Translation:The woman, the man, the boy and the girl
A simple explanation is that that's just the way it is. Sometimes the gender of a German noun seems to "make sense" based on the meaning of the word, but this is rare.
A more useful explanation is that "Mädchen" has the ending -chen, and all words with -chen also have das as their article.
A more complete explanation is as follows. The -chen part of "Mädchen" is actually a diminutive ending, meaning it changes the meaning of the word into a smaller version of itself. Without going too deep into the etymology, "Mädchen" is basically "Magd" + "-chen". "Magd" means maid, so "Mädchen" is sort of like "little maid". The modern spelling and the fact that "Mädchen" just means girl nowadays are the result of changes in the language over time. More to the point, the gender of German words formed from multiple parts is usually based on the last part, and the "-chen" ending always gives a word neuter gender – which basically just means it becomes a "das" word.
Its an exception, i think. But you need to learn it as it is. I am at Senioren (Flyers in english) and i need it in a lot of things and i need to read texts with it, to write texts with it, to write answers... a lot! So, you just need to LEARN IT AS IT IS. (ps: i am romanian)
--Following text was taken directly off https://www.dummies.com/languages/german/identifying-a-german-words-gender/
Basically, you have three genders in German — masculine, feminine, and neuter — and although English has the same three genders, they play a very different role in German grammar. Gender in English is what’s called natural gender; for instance, boy and girl are examples of masculine and feminine gender words, while computer is an example of a neuter gender word.
In German, most gender is unnatural. So instead of referring to a word’s meaning, gender refers to the word itself. To point out the gender of nouns, you use different gender markers. The three gender markers that mean the (singular) in German are der (masculine), die (feminine), and das (neuter). The plural form of the definite article is die. English has only one gender marker for the definite article of all nouns, namely the.
Look at the words for eating utensils, where you have all three bases covered: der Löffel (the spoon), die Gabel (the fork), and das Messer (the knife). Why should a spoon be masculine, a fork feminine, and a knife neuter? Don’t worry if you don’t see any logical pattern here because there isn’t one.
So how do you know how to form/use genders correctly in German? First, remember that gender is an integral part of each noun; it’s like a piece of the noun’s identity. So when you add new German nouns to your vocab, be sure to learn the article of each noun at the same time. You won’t be able to use a noun correctly if you don’t know its article. The following table breaks down the three definite articles — der, die, and das — by gender, and shows an example for each.
Some categories of nouns are consistently masculine, feminine, or neuter. For instance, noun gender usually follows the gender of people: der Onkel (the uncle) and die Schwester (the sister). In many other cases, the noun categories have to do with the ending of the noun.
Frau and Mann mean "wife" and "husband", respectively, only in a possessive context.
For example, meine Frau is "my wife", and Hast du einen Mann? is "Do you have a husband?"
Here, though, there is no such possessive context and so die Frau can only mean "the woman", and similarly for Mann.
If you want to refer to a husband or wife without specifying whose they are, then you have to use Ehemann, Ehefrau.
There are two types of English speakers in this world: those that use an oxford comma, and those that are wrong. It's a matter of consistency, especially in a list - a comma separates each subject and omitting the oxford comma implies the last two subjects are one. Example: I like peanut butter and jelly, ham, turkey and banana sandwiches - without an oxford comma, I stated I like a sandwich of turkey and banana, opposed to two separate sandwiches consisting of turkey and banana respectively.
Jeremy, you give a good example of a case where a comma is necessary before the last 'and' to make the meaning clear. However, many people have been taught that it is not correct to put a comma before 'and' unless it is necessary to make the meaning clear. Both conventions are commonly used. The rule of style is that the use should be consistent throughout a document.
it says it is wrong
Then it's probably wrong -- you may have made a small typing mistake. (For example, it's very common for people to type "women" instead of "woman", or to leave out the word "and" or add one too many.)
