128 Comments This discussion is locked.
is there any difference between äpfel and apfel, I mean in pronunciation?
Apfel with the tow dots on top of the 'a' is 'apples', while apfel with no dots on top of the 'a' is just one apple.
I thought the singular had umlauts too. (äpfel) if this is the distinction the lessons do not make that clear...
"the apple" (singular) is der Apfel, "the apples" (plural) is die Äpfel.
Not only is there a difference in the umlauts but also in the article.
And since it's a noun, it's always capitalised. apfel, äpfel do not exist as words.
Hello, I was wondering if you could tell me how to pronounce Äpfel and Apfel as I can't seem to get it right. Is one of the higher comments correct? Danke.
No, the umlaut does not change the length of the sound, it changes the sound itself.
Correct. It just seems longer because it is more noticeable. Especially when students say it because they have to work at it a little bit.
Can someone clarify, about the uasage of die, das and den and where they may be used!
First some background you must understand. In German there are four cases: nominative, accusative, dative and genitive. Basically, nominative is when something is the subject, the giver of the verb. Accusative is taken when something is the direct object, the receiver of the verb. Dative is the indirect object, usually the beneficiary or receiver of the direct object. Genitive is relation or possession. Das Kind gibt dem Sohn des Mannes den Apfel. Das Kind is nominative. dem Sohn is dative. des Mannes is genitive. den Apfel is accusative. By the way, that translates to: The child gives the son of the man (=the man's son) the apple.
Most verbs take accusative as an object but a couple take nominative, some dative and rarely genitive instead. Nominative: das ist sein Name (that's his name), accusative: ich kenne ihren Namen (I know her name), dative: dieses Wort gleicht deinem Namen (this word resembles your name), genitive: sie gedenkt seines Namens (she commemorates his name). Also, some prepositions always take accusative, some take dative, some take both (but not either), some take genitive. Look that up. Accusative: für einen Tag, dative: von einem Tag, either: an einen/einem Tag, genitive: innerhalb eines Tages.
Also, each noun in German takes a gender and it tends to be pretty random but there are several gender hints you can look up which say that certain noun endings tend to have or guarantee a certain gender. In general though, you just have to memorize the noun with its definite article to know its gender: der Apfel, das Haus, die Milch. One would think a tie would be masculine and a skirt would be feminine, but it's the other way around!
Here is the table:
And also for the indefinite articles (a/an):
I hope this helps! Good luck on your German journey. Don't give up!
I need a way to copy and save this. Don't see a way to do that on my Android PDA.
Typically, you can take a screenshot by holding your power and volume down buttons simultaneously for 1-2 seconds. Cheers.
You should also be able to screen shot by swiping your hand flat across the screen surface on an Android.
There's this sweet app that I found called "German Articles Grammer" in the Android market, and it has a page similar to this.
Danke TrioLinguist! Just one thing: I'm wondering why plural is listed parallel to masculine and feminine in those charts... does it mean that in German they don't distinguish genders in plural forms?
Good news: Nope!
- der Bär - die Bären
- das Bild - die Bilder
- die Kuh - die Kühe
Thank you for the explanation! This will be very helpful as the amount of words expands.
Thanks for the explanation. However, I don't see the table related to the nouns
Is the "Ä" pronounced like the "ay" in "say" or is it pronounced in a different way?
Also, in addition to @spiffwalker's comment regarding the umlaut, when it's singular, the article for apple is Der - der Apfel. When it's plural, it's die Äpfel.
How are you supposed to know how to convert a noun from singular to plural?
As in English, it is "just because". There is no logic to it. Follow this rule, except here and here and here.
I'd just like to add that while there is no rule, there are ways to make educated guesses. I would still suggest learning the plural with each noun (especially in beginner stages).
If, for whatever reason, you are unable to use umluats in the spelling, is it acceptable to spell it Aepfel? I know Duo corrects you, but I have gotten away with that sort of spelling with "ue" using online dicionaries such as Leo, and I seem to recall that as being accepted when I took German classes. Any idea?
Yes, there are several ways
1) alt+different numbers = different letters with umlauts (http://www.toytowngermany.com/lofi/index.php/t49531.html)
2) install a keyboard layout that can type letters with umlauts (Apple extended, Canadian multilingual standard, German, US international, UK extended, etc.)
