1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. "Das Mädchen hat ein Hähnchen…

"Das Mädchen hat ein Hähnchen."

Translation:The girl has a chicken.

June 16, 2013



In German "haben" rather means "have as a pet" than "have to eat". But if the girl sits at the table with you and someone asks "Was isst das Mädchen?" ("What does the girl eat?") you could answer "Das Mädchen hat ein Hähnchen."


cool thanks! I guess I will just have to see the context.


ya its okay, you'll get it next time jim.


It's all about dat context yo!


Perhaps she has chicken as a pet ):


But it is not '' the girl ate a chicken" it is "the girl has a pet chicken


What are you having for dinner? I'm having chicken.


On the other hand:
Hans: What does she have on that platter?
Erich: She has a chicken.
Using "have" in the context of food might not mean "eat".


Like fehrerdef already explained, this construction (using "to have" to mean "eating") is not existing in the German language.


Makes sense to me as this rule of context seems to work in both English and German. I interpereted this sentence like the girl raises the chicken on a farm.


Indeed a possible interpretation.


can that also be rephrased as was ist das madchen essen/esst/whatever fits here?


Nope, sorry. In german, sein is almost never used as an auxillary verb as you've done here. You could say Was isst das Mädchen? where isst (not esst) is the conjugated version of to eat for er/sie/es


Only problem I had was that this word seemed to come out of the blue, that is, it had not been introduced earlier. Probably an artifact of doulingo program but confusing nonetheless.


Yeah same thing happened to me


Isn't "Mädchen" = "Maedchen"?


Yes, it is. But Germans use "ae" (or "oe" and "ue") usually only if the special characters ä, ö, or ü are not available (like for an email adress).


Or in surnames sometimes. A lot of Americans have names like that, such as John Böhner or Amy Pöhler.


Can this mean both 'The girl has a chicken to eat.' and 'The girl has a chicken as a pet.'?


I'm not a native speaker but I'm pretty sure that a chicken as an animal is called das Huhn or der Hahn and as a food is called das Hähnchen.


i think Haenchen actually refers specifically to roast chicken-if it were prepared a different way it would not use Haenchen nor would you refer usually to a pet that way unless you were going for the rhyme!


The context would have to define that. The sentence only says she got it. If it is still alive or already cooked - noone knows :)


But does the "ein" imply she has a whole chicken? If I said in English "She has a chicken on her plate", it would imply that (actually it would be a pretty unusual thing to say).


No. If someone uses 'Hähnchen', that is only to be used as a food. The pet form is 'der Hahn', or if it is indeterminate (not a rooster or a hen), das Huhn.


It would be very unusual for an English speaker to say "She has a chicken," if referring to a food.


you might say "she is having chicken"


You would say "she has a chicken" if she had a whole cooked chicken in front of her. I mean my mum has said to me before "We're having a chicken tonight" meaning a whole chicken for between us all. It depends on the amount of chicken. Or maybe its a northern thing? I know some phrases here in the north of England aren't really used down south, such as the "Big light" in the living room, "Big coat" for a winter coat, and "The Asda" instead of just Asda, though the later might just be a Scouse thing.


If a girl is standing there holding a cooked chicken on a platter, she has a chicken. It seems perfectly ok to me.


This is true. Could this sentence leave out the "a" and be translated as "She has chicken"?


Think of English where we have: Cow- live animal, Beef- dead cow on plate. Pig- life animal, pork-dead pig on plate. Hahn-live chicken, Hahnchen- dead chicken on plate. (Forgive the lack of umlauts but UK computers don't seem to be able to generate them on the internet unless the website puts them there as an option.)

Unless the girl having a live chicken at the table is a sadistic joke, I think they've got the context very wrong considering the subject is food.


Not exactly. "Hähnchen" could be a "dead chicken on a plate" of any gender. But it could as well be a "small male live chicken".


She could also "have" a cooked chicken, in the sense that it is sitting on her plate.


Nobody knows! Duolingo incepted the thought and I got a chicken as a pet.


Chickens love to be pet. And they're very social animals. Just watch out for their beaks!


comments are very useful


This is so hard to pronounce!!!


What is the difference between Hähnchen und "Huhnchenfleisch" as Memrise teaches us? Or is memrise wrong, and the correct form of the latter would be "Hähnchenfleisch"?


Hähnchen and Hühnchen are the same. And Hähnchenfleisch, Hühnchenfleisch and Hühnerfleisch are also the same, but less used. Doesn't matter which word you use, Germans will understand you.