It would be helpful if you (a) reported your sentence as "my translation should be accepted" and (b) take a screenshot showing the question, your answer, and the error message, upload the screenshot to a website (e.g. imgur), and tell us the URL to the image.
If you did report "my translation should be accepted", then this might be what you actually typed:
The women, the man, the boy, and the girl.
(It's the only report from around the time of your comment that I can see.)
That sentence would be rejected for translating Frau as "women" instead of as "woman".
Will the man, woman, boy, and girl German words (Mann, Frau, Junge, Maedchen) always be capitalized?
Yes, of course. They are nouns, and all nouns are capitalized in German.
You may wish to review the tips and notes for the very first lesson unit, where this fact is mentioned: https://www.duolingo.com/skill/de/Basics-1/tips-and-notes
Please always read the tips and notes for a new lesson unit before starting that unit.
You can find them on the website https://www.duolingo.com/ by clicking on the lightbulb icon after selecting the unit:
You may instead see a button marked "tips"; if so, click on that instead.
It's all about emphasis and context. When you say "Der Ball ist besser" (That ball is better) while vocally emphasizing der and perhaps even pointing to a specific ball with your finger, you're expressing the same meaning as that in English.
You can also interpret the meaning from context; in written language, this may be your only option. Let's say you're reading a story in which a girl has a ball and an apple and asks her sister which is better. If her sister replies, "Der Ball ist besser", the meaning of der is probably closer to the meaning of the. Now let's say the girl has a softball and a baseball but asks the same question. If her sister replies, "Der Ball ist besser", the meaning of der is probably closer to the meaning of that. You would know that because saying "The ball is better" generally wouldn't make sense.
Yes and no.
Yes, they're all forms of the definite article.
But no in the sense that you can't just choose whichever one you want.
It's a very little bit like "a" and "an" in English: there's no difference in meaning between the two, but you can't just pick whichever one you want: "a orange" and "an book" are simply wrong. You have to choose the correct one.
In German, which one to choose depends on the grammatical gender of the noun -- masculine, feminine, or neuter.
The grammatical gender is not, in general, logical and simply something you have to memorise.
"Frau" rhymes with the English word "how". You can click on the speaker button at the top of this page to hear it again. You can also listen to example pronunciations at the following sites by clicking on the speaker button or play button:
I translated properly "The women,the man, the boy and the girl"
That is not a correct answer.
die Frau is "the woman" with AN, not "the women" with EN.
In other words, die Frau refers to just one woman, not to several women at once.
Lingots for you for quoting your answer so that others can explain your mistake to you.
Gender is a term in the study of languages, linguistics. Languages divide thing/nouns into different categories when they talk about them. (To some extent this shows how they understand the world). These are called genders. In grammar, it mainly serves to show how relationships are indicated. So, in German, 'der', the masculine article goes with 'er' and 'sein', as, in English, 'man' the masculine noun, goes with 'he' and 'his'. It is English that is unusual ( possibly unique) in having the gender related to the noun being male, female or neuter. Most languages are more like German in this way. English used to be, but has changed. Some languages have many more genders. All natural languages have inconsistencies in usage, but the basics are an essential framework.
I don't want to type in English when learning German. I want to type in German.
You're unfortunately in the minority.
Duolingo is heavily data-driven, and they've found that the more exercises they have that make the learner actively type in their target language, the more casual learners they lose with those "difficult" exercises.
So Duolingo leans heavily on passive recognition and has very little active production -- unfortunately for "real learners".
There's not a lot you can do, but some options include:
- Use the website or a tablet (not a phone with a small screen); this seems to increase the chance of being able to turn word-bank exercises into real typing exercises
- strengthening more; I think at higher crown levels, you're a little more likely to get translation exercises into your target language
- once you have a pretty good grasp of your target language, try the reverse tree: i.e. pretend that you're German and want to learn English and then sign up for the course https://www.duolingo.com/enroll/en/de/Learn-English . Since Duo prefers translation from the target language into the teaching language, that will give you more translation exercises from English into German. (But of course the lesson notes and sentence discussions will also all be in German.)