3) instead of using umlauts, write ae for ä, oe for ö, ue for ü; this is an accepted way to write the letters throughout the German-speaking world
On my Mac it is alt/option + U, then type the letter that you want underneath it. You can also set up your own shortcut preferences, if you wish (at least in WORD).
I know in French, accents on capital letters are optional. Is that the case for German as well, or are they mandatory even for capital letters?
Der Apfel vs. die Äpfel. The article differs between the masculine singular and the plural. There's also an accent on the plural form and thus a pronunciation difference as well.
So you know how the apple in singular is "Der Apfel". Now that it's in plural it is "Die Äpfel". So does the der change to die whenever the noun is plural? Thanks
Hi az_p, what are the article in the other two cases, Genitive and Dative? :)
Genitive is der and dative is den.
- die Männer - die Frauen - die Kinder
- (die Hüte) der Männer - (die Hüte) der Frauen - (die Hüte) der Kinder
- (mit) den Männern - (mit) den Frauen - (mit) den Kindern
- (ich sehe) die Männer - (ich sehe) die Frauen - (ich sehe) die Kinder
How do you capitalize the Ä (I just copied from above but how can I do it for others)
On a Windows PC, do the following using the number pad on the right side of the keyboard: ALT+142=Ä These work as well: ALT+153= Ö, ALT+154= Ü, ALT+132= ä , ALT+148= ö , ALT+129= ü , ALT+225= ß.
(I don't know how this would be done on a lap top or a Mac)
On a Mac, press option+U to get the umlaut, then type a capital A as normal.
or (at least on mavericks and yosemite) simply hold the 'a' key down and a list of possible accents will pop up.
During the question press the button next to the row of special characters and it will capitalize the letters for your selection. Failing that, Start > Search/Run search for "charmap" and it will show all the characters in a single typeface for your perusal :)
Is there any reason why when translating "The apples," the rensponse "Die Aepfel" is listed as having a spelling mistake? A similar thing occurs the "The oil" -> "Das Oel." Is it another umlaut rule I'm unaware of where capitalized umlauted words aren't written like that?
Well, first of all, ä is pronounced like the e in elk.
In this case, the der becoming the plural die, and the a becoming ä makes it plural. A similar pluralisation occurs with der Ofen becoming die Öfen, der Mantel - die Mäntel, die Tochter - die Töchter.
Keep in mind that this is a pretty uncommon way to pluralise. It is mostly masculine nouns that get pluralised this way (even with masculine nouns, it's fairly rare), there are extremely few feminine nouns that do so (only two), and as far as I know, neuter nouns never form their plural that way.
Edit: I finally discovered a neuter noun of that category: das Kloster -> die Klöster.
*For some reason it won't show the letters with the dots(What are they called?) anymore
Why can't Die Apfel be just Apples in English because we can say both with or without the Definite article? So my translation can be either/or as well!
The problem is you can say a lot of things in one language that pretty well mean the same thing in another language. But on a language course you can pretty well expect to see insistence on translating the words that are given to you. Sometimes changes have to be made in a given construction because of differences in the language.
However, in this case die/the works perfectly in German and English. Duo asked you to translate two words. You chose not translate one of them. Duo has no way of knowing if that is because you don't know the word or don't understand how it is used. The computer has no way of knowing that you know the word, understand how it is used in both languages but just didn't feel like including it.
Is there anyone who can tell me how to add the accents and german letters to my keyboard? Im tired of getting things wrong cause i dont have them!
How can I tell if I should use a "e / en" ending for plural or to modify the word, like in Vater - Väter or Zug - Zeug?
Well, first of all Zeug has nothing to do with Zug, they're entirely seperate words. As for pluralization, there are many ways to pluralize and it's helpful to remember each word with its plural form (like you should be doing with its article) until you become familiar enough with the art of German pluralization that you can almost always guess the correct plural form.
Try long-pressing the A O U keys; you should get a pop-up window with accented version of those vowels.
ß is probably on S.
I just (purposely) spelled "apples" as "aplles" and it got counted as ok. SEE MY POINT? WHY....just WHY is this counted as correct/I get a pass on this spelling error, but when I spell it as "apple" and not "apples" its counted as wrong?!? This is inconsistent and wrong.
