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Hallo Welt. My search history My favourites. Javascript has been deactivated in your browser. Reactivation will enable you to use the vocabulary trainer and any other programs. Send us feedback. Are you missing a word, phrase or translation? Submit a new entry. Compile a new entry. In this, his most important text, the independence hero drafts a magnificent panorama of America from the USA to Argentina and Chile. The brilliant analysis begins with an appraisal of the freedom movements between and and the reasons that had motivated the "American Spanish" to seek independence.

April , wurde Hermann Lang geboren. Three fas - cinating research cars — the Auto , the C and the F Hygenius — show how Mercedes-Benz shapes the automotive future Tour de Franz kilometers of driving pleasure over sixteen magnificent Alpine passes — this is the celebrated Route des Grandes Alpes, which leads from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean. After passing through the magnificent central nave, and continuing past the transepts, the pilgrim arrives in the apse and sees before him an enormous bronze throne that seems to hover in mid air, but in reality is supported by the four statues of great Fathers of the Church from East and West.

And above the throne, surrounded by triumphant angels suspended in the air, the glory of the Holy Spirit shines through the oval window. Speaking of beautiful, I believe, I have now seen Mary in the face the whole evening, left as my view of her magnificent outfits. The main attraction in the neo-Classical building by Alfred Messel and Ludwig Hoffmann is the magnificent Pergamon Altar 2nd century BC with its impressive figure frieze displaying the battle between giants and gods. This masterpiece of Hellenism was discovered between and in Pergamon on Turkey's west coast and brought to Berlin.

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Practice making the umlauted vowel sounds, just as you would any new sound. By now you should be able to make the correct sounds of vowels in German. What good is Astaire without Rogers; Penn without Teller; hamburgers without catsup, lettuce, a tomato slice, and a pickle? The good news is, the sounds of German consonants are not going to be as unfamiliar as many of the sounds you tried in the previous chapter. German consonants are either pronounced like their English counterparts or are pronounced like other consonants in English.

In either case, it should be pronounced like an s. And it gets. Consonants All the letters in the alphabet other than a, e, i, o, and u. Consonants are best described as involving some obstruction of the air stream, whereas vowels do not have any sort of obstruction. In August , Germany decided to implement a spelling reform. Regarding when to spell with the es-tset and when to use a double s, the es-tset is used after long vowels a concept introduced in the last chapter.

Before you start stuttering out consonants, we should probably tell you a little about how this section works. The consonants in the following tables are not given in alphabetical order. They are grouped according to pronunciation type. For each letter, we provide English examples of how German consonants are pronounced along with the symbols used throughout this book to represent the sounds. Keep in mind that the symbols consonants or combinations of consonants, lowercase or uppercase are not the standard ones used in the dictionary.

When you see these letters, just go ahead and pronounce them the way you do in English words. German Letter s. They are called plosives because of they way their sounds are articulated: with small explosions of air. At the beginning of a word. Utter a b sound with a hand on your throat where your vocal box is. You should feel vibrations. Its counter sound articulated at exactly the same place in the mouth, in exactly the same way, but not involving the vocal cords is a p. Whisper, and you will not feel the vibrations in your vocal cords.

This sound is heard in German at the end of a word yet is orthographically spelling-wise represented with a b. The English L is dark, formed with the tongue more relaxed. The German L—light, nearly as vibrant as the German R—is formed with the tip of the tongue just behind the upper front teeth. German Letter. At the beginning of a syllable, g is pronounced the same as it is in English: Gott got God.

The consonant g has yet another pronunciation, thanks to foreign infiltration. In certain words, usually ones that have been assimilated into the German language from other languages—namely, French, pronounce the g as in Massage mA-sah-juh. As a Rule When the letters -ig occur at the end of a word, they are pronounced the way ich is pronounced in the German word ich: traurig tRou-RiH.

But check it out! We have the same word-building suffix in English, derived from Old English into Middle English -lic, meaning like, as in childlike. Eventually, this same suffix doubled its purpose and became the standard way to form an adverb as in the Present Day English friendly or homely. Got a Frog in Your Throat?

To approximate this sound represented in this book by the symbol CH , make the altered h sound you just. Give this a shot: Yoh-hAn zey-bAs-tee-ahn bahhhh gargle and hiss like a cat simultaneously at the end. In general, when ch occurs at the beginning of a word, it is pronounced like a k: Chaos kA-os , Charisma kah-ris-mah. Exceptions occur, however, as in China, where the ch may be pronounced the same way it is in ich. The ch has a fourth pronunciation: sh. In some cases, h is silent when it follows a t, as in Theater tey-ah-tuhR.

