German Misc. Basics: Lesson 3

In the following lesson I’m going to cover areas that are typically covered in the first weeks of studying German. In the previous 2 lessons I went straight for the colloquial past to demonstrate how seemingly complex structures that aren’t taught until 2nd or 3rd semester can be easily covered in 10 or 15 minutes. Recall what we’ve learned so far:

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Now let’s talk about names

The word for name is Name

Recall before we had das Geld and das Auto. Well, Name takes der for the definite article, thus der Name. Remember when we talked about throwing das Auto into the sentence Er ist nach Berlin gefahren? The auxiliary changes to hat because of the direct object, thus Er hat das Auto nach Berlin gefahren. It’s easy as pie for the neuter nouns das, but masculine nouns der changes from der into den.

German, unfornuately, sometimes declines the nouns. You don’t have to worry about feminine nouns in the singular, as they never decline; and as for the feminine plural, they all end in -en. Masculine and Neuter nouns, however, can change for each case. The basic regular pattern for masculine and neuter, otherwise known as the strong pattern, keeps everything the same in the singular expect for the genitive, which adds an s or -es. The weak pattern of masculine and neuter nouns add an -n or -en to everything but the nominative.

I suggest going to wikionary to find the list of endings for these weak nouns. Most dictionaries only list the genitive singular and the plural forms.

The accusative for der Name is den Namen.

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The word for my is mein

My is an adjective, or more precisely, a possessive adjective. Don’t confuse possessive adjectives with pronouns later down the road. "Her mother sees it" and "The mother sees her use her in different ways.

The word for what is was

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It’s important to know if the noun is a direct object(accusative). You wouldn’t say Er studiert der Name. Der Name must change into Den Namen when it’s accusative.

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Der Name is always masculine; it never changes even if the name is a woman’s name. The actual gender for German nouns is irrelevant for the grammatical gender.

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We haven’t introduced a feminine noun yet. Let’s add one to cover all the genders in the German language: masculine, neuter and feminine.

The word for the aunt is die Tante

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Next lesson >