I disagree with the statement "they are the same".

Hähnchen is the "cute/small" form (because of the -chen) of the word Hahn which means rooster (male) and Hühnchen is the "cute/small" form of the word Huhn meaning female chicken.


Grammatically this is definitely true. However, in everyday life the two terms usually are used as synonyms, because most of the time nobody cares about the gender of a chicken he/she eats.


Yes that may be true, but I want to help beginners with the language and if they learn "they are the same" and later talk about animals, they will get confused if they learn them as synonyms. ;)


That's why I only added to your comment and didn't contradict it.
There are situations (e.g. when talking about the treatment of male chicken in food industry) where the words are used exactly like they are defined.
But in an everyday context, they can be treated as synonyms.
It's good that a learner is aware of these things.


I am wondering the same @justinpease


is "das Hahnchen" a living chicken? Or is that something we would find on a plate? This sentence is pretty weird...


It is "das Hähnchen" (note the Umlaut). And it could be both, a living male chicken, or a chicken of any gender on your plate.


What would a living female chicken be then?


"ein Hühnchen"


She has been served an entire, cooked fowl (possibly a capon) of the small Cornish variety.


Why the "h" isnt pronounced in Hähnchen?


The first "h" indicates that the ä is to be pronounced long, the second that it is pronounced rather like a "sh" in English. Basically, "h"s that are not at the beginning of the word aren't pronounced.


It is pronounced, but very softly... like saying anchen while exhaling. If that makes sense. Hopefully I helped.


So, apparently, "das Huhn" means chicken (the alive animal) and "das Hähnchen" means chicken as food? Did I get it correctly?


Ok so Mädchen being neutral, should it be replaced by the "Es" pronoun instead of the "Sie" pronoun? If not is it the exception? If yes isn't it a bit odd?


Interesting question. Flagging this hoping that someone will respond so I can get the answer too ;D


Actually just got the sentence 'Es ist ein Mädchen' (is that the right article?). I'm wondering if this suggests it's "Es"


"Es ist ein Mädchen" = "It is a girl". And "Sie ist ein Mädchen" = "She is a girl".


Okay, so some googling has led me to understand that "Hahnchen" is an uncountable word when refering to chicken that you eat, and should only be preceded by an article if it's refering to the dimunitive form of "Hahn". So this sentence should translate to "The girl has a chick"?


how would you say "the girl had a chicken"


Das Mädchen hatte ein Hähnchen.


Does this mean "the girl ate a chicken?" or kept it as a pet?


Hähnchen is the common word for the food and Huhn or Hühnchen is the common word for the pet


You can use Hähnchen and Hühnchen for food it is just a matter of personal preference or maybe regional habit.

Huhn and Hahn I would see as (still) living chickens.


Ohhhh, I was wondering why it was Hähnchen and not Huhn. Thanks!!


Thanks for the help!!!


I don't think it can mean "the girl ate a chicken", because, as far as I know, German doesn't use "haben" the way English uses "have" to mean "eat".


exactly. You are so right.


Or, potentially, „Das Mädchen hat ein Hähnchen gehabt“


Chicken as meat could be countable?


Not if it's part of a greater/ composite meal (as in a soup), but you could say "zwei Hühnchen". The singular form is the same as the plural here.


Could I say ''Das Mädchen isst ein Hähnchen''?


How would you translate "The girls have a chicken"?


As in they have a chicken as a pet? Likely:

Die Mädchen haben ein Huhn. or Die Mädchen besitzen ein Huhn.

Notice how the article with Mädchen is now the plural, nominative, definite article die instead of the neutral, nominative, definite article das and that the verb has now become the plural present conjugation haben instead of the singular hat.

Most German words (like in English) are spelled and pronounced differently in their plural forms but it just so happens that words like Mädchen are the same in both forms.


Danke. I got this one wrong because I though it was 'girls' not girl'.


How do you highlight text??


By placing (a backward single quote) before and after the text.


Why is this singular "girl" and not plural "girls"?


Because the pronoun is "das," which is neuter singular. Plural "girls" would be "die Mädchen."


Hmm. I'm now officially a german poet!


