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:

?He is nothing|Er ist nichts

?He is driving to Berlin|Er fährt nach Berlin

?She has said it|Sie hat es gesagt

?He is studying it|Er studiert es

?She is awaiting|Sie erwartet

?It has awaited|Es hat erwartet

?He has nothing|Er hat nichts

?She has driven to Berlin|Sie ist nach Berlin gefahren

?He has the car|Er hat das Auto

?He has driven the car to Chicago|Er hat das Auto nach Chicago gefahren

?She has studied it|Sie hat es studiert

?She has said it|Sie hat es gesagt

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.

?She has the name|Sie hat den Namen

?He has said the name|Er hat den Namen gesagt

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

?What is the name?|Was ist der Name?

?What is my name?|Was ist mein Name?

?My name is Boris|Mein Name ist Boris

?He studies the name|Er studiert den Namen

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.

?What is money?|Was ist Geld?

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.

?My name is Sophie|Mein Name ist Sophie

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

?The aunt studies it|Die Tante studiert es

?The aunt has driven to Berlin|Die Tante ist nach Berlin gefahren

?The aunt has it|Die Tante hat es

?The aunt has said it|Die Tante hat es gesagt

?The aunt has driven the money to Chicago|Die Tante hat das Geld nach Chicago gefahren

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