modern languages.
Yes - the hover system easily gets confused when there is one word (e.g. "the") that has to be translated in different ways in the same sentence; it will show the same hints in the same order for all of them because it doesn't know which one is which.
The hints can never be "suggestions" or "answers"; you still have to learn German yourself.
The grammetical gender of the nouns. Der: masculine Die: feminine Das: neuter. Frau is feminine, Mädchen is neuter. Read the tips next to lessons, they are very helpful (this is at lesson 2, called "The") How could you get to level "8" of German if you don't understand basics, I really wonder...
Isn't girl a feminine noun?
No. Nouns don't have gender in English*.
As for the German word Mädchen, that's a neuter noun, which is why it takes the neuter article das.
* You might think I'm splitting hairs, but it is important to realise that the gender attaches to a specific (German) word, not to a general concept or to an English translation. You can have multiple German words with different genders that mean the same thing, e.g. die Kartoffel (Germany) and der Erdapfel (Austria) both mean "potato". So it doesn't make sense to talk about the gender of "potato" (the English word or the general concept); you have to talk about specific German words.
The hint says
The hints don't "say" anything.
You can't rely on them.
They're there to jog your memory but you (not the hints) are responsible for choosing an appropriate hint from the list.
Is there a lowercase junge in the hints? Do you have a screenshot? Perhaps that can get fixed then.
Why doesn't it let you type "Maedchen" here?
Do you have a screenshot of an answer that got rejected only for writing Maedchen instead of Mädchen? If so, please share it with us -- upload it to a website somewhere (e.g. imgur) and tell us the URL of the image.