21 Comments This discussion is locked.
In German, all nouns are capitalized. For example, "my name" is "mein Name," and "the apple" is "der Apfel." This helps you identify which are the nouns in a sentence.
Three grammatical genders, three types of nouns
Nouns in German are either feminine, masculine or neuter. For example, "Frau" (woman) is feminine, "Mann" (man) is masculine, and "Kind" (child) is neuter. The grammatical gender may not match the biological gender: "Mädchen" (girl) is a neuter noun.
It is very important to learn every noun along with its gender because parts of German sentences change depending on the gender of their nouns.
Generally speaking, the definite article "die" (the) and the indefinite article "eine" (a/an) are used for feminine nouns, "der" and "ein" for masculine nouns, and "das" and "ein" for neuter nouns. For example, it is "die Frau," "der Mann," and "das Kind." However, later you will see that this changes depending on something called the "case of the noun."
Conjugations of the verb sein (to be)
A few verbs like "sein" (to be) are completely irregular, and their conjugations simply need to be memorized:
Conjugating regular verbs
Verb conjugation in German is more challenging than in English. To conjugate a regular verb in the present tense, identify the invariant stem of the verb and add the ending corresponding to any of the grammatical persons, which you can simply memorize:
trinken (to drink)
Notice that the 1st and the 3rd person plural have the same ending as "you (formal)."
Umlauts are letters (more specifically vowels) that have two dots above them and appear in some German words like "Mädchen." Literally, "Umlaut" means "around the sound," because its function is to change how the vowel sounds.
An umlaut can sometimes indicate the plural of a word. For example, the plural of "Mutter" (mother) is "Mütter." It might even change the meaning of a word entirely. That's why it's very important not to ignore those little dots.
No continuous aspect
In German, there's no continuous aspect, i.e. there are no separate forms for "I drink" and "I am drinking". There's only one form: Ich trinke.
There's no such thing as Ich bin trinke or Ich bin trinken!
When translating into English, how can I tell whether to use the simple (I drink) or the continuous form (I am drinking)?
Unless the context suggests otherwise, either form should be accepted.
More Tips & Notes are available on the website.
A kid could be a boy or a girl. A kid = Ein Kind.
Junge is the German word for a young male person - a boy. The opposite of ein Mädchen - a girl.
"Junge" is a noun. In German, all nouns (not just proper nouns) are capitalised.
so, ein has no specific gender role, right? It's like a, or an, so it could apply for a boy or a girl-?
ein is masculine while eine is feminine - however you would use ein for both girl and boy.
A girl - Ein Madchen A boy - Ein Junge A Man - Ein Mann A Woman - Eine Frau A kid/child - Ein Kind
ein is also neuter, which is why it is used in ein Mädchen. das Mädchen is a neuter noun.
Does "I am giving birth" also translate to Ein Junge? sine Junge = am giving birth.
The dictionary can't tell the difference between the noun "Junge" and the verb "jungen".
der Junge = the boy
jungen = to have young/to have a litter/to have puppies/to have kittens
Native German here, just mentioning that there is no such verb as "jungen". What would be possible is "Junge haben" (where Junge is not boy, but another word meaning "a set of children of an animal", also called "ein Wurf").
Edit: as christian pointed out, the word does exist.
I'm not a native speaker, but I don't think that is an accurate translation.
A young man would either be "ein junger Mann" or "ein Jugendlicher".
In English, we would refer to a boy (less than 13 years old) as a "young man" almost in jest. Much like my best friend is only 3 months younger than me but he calls me an old man.