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Otherwise, the h is pronounced very much like the English h—just a little breathier. Think of an obscene phone caller breathing heavily on the other end of the line and try the following: hallo hA-loh. As a Rule The English th sound does not exist in German. You produce glottal stops all the time, believe it or not, whenever you disagree, shake your head, and utter: uh-uh.

That tiny pause between the syllables is referred to as a glottal stop! In English, the k is silent in words like knight and knot. Think of it as a fun challenge for any tongue. Position your lips as if you are about to make the r sound but then make the gargling sound you made for the German sound represented in this book by the symbol CH. The sound should come from somewhere in the back of your throat. This book uses the same symbol R for both sounds.

In German sp is a combination of the sh sound in shake and the p sound in pat. Four consonants in a row! Tsch is pronounced tch, as in the word witch. A breeze, right? You will readily recognize these, as English has borrowed them from French, as well! Pronunciation Guide When you are further along in this book, you may not have time to flip through page after page looking for the letter or the symbol you want to pronounce. The following table is an abbreviated pronunciation guide of vowels, modified vowels, diphthongs, and consonants that differ in pronunciation from English consonants.

Practice Makes Perfect Have you practiced all these new sounds? If you have, we are willing to bet that you have succeeded in making most if not all of the sounds you will need to pronounce German words correctly. Now, practice some more by reading the following sentences out loud. Ich spreche Englisch. Ich habe gerade begonnen Deutsch zu lernen. Die Aussprache ist nicht so schwer. I speak English. I just started to learn German. German is a beautiful language. So, once you link a letter with a sound, you can pronounce a word 18 syllables long!

What seems peculiar in written German will soon become familiar to you, and soon— particularly if you listen to the German being spoken on a tape or by a native speaker—you will begin to associate letters with their corresponding sounds. Just click on a sound or word and hear it produced. Kitsch, Wind, Mensch, Angst, Arm, blond, irrational—the list of German words you already know is longer than you think. The reason you know so much German is because many words in German are similar to or exactly like their English counterparts.

These words are called cognates. In addition, many German words have been used so much by English speakers that they have been swallowed whole, so to speak, into the English language to become a part of our vocabulary. Many other German words are so similar to English words that you can master their meanings and pronunciations with little effort. By the end of this chapter, you should be able to put together simple but meaningful sentences in German.

She has been living and teaching in Berlin for as long as you can remember, and so you are surprised when you find the invitation in your mailbox. You have a thousand questions you want to ask her. What has it been like living in Berlin? Has she learned to speak German yet? Cognates Words in German that are similar to near cognates or exactly like perfect cognates their English counterparts—similar in form and in meaning. When the day of the show arrives, you go to the address on the invitation. Shortly after you push the door open and step into a noisy, crowded room, you conclude that something must be wrong.

Everyone around you is speaking in tongues. Just as you are about to turn and leave, your friend pushes through the crowd and grabs you by the arm. You are in the right place. Almost all of her admirers are Berliners, she explains, and what you are hearing is German. You stay close to your friend all night. You listen to the conversations she carries on with other people— auf Deutsch ouf doytsh. You are able to pick up on certain words: interessantes Object, gute Freundin, phantastische Party, modern, blau, braun.

Clearly, a new language—a hybrid, perhaps, of German and English—is being spoken, possibly even invented by this sophisticated crowd. How else would you be able to make sense of so many words? Both languages like to borrow words from the same places—namely, Greek, Latin, and other Romance languages. But back to words that have the same meaning and similar form—the really great part about cognates is that they have the same meanings in German and in English.

Pronunciation does vary, of course, but most of the time, these words are familiar to us. Perfect Cognates: Identical Twins The following table lists by article perfect cognates—words that are exactly the same in English and German. As a Rule In English, we have only one definite article, indicating specificity—a certain something is familiar and recognized in the referred to situation: the.

Grammatical gender is arbitrary—unpredictable, in fact! Remember: In German all nouns are capitalized. How do we recommend that you practice pronouncing these new words? Note: Ist expresses is in German. Close, but No Cigar The following table lists near cognates, words that are spelled almost—but not quite— the same in English and German. Although their spellings differ, their meanings are the same.