The Duo tips define "Hähnchen" as referring to a chicken dish. Therefore, it seems the translation of "The girl has a chicken" should be "Das Mädchen hat ein Huhn" or "Das Mädchen hat einen Hahn".


it's true because it rhymes


I agree with the previous comments that Duo seems to have ïgnored. It is wrong in English to say "I am eating a chicken" unless you actually are eating a whole one. When having a chicken meal you say "I am having chicken". There is no article unless you are telling you server "I will have the roast chicken". Duo needs to correct this mistranslation.


The German sentence does not talk about eating anything at all. It's about having a chicken in the sense of possessing it. German "haben" cannot mean "eat" like the English "have".
So you can only translate it by "The girl has a chicken", not "is having".


Ok. I looked at the clues for food before beginning this lesson. It said whenever you use Hahnchen, it is referring to food. So the translation "The girl has a chicken" is incorrect according to that. If so, the sentence might translate as "The girl is having chicken" or mayben even "The girl is having the chicken"...if talking to a waiter. Your thoughts?


In German you don't use the word "haben" for describing that you eat something. "Das Mädchen hat ein Hähnchen" can only mean possession of the chicken. And althiugh it is true that "Hähnchen" is mostly used for describing chicken as food, it can also be used to describe a small or young (male) living chicken.
So the sentence is ambiguous in that it is not clear whether you talk about a living chicken or about food. But It can not mean "The girl is having chicken".


What does the "chen" on the words mean? Can we understand new words with it? The same with "lich"


When you attach the syllable "-chen" to a noun, you express that you are talking about a small version of the concept denoted by that noun. This is called a diminutive ending. "chen" alone does not have a meaning. Sometimes you have to change the original vowel of the noun to an Umlaut.
E.g. a "Bäumchen" is a small tree ("Baum" = "tree"), a "Häuschen" is a small house ("Haus" = "house"), a "Hähnchen" is literally a small cock ("Hahn" = "cock"; but "Hähnchen" can be used for both genders, i.e. "chicken"). The word "Mädchen" for girl originates from attaching "-chen" to "Maid", a word that meant "young woman", which is not used anymore in modern language.

The syllable "-lich"doesn't have a meaning of its own, too. It is used form adjectives from nouns or other adjectives, very much like "-y" or "-ly" is in English.
E.g. "schrecklich" ("terrible") is constructed by attaching "-lich" to the word "Schreck" ("shock", "scare").


Where does the sound of T in Hähnchen comes from? As I heard 'heatchen' from the voice, am I right?


It doesn't have a T sound. The "ch" sound in German can be either /x/ or /C/ in the X-SAMPA system, but neither sound is in English. The ch in Haenchen is pronounced /C/.


ch is pronounced tch


Strange, but I realized this just now. It requires a lot of attention not to pronounce the "d/t" before the "ch" sound.

But you are right, in a conversation it's impossible to distinguish between "Mündchen" and "München", if it wasn't for context.


Don't know why, but now I have this song in my head. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0IcKQyqxY4 "Weil ich ein Mädchen bin"


why we use "ein Hühnchen " instead of "eine Hühnchen" As we consider the chicken is feminine !!!???


Who considers the chicken, or chick, is feminine? It's not a hen.

-chen in German means something small (think -let in piglet, or -ling in duckling) and it always causes the noun to be neuter.

  • "das Hähnchen" (neuter; 'chicken')
  • "das Hühnchen" (neuter; 'chicken')
  • "das Huhn" (neuter; 'chicken')
  • "die Henne" (feminine; 'hen')
  • "der Hahn" (masculine; 'rooster')

Every 'belittled' (=diminutive) noun with the endings "-chen" or "-lein" is neuter, always.


This is good to know, thanks!


But das Hähnchen is also a form of rooster.


A cockerel, in fact.


Not all word genres correspond to the actual genre of the being in German. It's like "das Mädchen" (the girl).


Why doesn't it accept Huhn instead of Hähnchen


why isn't this "die maedchen" instead of "das"?


In German, certain noun suffixes take certain genders, and -chen is a suffix that denotes the neuter gender (das). This is why we have das Mädchen and das Hähnchen.

Here is a chart with some of these suffixes, hope it helps. http://deutschdrang.com/dir/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/suffixes.png


When i checked the dictionary, it said Hänhchen means cockerel, so i chose cockerel, but i was wrong! Why?!


Cockerel is a term for a young rooster, but it is rarely heard outside of chicken-farming. Probably it just didn't occur to the programmers to put the more obscure meaning on the list.

