1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. Gender of German nouns should…

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zoltaneus

Gender of German nouns should be included in the 'Words' listing on Duolingo.

One of my stumbling blocks to learning German is the gender of German nouns. I fully understand the concept of gender in language having learned Spanish, however German's nouns seem to have no rhyme or reason (clues) to determining their gender. I've been told, 'You just have to learn which gender is assigned to each word, as you learn it'.

Now I get to my point. I think the word's gender should be indicated on the 'Words' listing (under the 'More' tab at the top of this page), currently they are not. Any foreign language dictionary would list whether a word is masculine, feminine, or neuter. Shouldn't it be included here as well? Thanks for listening, this isn't a rant, it's just a suggestion! :D

September 17, 2019

60 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David904136

My favorite example:
Die Band = the band (musical group)
Das Band = ribbon, tape
Der Band = volume (of a book)

What exactly do you find confusing? :)

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SusanRankin1

Or that there are three words for Sea and all three of them are of different gender?

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/qutax

Three? Which is the third one? As native German speaker I am sure, there are only two:

Die See = the sea
Das Meer = the sea

("See" meaning "sea" is less common than "Meer", though)

I know that in American English "sea" and "ocean" are often used interchangeably, but in German you can't use "Meer" and "Ozean" interchangeably.

However, while "die See" means "the sea", "der See" means "the lake".

September 19, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/alpha3099

You can't really use sea and ocean interchangeably in English, unless it is a set phrase, such as "Out to sea" or "seafaring".

The Pacific or Atlantic Oceans and cannot be called a sea. Same as with the Dead or Mediterranean Seas, which cannot be called oceans.

September 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/qutax

You can use it interchangeably and you just confirmed it yourself.
I have never said that you can use it interchangeably in all cases, but that it is often used interchangeably in American English.

September 23, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David904136

You probably should get used to using an on-line dictionary while you use Duolingo; I always have LEO open on the next tab.
https://dict.leo.org/englisch-deutsch/

The bottom line is German noun gender is about as logical as English spelling. Which is to say it's absurd.

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MooO0O

Thanks David, very helpful idea. Have a hundred worthless lingots for this comment and the previous one about the band that made me laugh.

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BiologicalLang

I do now know how you just gave out 100 lingots, but that is none of my business xD

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David904136

Well I had only 1700-odd before, so thanks, I certainly don't want to run out!

Man, that must have been a click-fest, rather like a video game!

I'm actually gratified indeed to know my advice was helpful!

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MooO0O

Very helpful indeed, I also have the LEO with my other apps next to my duolingo tab so I can have them both open while I study Deutsch y Espanol.

It was a click-fest, but I was paying attention to something else at the time, so I don't feel like I wasted any time. Mouse-click, spacebar....mouse-click, spacebar...etc...

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David904136

Yes, in the interest of full disclosure, I have SpanishDict in the next tab when I'm doing Spanish.
https://www.spanishdict.com/

Also, I sometimes resort to Google Translate when I'm doing Spanish and rarely, even German.

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jairapetyan

Yes, GT has actually developed to a reasonable point in those languages, due to input by bilingual users. However, try it for Latin! It's hilarious! =D If you know even a bit of Latin you can see what absurd translations pop up.

September 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SusanRankin1

I want to know this too.. THE MOST I have ever given out at one time is 10 because i have to click ten times to do that!!!! How do you give 100??? PLEASE TELL US!

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jairapetyan

Just keep clickin' Sus...

=D

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MooO0O

hold your curser over "give lingot" then, Mouse-click, spacebar....mouse-click, spacebar...etc.... Do it while listening to music or watching TV or it can become really Booooooooring

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mary432092

Thank you for that link, David. It's bookmarked now.

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David904136

How does anyone survive without LEO?

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BiologicalLang

Danke für die Empfehlung David!

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David904136

My pleasure!

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sita205483

Good suggestion re the dictionary . Also, the comparison of English spelling to German genders is priceless!

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David904136

Which is the more absurd of the two is a tough call. . .

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sita205483

Agreed! I've always felt sorry for non-native English learners due to all the spelling craziness.But now German gender has certainly put obstacles in the road for me when mastering the other gramatical rules which mostly seem to require knowing the gender FIRST.

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roji-and-Salsa

Same goes for the Spanish and French noun gender. It's guesswork or lots of repetition to learn by heart. Often those gender are opposite.

die Katze - el gato - le chat (m-f-f)
der Mond - la luna - la lune (m-f-f)
der Teller (oder die Platte) - el plato - la plaque (m or f - m - f)
das Tuch - la tela - le drap (p - f - m)

So what I really like on Duolingo is that quite a lot of learning is learning by sentences which mostly include the gender noun.

September 19, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kaywhyelly

LEO is my favorite go-to for all things confusing and German-related.

September 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mel.L.11

Thanks for the LEO suggestion. As a beginner, it is so helpful to have these types of resources in addition to DuoLingo. I have bookmarked the site.

September 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David904136

Glad to help.

September 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SusanRankin1

Have a lingot! That would be a HUGE help....It seems to me that the whole of German grammar is based on cases and the way the case is expressed is dependent on the gender.