Now would be a good time to recall the consonant shift that led to the separation and distinction of English from German. Consider, for example, the correspondence between the German t and English d. Practice pronouncing the German words correctly. What Do You Think? Only one other person is sharing your compartment, a very attractive traveler, you are pleased to see—who alternates between reading a book and staring dreamily out of the window. You were tired when you boarded the train, but now sleeping is the farthest thing from your mind.

Use the adjective and noun cognates and near cognates you have learned to engage your neighbor in conversation. The weather is good. Is the book interesting? The author is popular. The perfume is attractive. The wind is warm. The character is primitive. The heart is wild. The infinitive form of a verb does not refer to a grammatical ghost that floats around in German sentences for all eternity. The following table is a list of verbs that are near cognates in their infinitive form. You can probably already read and understand the following fun and fanciful German sentences: 1.

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Der Onkel trinkt Wein. Der Tiger und der Elefant schwimmen in dem Ozean. Der Film beginnt in einem Supermarkt. Rey-lee-geeohn o-duhr kah-os? Ayn moh-deR-nuhs pRo-bleym, zAkt deyR yoon-guh, in-tey-lee-gentuh ou-toh. Infinitive form The unconjugated form of a verb. In German the infinitive form of verbs end in -en or, in some cases, simply -n.

Verbs are listed in the dictionary in the infinitive form. We utilize this infinitive form when using helping verbs such as had. Das Baby liegt in den Armen der Mutter. Mein Bruder hat eine Guitarre. No shortcut is without its pitfalls. In language as in life, false friends are misleading.

What are false friends in language? They are words spelled the same or almost the same in German and in English that have different meanings. As you can see, these two words, which are spelled exactly the same, have totally different meanings. A word of caution: Cognates can be of help to you in learning German, but false friends can trip you up.

The following table lists some common false friends. Ready, Set, Go! What are idioms? He arranges for you to have breakfast at the hotel with his mother the following morning. The following morning at breakfast your motherin-law asks you how you managed to get through the night without her son.

Without realizing it, you have used the German idiom for having a one-night stand. Idiomatic expressions are speech forms or expressions that cannot be understood by literal translation—they must be learned and memorized along with their meanings. Most differ greatly from their English counterparts in meaning as well as in construction, but perhaps an even greater number differ only slightly.

Idioms make a language colorful. Idiomatic expressions tend to be culturally specific because the lexical items a certain language relies on to express nonliteral meanings generally have significance in that culture. Well, mustard does play a rather prominent culinary role in German, so take a guess. After all, would you rather have some mustard to go along with your Wurst, or two pennies? To help you get a clearer idea of what idiomatic expressions are, here are a few in English: sell down the river.

The following table lists some German idiomatic expressions that correspond, more or less, with their English equivalents. As they tend to be frozen in form, they tend not to change, and hence are very much worth learning. The following table lists a few commonly used German idiomatic expressions, their corresponding English meanings, and their origins—the premise here being that knowing the source of these idioms will help you remember them.

Idioms Fixed phrases whose meaning cannot be inferred from the meanings of the individual words. They tend to be frozen in form and thus do not readily enter into other combinations or allow the word order to change. You are at a loss for words. What you need are some expressions for travel and transportation.

Look at the following table for some suggestions. Use the preceding table to fill in the blanks of the following sentences with the correct German expressions. I walk to the university. Sometimes it means tomorrow, sometimes in 10 years. Many time expressions have a wide range of interpretations, whereas others are more grounded and specific. The following table has a few time expressions you should know. What German idioms of time would you use in the following situations?

When your partner leaves on a business trip for the weekend, you say: 2. When you say goodbye to a friend you will be seeing later that evening, you say: 3. If the movie begins at 5 P. If you watch TV every now and then, you watch it: 7. You should brush your teeth: 8. If you follow a ritual every Friday:. Go Left, Right, Straight, and Then Left Again Some of the most useful vocabulary you can learn, particularly if you plan to travel through Germany, are the words for expressing location and direction. See if you can fill in the blanks correctly by following directions in German. So, What Do You Think?

Some of us seem to have more of them than most people. We express them. We tell you how the food tastes. We tell you whether we liked the movie. See the following table. I feel similarly. Das ist viel besser. No need. She or he suggests ways for the two of you to spend the afternoon. Fill in the blanks with the appropriate German suggestions and the English meanings. Denkst du dass es regnen wird? Today looks like a beautiful day. Do you think it will rain? Ich habe den Wetterbericht nicht gelesen. Your friend: Hast du Lust heute Nachmittag schwimmen zu gehen?