Edited for clarity


No, it is not uncommon in German. "Hähnchen" and "Hühnchen" can be used to denite chicken of any gender as food, but they are also used in their original meaning of live "male chicken" and "female chicken".


Why 'the girl is having a chicken' wrong? Having as in eating?


Because German doesn't use "haben" in that way. It can't mean "eating" as "having" can in English.


How do you pronounce the "ä" character? It sounds like there is an "i" being added after the syllable containing "ä". Thanks! :)


Can we say Huhn instead of Hähnchen, because both words mean chicken, and the first one is easier to pronaunce? Which is more common? :)


So basically 'The chick has a chicken'


is this chichen roasting?, alive?, or BBQd?? O.o


[deactivated user]

    Is Hähnchen the food or the animal or both?


    There are many words in German to which a "-lein" or "-chen" is attached.

    You can even attach it yourself to other words to create new ones or to names.

    This 'belittles' the word. So if there is a little girl called "Marie" someone might call her "Mariechen" because he wants to emphasize how cute she is or just thinks of her being cute in this particular moment.

    The common word 'bisschen' is kind of a diminutive too. "Biss" can be compared with "bit(e)" here. That's why "ein bisschen" translates to "a little bit".

    "Ein Hündchen" which consists of "ein Hund" + "-chen" is an expression for a small and cute dog.

    "Ein Knöpfchen" consisting of "Knopf" and "-chen" denotes a small button. And so on...

    So literally "Hähnchen" is a small "Hahn" (a rooster).

    In everyday use we Germans only use it for the food or mockingly to imply that a rooster could soon be processed into food... (which is not particularly tactful when told to a child who perceives the cock as a pet rather than a source of food.)

    (Nearly) every chicken-based food would be translated to "Hähnchen-" something.

    • "a chicken leg" translates to "eine Hähnchenkeule"
    • "a chicken wing" = "ein Hähnchenflügel"
    • "a chicken nugget" = "ein Hähnchennugget"


    Heidi, a modern version


    Is this girl named Moana?


    Das Mädchen hat ein Hähnchen und zwei eichhörnchen --- That's a real tongue twister!


    Duo got the bars


    The girl has a... what now? Anyone thinking what im thinking?


    Apparently not.


    Wirklich poetich.


    Wirklich poetisch. ;)


    Easy to remember as it rhymes!


    I translated this as The girl has a rooster, but it says it has to be chicken. Is that right?


    "Hähnchen" is a diminutive. "rooster" would be "Hahn".


    I was told that Hähnchen only refers to the chicken that we eat, rather than the live chicken. Since German does not use "have" in the context of having a meal, isn't this sentence a bit weird?


    Hans: "What does she have on her plate?"
    Erich: "She has a chicken".



    "Hähnchen" could well be a young male live chicken.


    Why das Mädchen not die


    Because the word "Mädchen" is neuter. We don't talk about natural gender, but about grammatical gender. This is a category attached to every noun and which doesn't have to match some natural gender.
    In fact you can even tell it is neuter because every noun ending in "-chen" is. It is a diminutive ending (denoting things that are small).


    "It's a trap!" ~Admiral Ackbar


    I was all flashing back to year 8 German (a loooong time ago) wondering why it wasn't "Geflügel". Not cool Miss Wright. That's Poultry, not chicken. I remember. You taught us wrong.


    I'm not completely sure what you wand to say, but both word pairs have their right of existence. Both "chicken" and "Hähnchen" (or "Hühnchen") are countable, whereas you can describe the "substance" they consist of by using the uncountable mass term "Geflügel" = "poultry" (or "fowl").

    So you can say "I eat two/three/four chickens" - "Ich esse zwei/drei/vier Hähnchen" and you can say "I eat poulty" - "Ich esse Geflügel" (without any artickle or number).
    You can however, use "Hähnchen" as a mass term as well (then meaning "poultry). But then you don't use any article either.
    Because the plural of "Hähnchen" is "Hähnchen", too,"Ich esse Hähnchen" is in fact ambiguous. It can mean "I eat poultry" (singular "Hähnchen without an article) or "I eat chickens" (plural "Hähnchen").


    This particular question has no connection with Dative Case that I am currently learning, isn't it?


    Nope, no dative here.


    A Cornish Hen is a small chicken breed, and a serving portion is one bird.
    My young granddaughter watched a program about ostriches, then misheard a Beatle's lyric as "she's got a chicken to ride." Large or small, this is an interesting discussion!

    Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.