1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Duolingo
  4. >
  5. Request: Show genders when pe…


Request: Show genders when peeking English -> German words

When doing German lessons, and being asked to translate a sentence from German to English, the gender is shown at the bottom of the popup when peeking a German word. This is great.

However I need the gender the most when I write German, and when peeking an English word that I'm asked to write in German, the gender isn't available anywhere!

My best solution to this right now is to open dict.leo.org in a separate tab and lookup the word, not ideal. It would be nice if the peek popup would show "der Apfel" instead of just "Apfel".

August 24, 2013



Heartily agree (and of course likewise for other gendered languages). I have been meaning to suggest this for a while -- glad you got around to it before I did!

Also, I think the method you suggest (showing "der Apfel") is preferable to the current one used for German-to-English pop-ups (showing "Gender: m" at the bottom of the pop-up). Seeing "der Apfel" as one unit makes it easier for me to remember the gender.


Just venting, and you can call me ignorant if you like, but noun gender is one thing that I wish would just go away and leave me alone. No amount of evidence could convince me that this difficult to learn feature of almost every Indo-European language actually serves a purpose that is proportionally useful compared to the amount of effort it takes me and every other English speaker to get it right.

God bless the Dutch for setting an example and ridding themselves of it :)


Well, for a start, we could at least try to agree upon which gender a certain thing should be... It's always fun to see how sometimes a noun has one gender in my native language, has a different one in German, and the third one in French :P.

And yes, I support the main idea of this topic, because it would be easier to memorise genders if they were always written together with nouns.

By the way, I would think cases would bother a native English speaker more than mere genders?


You would think so, but actually it is the complete opposite, and I will be happy to say why. See cases actually have a grammatical purpose that I can frame in my head, and even though they are still difficult, I can at least grasp them. They simply express a meaning that also exists in English, but in an alternative way. My brain only starts to bleed when I try to read linguistic descriptions of the different cases. Nominative? Accusative? Ablative? Hello, my name is Laurie, I work in a cafe. In what theoretical parrallel world do you expect me to understand those words :)?

On the other hand, noun genders, that is like memorising the random order of a dozen packs of cards and being heftily penalised for getting it wrong. That memorisation is something that every human is potentially cabable of, but I can't get past the 'why is this important' mental block in my head. I still try my best, but I just... can't... I mean... I cite it as the primary reason most English speakers don't enjoy learning foreign languages. I think the inherent psychology of English as a language is just too minimalist to accept it :)

Now Chinese is a language with nice grammar. You won't see seven words for 'the' in Chinese. In fact the thing gets thrown out altogether :)


Why thank you for your elaborate response, it has given me a bit of an insight :). I agree that cases have a lot more meaning than genders, I just thought the concept behind them would be harder to grasp. It is also true that cases follow a certain pattern and you can approach them with logic, while genders just have to be remembered, which makes them annoying sometimes, so I guess I understand where you're coming from. Those linguistic descriptions you mentioned actually do make sense in my opinion, but then again, I don't think they help much when someone tries to learn a language and speak it fluently.

I don't know much about Chinese, to be honest. As for the articles part, you don't have to go that much east to get rid of them. My native language is Slovene, I live in Slovenia, just south of Austria and east of Italy, and we don't have any articles - as a matter of fact, I don't think any Slavic language does :). We do have words for "this" and "that" and an equivalent of German "ein", but the latter is used only when you want to emphasize that there is exactly one object. Usually, nouns are just stand-alone things, and the correct use of definite and indefinite articles was actually quite hard for me when I learned English as a child :).


I think it goes to show some things exist in most languages out of habit. What you found strange in English, we would probably find a little strange when it is not used. The same probably goes for me and my German. The message is still delivered, but the delivery is quite different :)


YES!!! I haven't been on duolingo for that long but that is the only issue I have so far with learning German. I always forget what is supposed to go before the noun because of this. I have missed so many questions just because I can't remember if "Milch" or "Apfel" or "Brot" or what ever else is male or female. Other than that thank you Duolingo for being awesome!


Just remember that the article is a part of the word itself. It isn't Milch, Apfel or Brot, it is Diemilch, Derapfel, and Dasbrot. Makes it seem a bit odd, that everything in Germany begins with D. But then, it's Deutschland!

Yeah it doesn't help me any either, but you get the hang of it.


Well that's a good way to think about it. I think I can do that. At what point do you think I am ready to start translating the documents? I really think that will help me keep this stuff in my head.


That's somethine you can only gauge yourself - if you start understanding the written text easily, you are ready to translate. German is actually closely related to English, but it's much more complex, so don't beat yourself up if it takes a long time to get the hang of it. I would just read it for the sake of it, Der Spiegel (http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/) often has a lot of interesting articles, which is ironic because its namesake in the UK, 'The Mirror', is totally full of shit; also Deutsche Welle has lots news and features in slowly spoken German (look for langsam gesprochene nachrichten): http://www.dw.de/deutsch-lernen/s-2055


Well I don't think I am ready at all yet. I am still in the basics so all I can really say and ready is what gender I am and that I am eating bread, haha. but I will bookmark those pages and check them out when I have gotten a little farther. Thank you for your advice!


Yes, showing the gender for French would be nice too. It usually (always?) is shown when a noun is first introduced with the little "new word" dropdown, but thereafter MASCULINE or FEMININE does not show up in the "you peeked" help. And, besides, quite often a word must be used before it is "introduced." . . . But this is just a quibble. And who knows? Maybe I remember the gender of nouns better w/o such help.

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