Do you feel like going swimming this afternoon? Ich schwimme gern! I love swimming! Maybe we should read the weather forecast first. The weather may change. Das ist mir schon oft passiert. Your friend: Welche Zeitung sollen wir kaufen? Which newspaper should we buy? Ich glaube in jeder Zeitung finden wir einen Wetterbericht. I think that we can find a weather report in any newspaper. Your friend: Gehen wir ins Kino?

Should we go to a movie? Ich will den neusten Arnold Schwarzenegger Film sehen! How Do You Feel? Feelings that are expressed with the verb haben are followed by a noun. Feelings that are expressed with the verb sein are followed by an adjective. Chapter 9 discusses these verbs and how their form changes to agree with the subject. For now, concentrate on expressing how you feel: ich bin iH bin for expressions with sein; ich habe iH hah-buh for expressions with haben.

I am cold. I am hot. Express how you feel, using the expressions in the preceding table. I am tired. Sie weint. She cries. She is sad. Mein Magen knurrt. My stomach is growling. Ich kann nicht mehr! Ich trainiere jeden Tag und mache Bodybuilding. I train every day and do bodybuilding. I am in shape. Neither do I. Still, sayings are everywhere in language, embodying familiar truths and generally accepted beliefs in colorful, expressive language. Here are a few German sayings and their English counterparts. Wer zuerst kommt, mahlt zuerst.

Wer zuletzt lacht, lacht am Besten. Iss, was gar ist, trink, was klar ist, sprich was wahr ist. Wer wagt, gewinnt. He who lies, steals. Eat what is cooked, drink what is clear, speak what is true. It never rains, but it pours. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Time will tell. Such colorful expressions help personalize and individualize a language—rendering it culturespecific.

Although the sense may be the same in both languages, they use different words. Your best bet is to learn these sayings and be proud to sound like a real German! Think your female baby-sitter is female der Babysitter? Not to a German. If you have taken any French or Spanish, you have already dealt with nouns that have two genders. Believe it or not, the English language used to share this fixation on gender with its German cousin. But very early on, even before Chaucer was writing his bawdy Canterbury Tales, English speakers were quite politically correct.

We began referring to everything as a genderless the. All plural nouns are preceded by the plural article die dee. Unlike the English the, these articles show the gender and number of a noun, but both English and German definite articles indicate specificity. Grammatical gender is arbitrary, unpredictable— basically, a matter of rote memorization.

Walk on the noun, shake it, turn it upside down, throw it against the wall and still you will be no closer to uncovering its gender. It would, of course, be quicker and more effective to look up the noun in a dictionary; masculine nouns are followed by m. Scholars have come up with many theories about why some nouns take certain definite articles, but the truth is that in German there are no simple rules or explanations for determining gender. Why is the meat you eat at dinner neuter das Fleisch , the potato feminine die Kartoffel , and the cauliflower masculine der Rosenkohl?

Your guess is as good as ours. The only fail-safe way of ensuring that you are about to use the correct gender of a German noun is to learn the gender and plural of a noun along with the noun itself. The gender of a noun affects its relationship to other words in a sentence, and if you learn the definite articles along with the nouns, it will be easier for you to form sentences correctly later. Nevertheless, a few tricks can help you determine the gender of certain nouns as well as alter the gender of certain other nouns, as in English when you change the word waiter to waitress.

Keep reading! Absolutely, Definitely Definite Articles Before you get into German nouns, you must take into account one little diversion: the noun marker that precedes most singular nouns. We use the term noun marker to refer to an article or adjective—something that indicates the gender of the noun— whether it is masculine m.

As a Rule The noun marker for plural nouns die should not to be confused with the feminine singular definite article die. Because of this homophony in form, only the singular noun markers der, die, das clearly indicate the grammatical gender of a noun. Singular Nouns The nouns in the following table are easy to remember.

An obvious correspondence exists between the grammatical gender of the noun marker and the natural, biological gender of the noun. Even the different types of mothers remain predictably feminine, while the different types of fathers are masculine in gender. But for now, become acquainted with family terms. As a Rule Nouns referring to male persons, their professions, and their nationalities—der Deutsche deyR doy-tschuh —are clearly masculine. Most nouns ending in -en are also masculine— der Garten deYr gahR-tuhn —as are the names of all seasons, months, days of the week, and most times of the day—der Montag deyR mohn-tahk , der Januar deyR yah-newahR , der Sommer deyR zo-muhR , and so on.