Duo doesn't like giving users many options.
It picks the options for them, after trying many different things with different groups (A/B tests) and seeing which version "performs" better.
So if you want a course that you can customise to your expectations, I'm afraid you've come to the wrong place.
If you're unsure of the gender, can you guess it or just use das/ein?
Well, sure you can guess or just always use das/ein -- it's just likely to be wrong. Like how you can just guess the past tense of a verb in English and guess that the opposite of "I didn't sing" is "I sought" (like how "I didn't bring" has the opposite "I brought").
Would the genders change the sentence
Sometimes. For example, der Leiter is "the leader" but die Leiter is "the ladder".
Most of the time, though, it's simply wrong. Like saying "I taked" instead of "I took" -- "taked" is not a word, but it can't be confused with anything than the past tense of "take". Similarly, if you said Ich lese eine Buch instead of the correct Ich lese ein Buch for "I am reading a book", it would be wrong but understandable.
Why das madchen
It isn't das madchen; it's das Mädchen with capital M and with ä, not a. (If you can't type an ä, write ae: Maedchen. a and ä are not the same letter.)
And it's das Mädchen in the singular because Mädchen is a neuter word; die Mädchen would be the plural (= the girls), since it has the plural article die before it.
If your answer is "wronf" then it will be marked wrong.
Please show us a screenshot where we can see exactly what you wrote (the exact answer that was rejected) -- upload it to a website somewhere and tell us the URL.
Typos are easy to make and difficult to spot sometimes, so it's possible that your answer was not as correct as you thought.
There should be a das instead of der mann.
No. der Mann is correct (and Mann has to be capitalised).
as per the hint given
Eh? Did the hint not contain a der?
The topmost hint is not always the correct one. As long as the correct one is in the list of hints somewhere, it's a correct hint.
More importantly: why is boy masculine and girl is neutral?
Boys are male and girls are female. (That is, the people are.)
"boy" and "girl" (that is, the words) are neither masculine or neuter, since English doesn't have grammatical gender for words.
Junge is masculine and Mädchen is neuter.
It might look as if I'm splitting hairs, but you do have to understand that words are not what they stand for.
As an example, the word "long" is not long.
Similarly, the fact that the word Mädchen is neuter does not mean anything about girls (the concept).
Grammatical gender is arbitrary.
And it's attached to (German) words, not to concepts or to the English words we use to talk about those concepts.
Da was an obvious typo for the
No, it isn't obvious -- not to a machine, anyway.
da is a real word in German, and Duolingo won't guess whether you typed that word on purpose or whether your finger simply didn't press the s key hard enough for it to register. So it marks it wrong, since da is not appropriate in that position.
i type the exact tbing and it wont accept
Probably because you made a mistake.
Like how you wrote "tbing" here instead of "thing".
It happens easily.
If you would like help finding your mistake and you have a screenshot, then please show it to use -- upload it to a website somewhere (e.g. imgur) and then post the URL of the image here.
In German, gender is defined not by the gender of the noun, but by the meaning and the form of the word. Genders in German were originally intended to signify three grammatical categories that words could be grouped into.
The three categories were: - endings that indicated that a word was of neutral origin. - endings that indicated a group of people or things. These became feminine. - nouns that had no ending. These remained masculine.
Check out the "Tips" or lesson section before trying again!
why does it keep saying my answer is incorrect?
Probably because it is incorrect and not "the same as duolingos".
If you can show us what you actually wrote, then someone can probably point out the error -- if you have a screenshot showing the exercise you had and the answer you gave, please upload it to a website somewhere such as imgur and include the URL of the image in your comment.
Otherwise nobody can guess what happened.
Isn't Mädchen a masculine word in some cases?
Ein Mädchen for example.
It's neuter. ein Mädchen (das Mädchen) just like ein Haus, ein Kind, ein Pferd, ein Messer (das Haus, das KInd, das Pferd, das Messer).
