https://www.duolingo.com/GraemeRobe7

Gender of product names

If a new product name is coined, how is the gender of the noun determined in German?

April 11, 2018

8 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/AHA3006

Interesting question.

Car brands are almost always masculine (der Mercedes, der Ferrari, der Peugeot), whereas motorcycle brands are feminine (die Harley Davidson, die Ducati). Thus, if somebody says "der BMW", it is a car, if he says "die BMW, it is a motorcycle.

It is "der Big Mac" and "der Whopper", probably because it is "der Hamburger", but "die Coca-Cola", "die Sprite", "die Sinalco".

People disagree (quite emotionally) about whether it is "die Nutella" or "das Nutella".

April 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/GraemeRobe7

Thank you! The question arose when I was dusting with an American product called "Swiffer." Googling showed it to be feminine: die Swiffer.

April 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Mia797420

I don't know how Google came to the conclusion that it's feminine but in this case I would agree with LiamBeresford and I would say "das Swiffer" since I would use "das" for other cleaning brands as well.

April 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/AHA3006

I agree, "Swiffer" does not "sound" feminine at all. Google found plurals probably.

I think P&G markets the product as "der Staubmagnet", thus I would go for "der Swiffer" :)

April 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/GraemeRobe7

Google just showed that it is marketed in Germany as die Swiffer.

April 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/LiamBeresford

If it was made from existing words, then the gender of the last word will be used. If it's a foreign word then it's most probably neuter. If neither, then I'm not sure, but I would guess it is based off the ending

April 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/GraemeRobe7

Thanks, Liam.

April 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/LiamBeresford

Happy to help!

April 11, 2018
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