The following tables group endings that will help you to identify the gender of nouns. Generally, two-syllable nouns ending in -e, such as Sonne zo-nuh and Blume blew-muh , take the feminine article die. Das Berlin, das Deutschland, das Paris—countries, towns, and cities all take the neuter article das.

So do the letters of the alphabet: das A, das B, das C, das D, and so on. Here are a few of them. This convention makes sense if you just think back to what an umlaut is all about: When the —in suffix is added to the noun, the i sound, produced in the front of the mouth, coaxes the back vowels of a, o, or u to slide a little forward, as well—hence, sound change! The following table lists some common nouns that can undergo sex changes. Compound Nouns Meeresgrundforschungslaborauswertungsbericht— pronounced mey-Ruhs-gRoont-foR-shoonks-lah-bohRous-veR-toonks-buh-RiHt—what in the world, you may ask, is that?

Believe it or not, that is a word— a compound noun, to be exact. Hmmm … is a pattern is emerging here? Why, yes! German looks to the right end of a noun to determine its gender. Another way to think of it is that the directional right end governs the entire noun. And, after all, government likes to tell us how to do things, and nouns must abide by these very same rules!

But there are plurals that stump learners of our language. How many childs do you have, or rather children? Are they silly little gooses, uh, geese? German plurals seem to be confusing, too, but there is a method to the madness. As this system of inflecting nouns declined in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, some of the features of these classes were retained as plural endings! This historical curiosity is what makes forming plurals in German such a challenging experience.

Nonetheless, when a noun becomes plural in German, the noun marker becomes plural with it and the articles der, die, and das all become die in their plural forms. For now, the best way to be sure that you are forming the plural of a noun correctly is to memorize it along with the noun and the article. The following tables give you some basic rules on how to form plurals.

When the nouns in the following two tables become plural, they take either -n or -en. A majority of German nouns fall into this group, including most feminine nouns. The nouns in this group never take an umlaut in the plural; but if they already have one in the singular, it is retained. When the nouns ending in -e, -el, and -er in the following table become plural, they take -n.

All nouns referring to female persons or animals ending in -in double the n in the plural form before adding the plural -en. This convention keeps the i sound short—no mutation here, my friend! The nouns in the following table take no ending in their plural form. Some of the masculine nouns in the group undergo a vowel modification as they have since lost their ending , as do the only two feminine nouns in this group. When the nouns in the following table become plural, they take the ending -e. All neuter and feminine nouns that end in -nis double the s in the plural form before adding -e, again, ensuring that the i sound remains short.

The plurals of the nouns in the following table end in -er. Wherever possible, vowels are modified. Note that all the words that follow have only one syllable. Practice Those Plurals You are spending your first day in Berlin. Example: You need some peace and quiet. You are looking for parks. Ich suche die Parks. You need to have your wisdom tooth removed.

You ask someone where you can find dentists in Berlin. Tell this person that you need the names of a few dentists. You want to relax somewhere and drink a cup of coffee. Stop at a kiosk and ask the man at the counter if all German newspapers have weather forecasts. Ask where you can find them. You enter the lobby of a hotel. Ask the receptionist for the room rates. As a Rule Compound nouns combine two or more nouns into one. They are written as one word in German and take the gender of the last noun in the compound.

Likewise, compound nouns, being governed by the right end of things, take the plural form of the last noun. Because Arzt comes last, it is the only part of the compound noun that becomes plural. In the following ads, which employers are seeking male employees? Which are seeking female employees? Which ads are open to applicants of both sexes?

Eine Ausbildung in diesem Bereich ist erforderlich. Achtung Some nouns in German are used only in their plural forms. They always take the plural article die. Restaurant sucht Koch zur Aushilfe. Wir betreiben ein Apfelweinlokal in Frankfurt und suchen umgehend einen Aushilfskoch. Gehalt nach Absprache. As a Rule A few nouns in German usually words ending in a, i, or o take an -s to form the plural, as in das Lotto die Lottos.

Plural forms of nouns should be learned along with the noun and the definite article. Before we start, we should probably warn you that this chapter introduces some new grammatical concepts and that it just might take some time before you fully understand them. More understanding will come with time and exposure to the language. We all know that learning grammar can be about as exciting as watching grass grow, but lots of people have done it and are now happy, German-speaking individuals.

