"The girl drinks orange juice."
Translation:Das Mädchen trinkt Orangensaft.
So, the first part - yes. All nouns ending in -chen or -lein are neuter, although that doesn't necessarily mean it's small. It can be used that way, but in many cases it's simply a term of endearment. And the second part - no. Mädel does not sound any bigger or grow up than Mädchen. It's the same. I'm pretty sure Mädel is just dialect, mainly used in Bavaria. I only very rarely use "Mädel", which is when I talk to a group of girls I know, then I sometimes refer to them as "Mädels", because "Mädchen" just doesn't really work here.
So, if -chen is small, would it follow that Mädchen is actually small woman, since a small woman is a girl?
In fact this is a characteristic of most words ending in "-chen" - they're neutral, and they have the same singular and plural forms. Other examples are: das Pfännchen (small frying pan); das Maskottchen (mascot); das Märchen (fairytale); das Päckchen (small package); and das Hähnchen (chicken).
Dutch is very like German in use of diminutives - which isn't surprising as the two languages have the same origin. In Dutch you add diminutive endings, all of which end with "-je", and that makes the word neuter. The Dutch for "girl" gets that treatment.
When I started German I had insufficient cunning to think of it, but I started on Dutch recently and this exact same plan occurred to me - to save myself from getting Dutch genders wrong, if I hadn't memorised a word's gender I'd put an "-je" on the end and make the noun neuter.
People were discouraging, though. It seems Dutch learners are very serious-minded! :-D Interestingly, someone told me I'd sound like an Afrikaans-speaker, which makes me wonder if there are any German-speaking areas where they make a lot of use of diminutives. And how would a foreigner putting lots of "-chen" and "-lein" endings sound to German-speakers. Probably "like a weirdo" indeed! LOL
(I'm going to keep this cunning plan up my sleeve just the same.)
Many of words ending by -um (Datum), -ma (Koma), -ment (Element), -o (Auto) -chen (Mädchen) are NEUTER. So you may use "DAS" for them...
In German, you can reverse sentence structure, as in that sentence. That has the exact same meaning, except for that different parts are stressed. In "Das Mädchen trinkt Orangensaft", it is emphasized what she drinks, while in "Orangensaft trinkt das Mädchen", it is stressed who does the action (das Mädchen). I do think it sounds somewhat funny though and I would not use it that way (I'm German). In many other sentences it works well.
Edit: I realized while writing the comment further down that actually the last part of the sentence is always the part that is considered more important by the speaker.
No, the passive form is very different. "Das Mädchen trinkt Orangensaft." = "The girl drinks orange juice." For "Orangensaft trinkt das Mädchen.", there is just no according sentence structure in English that is grammatically correct. The English translation would thus be the same.
Passive, however, would be "Orangensaft wird vom Mädchen getrunken."
The English sentence is "The girl drinks orange juice". It could also be "The girl drinks THE orange juice." The same applies to German. The definite article refers to a specific instance, a specific orange juice ("that one"), which was probably mentioned earlier. It depends on context, whether to use it or not.
Example: "Auf dem Tisch stehen eine Tasse Milch und ein Glas Orangensaft. Das Mädchen trinkt DEN Orangensaft." "A cup of milk and a glass of orange juice are standing on the table. The girl drinks THE orange juice."
Out of a choice of milk and juice, she chose the juice. A specific one.
Example: "Zum Frühstück trinkt das Mädchen Orangensaft." "The girl drinks orange juice for breakfast."
I just realized that in this case I did the sentence structure inversion naturally, because I want to emphasize that she has juice with breakfast, not milk or something else (I will also edit my earlier comment accordingly - the last part of the sentence is emphasized, not the first). Anyway, the point I actually wanted to make was that in this instance, there is no definite article, because it doesn't matter which orange juice, just any. Not a specific brand I want to mention, nor "the one that's in the glass".
I'm glad I could help :)
In German, as a general rule, when you want to use two nouns (other words too, sometimes) to form one meaning together, you join them together. And to make it easier to speak, about 30% of those compound words are connected by a letter or two, usually -e-, -s-, -n-, -en-, -es- and a few others. In case you're wondering, of course I don't know this by heart, I just looked it up in a book that I have here ("Das sonderbare Lexikon der deutschen Sprache" by CUS) in the hopes of finding a better reason, but it's really just that. Examples: Geburt-s-tag, Tasche-n-tuch, Jahr-es-zeit
No, I think there's no such distinction. "Fraeulein" was used as a form of address to unmarried women. "Maedchen" was used when talking about not only children but young women, and still is, I believe.
I'll annoy people by giving my political opinion on this language-learning app, but to me both "Maedchen" and "Fraeulein" are inappropriate for young women. Away from Duo's exercises I'll keep "Maedchen" for (girl) children.
It is just that I noticed some German words that pretty much explain themselves within the word, even though the word appears long.
Orangensaft = Orangen (oranges?) + saft (juice)
Right. Many German nouns can be broken down to a string of adjectives ending in a simpler noun. Orangensaft, Apfelsaft, Shokoladenkuchen (chocolate cake), for example. Even the word for "pet" is "Haustier", which you can break down to "house animal". (It's the verbs that drive me nuts, not the nouns!)
Have a look at the tips and notes for the "Basics 1" unit.
On the website https://www.duolingo.com/ , select the Basics 1 unit and then click on the lightbulb icon in the little window that pops up:
In the section "Verb conjugations", sub-section "conjugating regular verbs", it shows which ending goes with which subject.
If you're using a mobile app to learn German, you probably don't have access to the tips and notes. I would recommend switching to the website instead.
I wrote Das mädchen trinkt orangesaft. It said wrong. Can anyone tell me why?
The compound word Orangensaft has a linking -n- between the two components Orange and Saft: Orangensaft*.
(Also, the nouns Mädchen and Orangensaft have to be capitalised in German; unfortunately, Duolingo does not check this part of the spelling.)
"Das Mädchen trinkt Orangesaft" was the correct answer
No, it isn't.
"orange juice" is Orangensaft, not Orangesaft -- note the linking consonant -n- in the middle of the word.
after I put in "Das Mäschen trinkt Orangesaft".
which is also wrong -- you spelled not only Orangensaft wrong but also Mädchen.