If a small typo results in something that is not an English word, it's considered a typo.
If a small typo results in something that is an English word, it's considered a mistake (because the system can't tell whether you deliberately used the wrong word -- perhaps because you misremembered what the German word means -- or whether you made a typo).
"apple" is an English word. "aplles" is not an English word.
It's consistent if you know what the rules are.
How can this be wrong? German is Äpfel. How do you figure that the correct answer is with an added "S"???? THE = 1- ONE DOESN'T SHOW A PLURAL BY ADDING AN S. GRRRRRR?
In German, "the apple" is der Apfel and "the apples" is die Äpfel -- so since the A has an umlaut here (Ä) and the article is die for plural rather than der for masculine, you know that it is several apples.
English has a few nouns where the plural is formed by changing the vowel (e.g. "one man, two men; one foot, two feet; one mouse, two mice"); German still has that to a much wider extent.
How do I write the plural of Apfel if I don't have an umlaut keyboard? Is it not Aepfel?
Aepfel should work, yes.
If you're on a mobile device, try long-pressing the A key; you might have an Ä on there.
Hey! Is someone facing SOUND Problem. I'm facing it for the last one month now. The SOUND doesn't come right. And most the time the words get cut down. I can only type after looking at the English word. I'm learning German. Do reply back. If someone is facing the SOUND PROBLEM. BTW my laptop Sound is right. As I have check with other sites. And the Sound comes clear. Its only out here I'm not been able to listen properly good. I have also check with my cookies and bugs. No bugs and no problems. Danke
English doesn't use Umlauts (the dots) to change the sound of a vowel, instead English usually just changes the vowel to suit the pronunciation: Man-Men, Woman-Women, or adds an "e" to the end of the word, but that usually changes the the meaning of the word as well as the pronunciation: Pin-Pine, Tin-Tine...
There aren't many nouns that really change their vowel sounds to indicate plurality (Foot-Feet, Mouse-Mice). English usually just ass "s" or "es" to make a noun plural. We do quite often Change the sound of Articles: This-These-Those, which is a nightmare for new English speakers...
They say die Äpfel. It is a masculine noun, but all plurals in nominative and accusative cases take die.
Because it's not.
Why isn't the plural of 'the man' in English 'the mans' ? It's an irregular plural--some words indicate plurals with a vowel change instead of a suffix. Which ones do that is just a thing you have to learn.
Natural languages, so messy. Oh Lojban, or Esperanto, when will you be THE language
I want to let you know one thing. You have to learn every single German noun's plural form. It may take -er, -e, -en -s, or nothing. Each of those might or might not take umlauts. Natural languages are beautiful, in my opinion, I'd never want THE language as Esperanto or such because it loses all the irregularities that make languages so interesting. I love just diving into all the connections in natural languages. German Stadt relates to English stead, German Zaun relates to English town, German Dorf relates to an older English word thorp. The connections you can make are endless and beautiful.
There was this Mensa guy who really did know over 150 languages fluently. He was trying to record all of the languages that were extinct or nearing extinction before he died. I don't think he succeeded though, as he started this project later in life. I forget the details, but I happened upon this on a documentary many years back. (I thought it was over 10 years ago).
Math: It is possible to keep up on 50 languages. You don't need to study them every day. You learn a small number of languages at a time and once you've learned them, just review them twice a week while you add 1 or 2 more languages to the mix. (Or more, if you're mensa.) However, it would be useful to be a reader and learn to read books quickly. You can then pick a subject and read about that subject in many different languages. Just reading a newspaper here, a journal or magazine there, and few books per week and you can keep up on several languages in week 1. Then in the 2nd week, you can write blog posts in various language - or write each paragraph in a different language. Let's say you wrote a 5 page paper with 5 paragraphs per page. That is 25 languages reviewed right there. If you think about the object you want in a different language every time, you've just reviewed those words too. Its doable, not as practical, but still where there is a will, there is a way.
However, I would agree that unless you write and think in the language, its harder to really get fluent in that language, but you can become fluent enough to read and write most things you want to read and write.
