"Die Männer"

Translation:The men

December 16, 2012

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https://www.duolingo.com/christian

der Mann = the mAn

die Männer = the mEn

ein Mann = a mAn

Männer = mEn

These are the Tips and Notes for this skill. There are Tips and Notes available for many skills, but at the time of writing this post, you can only access them through the web version of Duolingo on non-mobile devices (https://www.duolingo.com/). Make sure to read them all. If you don't, you will struggle to understand key grammatical concepts.

German plurals - the nominative Case

In English, making plurals out of singular nouns is typically as straightforward as adding an "s" or an "es" at the end of the word. In German, the transformation is more complex, and also the articles for each gender change. The following five suggestions can help:

  1. -e ending: most German one-syllable nouns will need -e in their plural form. For example, in the nominative case, "das Brot" (the bread) becomes "die Brote," and "das Spiel" (the game) becomes "die Spiele."
  2. -er ending: most masculine or neuter nouns will need the -er ending, and there may be umlaut changes. For example, in the nominative case "das Kind" (the child) becomes "die Kinder," and "der Mann" (the man) becomes "die Männer."
  3. -n/-en ending: most feminine nouns will take either -n or -en in all four grammatical cases, with no umlaut changes. For example, "die Frau" (the woman) becomes "die Frauen" and "die Kartoffel" becomes "die Kartoffeln."
  4. -s ending: most foreign-origin nouns will take the -s ending for the plural, usually with no umlaut changes. For example: "der Chef" (the boss) becomes "die Chefs."
  5. There is no change for most neuter or masculine nouns that contain any of these in the singular: -chen, -lein, -el, or -er. There may be umlaut changes. For example: "das Mädchen" (the girl) becomes "die Mädchen," and "die Mutter" (the mother) becomes "die Mütter."

Regardless of grammatical gender, all plural nouns take the definite article "die" (in the nominative case). This does not make them feminine. The grammatical gender of a word never changes. Like many other words, "die" is simply used for multiple purposes.

Just like in English, there's no plural indefinite article.

ein Mann = a man

Männer = men

German feminine plurals - nouns ending in -in

Feminine nouns that end in "-in" will need "-nen" in the plural. For example, "die Köchin" (the female cook) becomes "die Köchinnen" in its plural form.

ihr vs er

If you're new to German, ihr and er may sound exactly same, but there is actually a difference. ihr sounds similar to the English word ear, and er sounds similar to the English word air (imagine a British/RP accent).

Don't worry if you can't pick up on the difference at first. You may need some more listening practice before you can tell them apart. Also, try using headphones instead of speakers.

Even if this doesn't seem to help, knowing your conjugation tables will greatly reduce the amount of ambiguity.

You are can refer to one or more people

In your own dialect, you might prefer to use something like y'all or you guys when addressing more than one person, but remember that, in Standard English, you are can refer to one person or multiple people. When translating you are into German, you need to decide whether to use du bist (informal, addressing one person) or ihr seid (informal, addressing more than one person).

(There's also the formal you (Sie sind), which will be introduced later in the course.)

What are ä, ö, and ü?

These vowels with two dots on top of them are called umlauts. They're always pronounced differently from their non-umlauted counterparts. It's a bad idea to ignore them because they not only sound different, but often also cause words to take on completely different meanings.

How to type ä, ö, and ü on a touch device

In order to type "ä" on a touch device, press and hold "a" and select "ä", to type "ö", press and hold "o" and select "ö", to type "ü", press and hold "u" and select "ü". If this doesn't work, go to your keyboard settings on your device and enable the German keyboard.

Alternative keyboards (for Android) that allow you to use multiple languages at the same time (including word prediction):

SwiftKey

Swype

What is this ß thing?

"ß" ("Eszett" or "scharfes S") is a ligature which represents the same sound as "ss". "ß" is used after long vowels and diphthongs (ai/eu/au/äu), and "ss" is used after short vowels. "ß" is not a "B" or "β" (beta)!

More info

How to type ß

In order to type the "ß" character on a touch device, press and hold the "s" key and select "ß". If this doesn't work, go to your keyboard settings on your device and enable the German keyboard.

Alternative keyboards (for Android) that allow you to use multiple languages at the same time (including word prediction):

SwiftKey

Swype

January 26, 2017
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