Look also at the accusative case: ich sehe ein Mädchen shows that it's definitely neuter (compare masculine ich sehe einen Mann -- masculine accusative einen versus neuter accusative ein).
How come when "the" is applied it is considered neutral?
It's always neuter. (Not "neutral".)
your system says it's wrong
Then I'll bet you 50 lingots that your answer was wrong.
Prove me wrong - upload a screenshot with your question and your answer to a website somewhere such as imgur or postimage and then put the URL of the image into a comment here. If the error was on Duolingo's side, I will give you 50 lingots.
But please don't post any comments about "I was right" without proof. That helps nobody.
Why is it das mädchen?
It isn't. It's das Mädchen, with a capital M. And die Frau with a capital F, since both Mädchen and Frau are nouns and nouns are capitalised in German.
they're both female nouns?
We use "masculine" and "feminine" for the grammatical gender of nouns. And while Frau is a feminine noun, Mädchen is a neuter noun.
The grammatical gender of a noun is not necessarily connected to the meaning of the noun.
Kind of like how the word "monosyllabic" is not monosyllabic and the word "blue" is not blue, so the word Mädchen is neither female nor feminine.
it is showing that it is wrong
Then you probably made a mistake.
If you have a screenshot showing the question and your answer, then please upload it to a website somewhere such as imgur or postimage and tell us the URL of the image -- then someone can perhaps help you find your mistake.
Otherwise nobody can guess what might have happened.
Why does English have 3 words with the same meaning? am, is, are all mean er in Danish and is in Afrikaans -- Danish has jeg er, du er, han/hun er, vi er, I er, de er while Afrikaans has ek is, jy is, hy/sy is, ons is, julle is, hulle is.
Wouldn't it be easier to have 1 word to make it less confusing?
Why not have "I are, you are, he are" like Danish? Or "I is, you is, he is, we is" like Afrikaans?
Once you get everyone speaking this simplified English (you get to pick which verb form survives), I'll help you talk to Germans about their language.
Until then, I suggest that you learn German as it's currently spoken.
Gremans have a funny way with articles das is used in the case of das brote und das wasser ( the bread and the water) these are in animate objects , das madchen (the girl ) which here (das madchen )uses the same article as inanimate objects, the only article that never seems to change according to gender is (Die) in the case of being used for (frau or frauen) and (die manner) and (die kinder) the descriptive article (Die) applies to plurality of man,woman and children,singularlty das,der,or die, die will always refer to a woman or women unless its the plural of man or child, good luck with the sind and sied plurality of those!
The German I learned from relatives back in the Seventies and Eighties had 'Fraulein' instead of 'Mädchen,' but I gather it's not used anymore, and is seen as kind of insulting? I guess maybe like addressing an unmarried woman as well as a girl as 'Missy' in English ('Frau') seemed to exclusively belong to married women). Kind of a shame to me personally, as I thought it a pretty word; but also understandable.
Anyways, does anyone know if this more or less what used to be called 'High German' that we're learning? Or 'Low German'? And does German typesetting still prefer the very Gothic fonts?
Most I still recognize, but there's definitely some changes! :)
Why Das madchen and Der junge ?
It's das Mädchen, der Junge -- Mädchen has a capital M and then an ä, and Junge has a capital J.
The word Mädchen is grammatically neuter, so you need neuter das; the word Junge is grammatically masculine, so you need masculine der.
The grammatical gender of words is usually not guessable; you simply have to memorise it.
Junge is also supposed to be Das
No. Grammatical gender is not, in general, logical -- so you can't talk about "supposed to be".
I'm very confused how I was wrong
Nobody can see what kind of exercise you had nor exactly what you wrote. (And a self-report of "I typed it correctly" is not reliable -- it's notoriously difficult to spot one's own mistakes, and I've been caught by that myself multiple times.)
Please show us what happened: take a screenshot showing the exercise you saw and the answer you gave, upload the image to a website somewhere such as imgur, and put the URL of the image into a comment here.