DIE or DER or DAS?!?!

I find that masculine, feminine, or neuter nouns are so confusing… For example, die mädchen (understandable), then there is DAS mädchen (HUH?!?). I mean it is so hard for me to tell what is supposed to be feminine, or what is supposed to be neuter… does a neuter girl exist?

Any German Grammatik people can help me?

Is there any good resources on German grammar? I have been bitten by the umlaut monster a few times… it hurts.

I’m certainly no grammar expert, but perhaps I can help you with a few examples regarding articles.

Das Mädchen -> Singular
Die Mädchen -> Plural

Das Kissen -> Singular
Die Kissen -> Plural

Der Mann -> Singular
Die Männer -> Plural

Der Baum -> Singular
Die Bäume -> Plural

Das Haus -> Singular
Die Häuser -> Plural

That might give you a little clue on when to use which article, but I wouldn’t be able to explain the rule.
It’s more like something you learn additionally to the noun.

But as you can see, “die” is always used for plurals, and “der” as well as “das” are used for singulars only, unless in situations like “die Bücher der Frauen”. There you have “die Bücher”, which is plural (that’s why “die”) and “der Frauen”, which is also plural but with “der”. There’s a grammatical term for that one, don’t ask me about it though.

It’s a matter of feeling when and what to use, at least it is for me.

Don’t think about the actual gender of the object referred to by the noun. Mädchen is neuter (das) because of the -chen ending, not because the object referred to (in this case, “girl”) is considered a non-gendered thing. The only time you will see “die Mädchen” is when it’s plural - “the girls” - and nominative plural is always “die”, regardless of the gender of the noun. Bitsnbytes’ example of der Frauen is in the genitive case, which you can worry about later. In the nominative, which is the case you learn first, it’s “die Frauen”.

There are some handy rules of thumb which can help you with remembering genders in German: for example, almost every noun ending in -ung is feminine (der Sprung is the only counterexample I can think of). Other endings also often indicate feminine gender, including -tät, -ik, and -in (though the last two have a number of exceptions). Nouns ending in -er, by contrast, are most often masculine.

Thanks for these tips. Is there any online grammar exercise that I can do to practice?

time to kick the Ümlaut monster back to the dark hole it came from…

It’s more about sound than about gender - similar to “a” or “an” in English (“a fox”/“an elephant”). Unfortunately there is no easy rule like in English, but you can make a guess depending on the ending of the word.

Here are some hints: http://deutsch.lingo4u.de/grammatik/nomen/genus there are many exceptions, though.

As a native speaker of German I am always surprised to learn that there are actually rules (or at least hints) for stuff like that. I just never thought of that, because learning all genders is so long ago…

Great link, thanks!

Ah, so! :bow:

Actually, I met mein Mädchen in Thailand… he/she was a neuter… was weird.

Hey, don’t blame Ze Germans for that! I heard it’s pretty common in Thailand that if you meet a Mädchen you at first are not sure if it’s a he or she :wink:

Hey, don’t blame Ze Germans for that! I heard it’s pretty common in Thailand that if you meet a Mädchen you at first are not sure if it’s a he or she :wink:[/quote]

[color=#FFFF00]“Nulla importa davvero, l’’amore è tutto ciò di cui abbiamo bisogno.[/color]
[color=#8000FF]Tutto quello che ti do, mi viene reso completamente”[/color]
[[color=#000000]Madonna[/color], [color=#008080]Nothing Really Matters[/color], [color=#0040FF]Ray Of Light 1998[/color]]


Aren’t German girls mostly masculine?

Maybe even crotch-grabbing!

That’s why people who live in Thailand need two tongues.

Nonononono, you got that wrong again: Many German masculines* are Girls! Not in the way that you think of when thinking Thailand or even Taiwan, but yeah… Mädchen :stuck_out_tongue:

  • Yes I had to look up if that is correct english: According to Merriam, “a masculine” can be “a male person”. So “masculines” should indeed be “guys”. Sounds weird to me, too, though. Well… Englische Sprache, schwere Sprache…

I thought German girls are masculine in the sense that they dominate stuff… like they come to you in leather outfits with whips and stuff…

Isn’t that more of an English thing? Well… At least in Germany some would call that “Kinky English Stuff”… Of course, at the same time the Englishmen are calling the Germans kinky. It’s a funny world:

[quote=“ORF Science: Der Sex der Sprachen”]
Deutsche machen’s englisch, die Englischen deutsch

Ein Beispiel: Unter der Sexualpraktik “deutsch” lassen sich im deutschen Sprachraum zwei Dinge verstehen - der ganz normale Sex vulgo “Missionarsstellung”, aber auch sadomasochistische Praktiken. Im englischen Sprachraum wird unter “German” nur die letztere Bedeutung verstanden. Umgekehrt bedeutet “englischer” Sex im Deutschen ebenfalls SM-Sex.

Üblicherweise gilt: In einer Sprache wird eine Sexualpraktik nicht nach der gleichnamigen Sprache benannt (Ausnahme die “deutsche” Missionarsstellung). Bei der Beschreibung des Geschlechtsverkehrs lässt man sich lieber jenseits der Grenzen inspirieren.[/quote]

Come to think of it, I know of more submissive German girls than dominant ones… and of more dominant Asians than submissive… maybe that stereotype is not so true either? :ponder:

But to stay on topic:

[quote=“Mark Twain: The Awful German Language”]In the German it is true that by some oversight of the inventor of the language, a Woman is a female; but a Wife (Weib) is not – which is unfortunate. A Wife, here, has no sex; she is neuter; so, according to the grammar, a fish is he, his scales are she, but a fishwife is neither. To describe a wife as sexless may be called under-description; that is bad enough, but over-description is surely worse. A German speaks of an Englishman as the Engländer; to change the sex, he adds “in”, and that stands for Englishwoman – Engländerin. That seems descriptive enough, but still it is not exact enough for a German; so he precedes the word with that article which indicates that the creature to follow is feminine, and writes it down thus: “die Engländerin,” – which means “the she-Englishwoman.” I consider that that person is over-described.

Well, after the student has learned the sex of a great number of nouns, he is still in a difficulty, because he finds it impossible to persuade his tongue to refer to things as “he” and “she,” and “him” and “her,” which it has been always accustomed to refer to it as “it.” When he even frames a German sentence in his mind, with the hims and hers in the right places, and then works up his courage to the utterance-point, it is no use – the moment he begins to speak his tongue flies the track and all those labored males and females come out as “its.”[/quote]