In English, once you have the subject, the verb, and the direct object, forming a sentence is easy enough; you put the words in the right order and start talking. German nouns, pronouns, articles, adjectives, and prepositions are inflected; that is to say, they have overt markings showing grammatical relations. Cases are the form articles, adjectives, pronouns, and a few nouns take in a sentence depending on their function. When we speak of cases and nouns, we are speaking of their articles, since the article that precedes a noun is the primary indicator of its gender, number, and—you guessed it—case.

German uses four cases to express grammatical relations between sentence parts: nominative, accusative, dative, and genitive. In a nutshell, the nominative case indicates the subject of a sentence, the accusative case indicates the direct object of a sentence, and the dative case indicates the indirect object of a sentence.

In German, cases enable you to vary the order of nouns and pronouns without changing the overall meaning of the sentence, allowing you to place focus on whatever element of the sentence you like!

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Case The form articles, adjectives, pronouns, and a few nouns in German take depending on their grammatical function in a sentence. Despite the position of the nouns, the noun markers remain the same in both sentences, clearly indicating that the fish is being eaten by the girl, and not that the girl is being eaten by the fish. Starting with the Nominative Case Nominative is the case of the subject of the sentences—that is, of the noun or pronoun performing the action or undergoing the state of being of the verb.

The direct object tells you to whom or what the action of the verb is being directed. You also use the accusative case with time and measuring data that specifies how short, how soon, how often, how much, how old, and so on. Nominative Subject. Indirectly: The Dative Case The dative case can be used instead of a possessive adjective with parts of the body and after certain verbs, prepositions, and adjectives.

It is used primarily to indicate the indirect object, however. The indirect object is the object for whose benefit or in whose interest the action of the verb is being performed. Think of giving, helping, pleasing, and such—an animate object is receiving the action, and usually something else the direct object , to boot! As English lost most of its inflectional endings reflecting this case, it relies on word order and prepositions, such as to and for to express the dative function. Word order The position of words in a sentence contributing to the meaning or sense of a sentence.

Declension The pattern of changes occurring in articles, adjectives, pronouns, and a few nouns in each of the four cases. The genitive case indicates possession. Most of the time, however, German marks possession on both the noun marker the article or adjective preceding the noun and, with neuter and masculine nouns, after the noun with - e s. Why not latch on to that idea in German?!? Paradigm A grammatical chart, organized in a regular way so that new information may be plugged in and easily assimilated. Declension refers to the patterns of change followed by different groups of words in each case.

Declension in German is pretty much limited to articles and a few instances of nouns. True, adjectives take an ending, but it is readily and simply determinable from the word preceding the noun if there is one. In addition, pronouns change form according to their function, but this change is very similar to English: he versus him, and such. Be sure that when you are looking up a noun, you look for it under its base form— not its plural or possessive form. The nominative singular is the form under which nouns appear in the dictionary. The Case of the Definite Article German has four possible declensions for each definite article remember, definite articles are used when you are speaking about a particular person or thing.

In addition, the plurals of der, die, and das have separate declensions. Commit this chart to memory, rewrite it on a card, use a different color for each case, do anything and everything to help yourself conceptualize the case system. In addition, you will be able to plug in new information as you go along. Masculine Nouns Using the same paradigm—the same setup of cases in descending order of nominative, accusative, dative, followed by genitive—we can plug in actual masculine nouns. Notice the noun endings in the genitive case and with the monosyllabic noun in the dative case.

Nothing like a little consistency, eh? Remember those antiquated noun classes that tried really hard to die out? Well, another leftover occurs with a few masculine nouns that take an - e n ending in all cases except the nominative. Notice that feminine nouns, unlike the masculine ones, do not need endings. They remain unchanged. Neuter Nouns And now for the neuter nouns. Just like the masculine ones, the monosyllabic neuter noun takes that vestigal -e ending in the dative and - e s in the genitive case.

Plurals Coming now to the right side of the original paradigm, we can plug in the plural nouns for father and child, only augmenting them with an n in the dative case.

Indefinite articles are used when you are speaking about a noun in general, not about a specific noun. Now look for correspondences in the masIndefinite article Articles culine and neuter. German is simple, after all! Subject Pronouns Before you can form sentences with verbs in German, you have to know something about subject pronouns. A subject pronoun is, as its name suggests, the subject of a sentence—the who or what that performs the action.

