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Cases can be a quite complicated concept in German. Here a very rough explanation. Nominative case (often called 1st case) means that the noun is the subject which is doing the thing the verb describes.
E.g.: Der Hund beißt den Mann (The dog bites the man). The dog is the subject, because it is the one who bites. The man is the object.
Nominativ is the "standard" case meaning that the nouns have "der, die or das" as an article.