https://www.duolingo.com/thewiseman

German nouns and the definite article(der, die, das) Explained

Hey,

here is a new lesson explaining some rules about German nouns and the definite article.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjaiQrm2nE4

January 28, 2015

8 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/hunterakins

Nice, thanks. Helpful. Do all plural nouns use the feminine "die"? [Edit: the following part of my original comment is incorrect. JMWoodham called attention to that fact.] Just so you know, in English the word is "neutral." Neuter is a verb that means "to castrate a male pet".

January 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/PC-Duo

LOL!!! I must admit I always cringe just a bit when someone says "neuter noun" but apparently it is the correct word, even in English as I have heard German professors and my German-American friends use it too. I wish folks would switch to neutral, but I've heard it rather humorously explained as:

"When you think about it the male and female genders are the most common identities for German words, and male nouns are very common in the singular, but the Germans needed to find a genderless alternative, so they neutered a few of their male gendered nouns and made a genderless neutral noun."

And since there are always such great jokes to be made, and all the funny looks when you tell an unfamiliar person about German gender identities, it doesn't seem so bad to use a word that strikes fear into the hearts of all us menfolk.

January 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/hunterakins

Oh man, I didn't know that! I stand corrected, thank you

January 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/PC-Duo

Thank you, and no problem.

I forgot to add, yes, generally plurals use Die, but on occasion you will also use Das. I myself often have problems with these different identities, especially for inanimate objects, but one of my German friends had his mom move to the states recently, and even she, an educated woman who has lived in Germany almost her entire life, will admit to sometimes having difficulty with the genders.

It's a complex language in many respects, though simpler in many others. For an English speaker though it makes a good "gateway language" with which to start the process of learning other languages, seeing as English is technically considered in part a Germanic language, and they share many similar attributes.

January 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Abendbrot

The rules for the object's articles are like the pronunciation rules of your non-phonic language. Instead of explaining all the rules, it is much faster just to learn the articles with each single word. The articles follow the function of a word.

Vehicles are normally neuter: das Fahrrad, das Auto, das Flugzeug, das Schiff, das Boot, ...

der BMW, der Audi, der Opel -they have 4 weels die BMW -has only 2 weels

words ending on 'e' normally takes 'die'. There are also other endings like '-keit' and so on.

Learn the articles by heart.

January 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/thewiseman

"When you think about it the male and female genders are the most common identities for German words, and male nouns are very common in the singular, but the Germans needed to find a genderless alternative, so they neutered a few of their male gendered nouns and made a genderless neutral noun."

This made my day sir. Thank you for this pearl of knowledge. :D

January 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Abendbrot

Ah, you should be informed about the genders more in detail.

It leads wrong to think in feminine and masculine article genders. The Germans took these words to describe the articles 'der', 'die' and 'das' only because in many other languages the articles are described with fem., mas., and neuter.

In the past 'das' was for women and feminine things. 'Das Weib' for example. 'Der' was for men. 'Die' was only for plural words. Later on with new words from outsite, we also took the genders of the new words. From then on, we had have feminine 'die' for singular words in Germany. ('sakasiru' knows more about.)

I don't think, we searched somewhen for a neuter article for our objects. Have a look at the professions. 'Der' B├Ącker has a masculine articles, but still stands for both, men and women, who take this profession. 'Der Pilot', there it is the same. All professions e.g. teacher with no information who fulfil the work get 'der' as article. 'Wie ist der neue Lehrer?'(=How is the new teacher?) -asks for both genders. The answer could be: Die Lehrerin ist okay., because the student should know if the teacher is male or femal.

January 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/PC-Duo

Thanks for the explanation. Don't worry, my line about creating neuter nouns is just a joke I've heard a few times when someone has pointed out how funny it sounds.

The integration aspect is one most Americans are also familiar with, considering we borrow a good portion of our language from immigrants. Many of the words in our language are of a German root, as well as Gaelic, Italian, and so on, this also leads to some of the few words in our language that have Diacritics (like umlauts).

The hardest part though for most people I've met is the aspect of inanimate objects having a gender, because for most monolingual people in the states, we are used to one gender for everything except living creatures, yet in German, it seems almost everything has a gender, even down to times of day and weather. Is there a way to explain the reasons for these genders to a person with only a basic understanding?

January 30, 2015
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