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jairapetyan

I have also posted on this need. For them, all it takes is three more keystrokes. Why not? For us learners, we have to pull down bookmarks, click links, wait, write it down...

German articles should also be on Tiny Cards!!!

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DrBrofessor

I just Googled Tiny Cards. I didn't know this was a thing! Why isn't this anywhere on the main Duolingo page?

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jairapetyan

I think they forgot about it in the latest version. They were more concerned with making the avatars and flags look "cuter."

September 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/headchop

I've never really used the 'Words' tab, precisely because it doesn't even provide basic information like gender, so I totally support your suggestion. That being said, there actually are pretty decent ways to predict gender in German (for example: https://resources.german.lsa.umich.edu/grammatik/gender/). I find knowing even a few of these rules can really help .

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OmarB.3

Very helpful, Headchop. Thank you.

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David904136

If one knows these rules, then all one need do is remember the gender of the exceptions! That's probably only a few hundred words out of a typical second-language learner's vocabulary! Kein Problem? Oder? :)

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pascal_Domin

This!!! I need to have a German dictionary with me at all times to constantly look up the articles for new words. Showing the plural forms would also be HUGELY helpful and appreciated.

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David904136

Die Band, die Bands.
Das Band, die Bänder.
Der Band, die Bände.

You couldn't make this stuff up!

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David904136

LEO shows the plurals too. :)

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David904136

In fairness, every one of these uses in English would just be "the band, the bands". One would have only context to disambiguate. While there are some other German words that change meaning based on gender, there are plenty of English homonyms (homophones?) and many lack any differentiating grammatical attributes.

September 19, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tanne101

My favorite German dictionary is www.duden.de

September 19, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ex994nSk

If you don't know the gender of a German noun, you don't know the German noun. At every opportunity, Duolingo should pair the article with a noun to help embed that gender relationship into the learner's brain.

September 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Justin449152

Came for the gender discussion, but I have to know, just what exactly is a head ass??? ;) :)

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aryan359777

Slang for stupid. It looks like someone used it with no context though

September 19, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JonHildenstein

100% agree with Zoltaneus. In German, the definite article is just as important as the noun it's connected to. Some sentences will reference previously mentioned nouns only by their article. For example: Ich nahm die Butter und den Löffel, aber die, deren Geschmack salzig war, war zu warm und der, dessen Metall grau erschien, war zu kalt. <-- this may be completely wrong, BTW, but you get me)

I can't speak for how deeply other languages go in terms of conjugation, but as they say in German: Deutsche Sprache, schwere Sprache.

September 19, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/qutax

Even though it is a really weird sentence, it is grammatically correct. :D

You can even make the gender more important by leaving out the description of the butter and the spoon:
"Ich nahm die Butter und den Löffel, aber sie war zu warm und er war zu kalt."
Still a weird sentence, but just because of the gender, every German speaking person would know that the butter was too warm and the spoon was too cold.

September 19, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OmarB.3

Great point Zoltaneus. And thank you, David904136, for suggesting the use of Leo; I use Google Translate at https://translate.google.com which tends to better support the translation of full phrases and sentences.

I would add that, in addition to including the gender in the "Word" list, DuoLingo should also include the translation, so as to not have to jump back and forth with the Dictionary.

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David904136

Don't the words show the translation when one hovers the mouse over them? No, they clearly don't. I should have checked first. One has to click the word to get a definition and examples. Tedious.

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Max.Em

I would support that.... Funny enough, the German course from Italian has the gender written next to the translation, but it's the gender of the Italian word, not of the German one. This is regularly causing confusion, as you can see in the forum of that course.

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jeff826756

I think this is a brilliant suggestion. I feel your pain on this topic as well.

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Fernanda310321

Please, i need to translate some sentences in german, if anyone can help me, can text me on my whatsapp. +55 82 9128 9119.

September 19, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jairapetyan

I'm not an expert, so I won't text you. But an excellent place to get help would be on Lang-8. You can exchange by helping someone with their English. It doesn't have to be the same person or people who helped you.

September 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jonathan477780

Here's a table of groups of words who have the same gender as each other (for the most part) which can help people learn words' genders and predict some, too.

http://languagelearningbase.com/92947/der-die-das-rules-for-articles-gender-in-german

September 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/StephenJon934399

I agree!

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LilyWatts5

ja. I believe we have the same point of view.

September 19, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ElliottMcF

YES!

September 19, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MichaelLemons

I absolutely agree with this; German is quite challenging in comparison to Spanish whose genders are easily determined by their endings.

September 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/alpha3099

Both of my dictionaries indicate gender. Paper and Kindle.

I have never really used the section here. I tried once, but it was badly broken, so I have ignored it.

September 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JenniferH724468

Absolutely agree with this.

September 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ZacharyWen10

Ja

September 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lenny4lingo

Ich stimme zu! Putting an (M), (W), (N) next to them would be great!

September 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/XineAnn

I'd like that, too. I also wish the words in the completed stories appeared in the word list, or their own separate sublist.

September 26, 2019
Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.