You can link this bit of information to what you already know about cases. The case of the subject is nominative, so you can also think about these pronouns as nominative personal pronouns. The German subject pronouns in the following table have a person first person is I, second person is you, third person is he, she, or it just as subject pronouns do in English, and a number singular or plural.

So what is second person all about? It involves directly addressing someone—talking to someone. As a Rule It used to be considered polite in German society to use the third-person plural to refer to someone you were talking to. Hence, the German formal pronouns are exactly the same as the third-person plural pronouns. Less to learn! See whether you can figure out which of the following questions you would address to your teacher and which you would use to initiate a conversation with a fellow student.


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  • What would happen if pronouns were outlawed? Are they meeting you there, or are you meeting them later? We Are Family Stepping back into the not-somythical linguistic past, both English and German used to decline nouns. Our English possessive -s is a remnant. All nouns in German and English used to take an ending. You may thank your lucky stars that in present-day German, only trace vestiges of this complex system remain. In the fifth century, neuter and masculine monosyllabic nouns were members of the same class of nouns, and reflective of this history, an -e ending remains with neuter and masculine monosyllabic nouns in the dative case.

    This practice of declension is gradually falling by the wayside, yet fossilized in such fixed expressions as im Jahre, zu Hause. Pronouns streamline your speech. You can also use pronouns to replace the name of a common noun referring to a place, thing, or idea.

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    Whereas in English we use the blanket pronoun it to refer to anything inanimate, the gender of the pronoun in German must correspond to the gender of the noun. Er, Sie, Es? Imagine that your boss marries a woman young enough to be his granddaughter. You attend the wedding reception with your best friend. Toward the end of the Feier fayuhR , his ex-wife barges in and takes a hatchet to the wedding cake.

    Eventually, she is subdued and escorted to the door. The guests recover their poise, and the festivities continue. Which pronouns would you use to talk about the in-laws? Which pronoun would you use to talk about the hatchet? Die Schwiegereltern tanzten. Die Musik war heiter. Die Mutter des Ehemanns weinte. Der Onkel der Ehefrau war betrunken. The verb indicates whether the pronoun sie is being used as third-person singular or thirdperson plural.

    The formal Sie pronoun is always capitalized. The gender of the pronoun must correspond to the gender of the noun. In the preceding chapter you learned about determining the gender, number, and case of nouns, and you were introduced to German pronouns. Verbs, the Arnold Schwarzeneggers of the language set, convey action in a sentence. To communicate, you must have a basic understanding of verbs. You sign up for a special travel package to Germany that includes hotel accommodations and airfare. Imperative form The form a verb takes to express a command, request or directive.

    This form is easily deduced from the conjugated second-person verb. In the imperative form, the understood subject is always you. You want to take quiet, relaxing strolls through churches and parks. To express what people want to do, you need verbs, and verbs, of course, require a subject: You want to take quiet, relaxing strolls through churches and parks. When a sentence takes the imperative form, the form of a command, the subject you is understood: Go shopping!

    Subjects can be either nouns or pronouns that replace nouns: The man ate the entire pizza. He ate the entire pizza. As a Rule Unlike German nouns, which are capitalized no matter where they appear in a sentence, most pronouns take a capital letter only when they begin a sentence. This makes a lot of sense if you think of personal pronouns as representing nouns—not quite achieving noun status, and thus not attaining upper-case orthographic status. The only exception to this rule is the pronoun Sie the polite form for du and ihr , which is capitalized no matter where it appears in a sentence.

    The upper-case spelling of the formal Sie helps distinguish it from its lower-case twins, sie and sie. The same is true of verbs. Here are some basic things you should know about verbs before you start using them. The stem of a verb refers to what you get when you remove the ending -en from the German infinitive. The stem vowel refers to the vowel within this stem. In English, for example, when you conjugate the verb run I run, you run, she runs , it retains the same stem vowel throughout the conjugation, marking the third-person singular with the addition of the inflectional suffix -s.

    Conjugation refers to the changes the verb undergoes, internally and externally by the addition of inflectional endings , which keep the verb in agreement with the subject. Conjugation The changes of the verb that occur to indicate who or what is performing the action or undergoing the state of being of the verb and when the action or state of being of the verb is occurring: in the present, the past, or the future. Verbs in Motion If you were given a week of absolutely commitment-free time, what would you do with it? Would you go scuba diving? Would you chase butterflies? Or would you ride through Italy on a tandem bicycle?