I like natural languages, but they can be annoying sometimes. I like looking at similarities. Alot. The whole alot is not a word thing, "alot" is just another step in the history of the English natural language. And if Esperanto became the "world language" (It will not, I can say that with certainty) It would eventually become just as messy. I have this list of something like 50 languages to learn in my life. None of which are conlangs like Esperanto. Also, what does "thorp" mean.
It's an archaic word for village. And you're right, if it did become international, it probably would form irregularities from speakers making mistakes. Also, what do you mean by learn 50 languages? I consider having learnt a language as around B2 as that's general conversational fluency. Conversational fluency in 50 languages would indeed take a savant. It's not learning them that's the problem, you could learn 50 in a lifetime, it's retaining them. Languages need to be practiced often, and to practice it often enough, you can't have a full-time job that doesn't involve contacting many of your languages. To practice each one for 30 minutes a day (which is pretty standard), that means you need 25 hours a day, no sleeping, no eating. You could instead to 15 minutes a day which isn't as good but it's pretty much the minimum. That way, you need 12.5 hours to work on your language each day. That fits in sleeping and eating, but you have very little time left to work, so your job would need to involve contacting several of these languages (maybe a translator job). Also, that'll be your life and you'll get exhausted from it, even though it includes lots of sociality. That's not to discourage you but it really is impossible, essentially. I hope you mean you want to play with and dip into the pools of 50 languages, that's definitely possible (as long as you're willing to forget a lot).
"Alot" is not word you ninny-hammer! http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/04/alot-is-better-than-you-at-everything.html?m=1
I will never learn ALL of those languages, probably not even half, maybe a third. There are people who can "speak" 25 or so languages, there only really fluent in about, ten of them. I want to become fluent in at least one language in every family. And I mean BIG ones (not language isolates like Basque). But I break up Indo-European into Slovak, Romance, Germanic (English is in there), Indian. If you add all those up, I have my first language English, plus 3 Indo-European, then Afro-Asiatic, Niger-Congan (that's it's name right?), Sino-Tibetan, Austronesian, Turkic, Uralic, and one Creole. which is 12. I'm not counting really tiny ones where most of the languages are slowly going extinct. Or else I would have to learn about, seventy languages. I have a large bias towards Indo-European. I know I shouldn't, also Creoles isn't really a language family, just a group of mutts, linguistically metaphorically speaking And twelve languages Is very possible. Twelve languages, studying for about 20 minutes a day (not including English, my mother tongue) so I have to study for about 3 and a half of study a day. Which is very survivable. And many people who sustain ten or twelve languages, go to places that they usually get to practice for those languages.
Also, With that reply about how Natural languages can be very stupid, I was being sarcastic about The whole Esperanto thing
Why on Earth would adding umlauts make it plural? This sort of "just because"stuff sucks. What happened to the -en or -e or -er rule?
Here is a rule, except for this one and this one and this one and this one and....
Well, nobody of us has "made" German, so we have to take the language as it is now. :-)
Easy - it was never a rule ;) There are at least five things in the sentence above that break even the basic rules of English. That's just how language works.
English has a "just because" policy with plurals, as well, but we manage to learn (most of) them.
mouse --> mice; moose --> moose; goose --> geese; knife --> knives; man --> men; child --> children; person --> people; cactus --> cacti; ox --> oxen; appendix --> appendices; millennium --> millennia (...and the list could go on!!)
Contrary to what liminal says, there is a good rule for this. The plural in nominative is die and in accusative the plural is die and in dative the plural is den and in genitive the plural is der. Die can also be found as the feminine singular in the nominative and accusative cases. In correct German, this always applies.
No. It is also the feminine gender.
Die Frau - The woman
(This is all in nominative case, this will get murky when you learn other cases)
Any rules in german have more exceptions than possible instances. Assume nothing.
Actually, compared to many languages German is pretty orderly. Unfortunately, that order is maintained by a robust structure that can be intimidating.
Die Äpfel has two things that make it plural.
The article changes from Der to Die (die being the plural mark).
The umlaut on the Ä differentiates it on paper from the singular "Der Apfel".
"umlaut on the Ä differentiates it on paper"
That's incorrect. A is like the a in father, Ä is like e in echo. Umlauts change sounds significantly and cannot be ignored. We have umlaut shifts in English: strong - strength, long - length, foot - feet, man - men. A mistake would sound like: The longth of this table is too great, it won't fit.