    No matter what you do, you need verbs to express action, motion, or states of being. When you acquired English, you very readily discerned the difference between being able to add a little something to a verb to express yesterday, as in pushed and pulled, and changing the verb internally: sing, sang, sung. Little did you know it then, but you were differentiating between two classes of verbs: weak and strong.

    Perhaps you learned to refer to them in school as regular and irregular. In German as well, the most common way of grouping verbs is weak schwach , strong stark , or mixed schwark. When verbs are conjugated, a relatively predictable pattern of endings is attached to the stem of weak verbs, as occurs in English -ed in the past tense. Strong verbs have a relatively predictable pattern of endings when they are conjugated in the present tense the form a verb takes to indicate that action is occurring in the present , but the stem undergoes a sound change in the past tense.

    Mixed verbs have features of both weak and strong verbs, hence the term schwark. The rest of this chapter examines schwach and stark verbs in the present tense. Weak verbs are verbs that, when conjugated, follow a set pattern of rules and retain the same stem vowel throughout. Think of them as being too weak to alter the patterns they follow. Most German verbs fall into the category of schwach verbs see the following table. But schwach or stark, the present-tense inflectional endings remain the same.

    Only one paradigm to learn, lucky you! Your first step is to determine the stem of the verb. Second, add a little something to this stem, as in adding the -s in English third-person singular. Why add that -e? Free that stem from the infinitive, add an -e to that stem, and then go wild with those same inflectional endings you used with leben.

    The Endings of Weak Verbs Think of weak verbs as timid, law-abiding creatures that would never cross the street when the light is red. The great thing for those of you who want to learn German about weak verbs is that they obey grammar laws and follow a predictable pattern of conjugation.

    To conjugate weak verbs, drop the -en from the infinitive and then add the endings shown in the following table. See whether you can use the correct form of the verbs in the following sentences. Remember, the verb must agree with the subject! Weak verbs Verbs schwach that follow a set pattern of rules and retain the same stem vowel throughout their conjugation.

    Compare this pattern with the English verbs that form their past tense with the addition of -ed. In the following table, you will find some of the most commonly used weak verbs in German. Read the list a few times and try to commit these verbs to memory. The only way you can distinguish between them is to memorize them as such. Of course, as an English speaker,.

    We Are Family English and German share many features when it comes to strong verbs. The irregular forms—such as take, took, taken or drink, drank, drunk—date back more than 6, years! This pattern becomes readily evident in the past tense recall pushed versus drank. With the sehr starke verbs, vowel alterations occur only in the second and third person in the stem vowel.

    Although everything in German might seem to be an exception, all German verbs actually stem from seven older C. So take heart; vowel changes follow a limited number of patterns. The following tables illustrate the stem changing of some sehr starke verbs. Note that the stem -e changes to -ie only in the second- and third-person singular! Other verbs incurring this stem change include lesen, befehlen, empfehlen, and geschehen. Other verbs incurring this stem change include blasen, fangen, halten, laden, lassen, raten, schlafen, tragen, wachsen, and waschen.

    Conjugation Although most starke verbs do not incur a sound change in the present tense, you might as well become well versed in the few that do. Accepting the challenge, see whether you can conjugate these very strong verbs in the following sentences: 1. Achtung The infinitives of a few verbs take -n and not -en. The conjugated form of these verbs in the firstand third-person plural is the same as the infinitive form.

    Strong verb A verb whose stem vowel undergoes a change or a modification when conjugated in the past tense. Only some strong stark verbs undergo a vowel modification in the present tense sehr stark. The following table lists some commonly used strong verbs. Read through them a few times, as you did with the weak verbs. The very strong verb vowel changes are indicated in parentheses after the infinitive. There are only three types of stemvowel changes and you have to learn the stem changes associated with strong verbs only once because adding a prefix to a stem does not alter the conjugation.

    Ask Me Anything Okay, now go back to where you were at the beginning of this chapter, planning a trip. Stick to the easy questions— the ones that can be answered with a simple yes or no. Making Friends. To do so, speak with a rising inflection. Du denkst an die Reise? Dew denkst An dee Ray-zuh Are you thinking about the trip?

    Nicht Wahr? One easy way of forming questions in German is by adding the tag nicht wahr niHt vahR to your statements. Inversion The final way of forming a question is by inversion.