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Weibliche Substantive im Deutschen erkennen: Teil 2 – Detecting German feminine nouns: part 2 Posted by on Jan 16, 2012 in Grammar, Language

Last time is was said that all those nouns are feminine, which refer to female humans (die Mutter-mother; die Tante-aunt), female animals (die Stute-mare; die Sau-sow), and female occupations (die Ärztin-phyisician; die Friseurin-haidresser). Let’s have a look now, which nouns are also commonly feminine in German.

 

a) Some names of animal species

die Auster – oysterdie Larve – larva

die Muschel – shell

die Schnecke – snail

die Fliege – flydie Made – maggot

die Raupe – caterpillar

die Ziege – goat

 

b) Names of trees, fruits, and flowers

A lot of tree names, fruit names, and flower names are feminine in German

die Buche – beechdie Eiche – oak tree

die Eibe – yew

die Fichte – spruce

die Kastanie – chestnut

die Kiefer* – pine tree

die Lärche – larch

die Linde – lime tree

die Palme – palm tree

die Tanne – fir

die Ulme – elm

die Ananas – pineapple

die Birne – peardie Kirsche – cherry

die Erdbeere – strawberry

die Banane – banana

die Kiwi – kiwi fruit

die Orange – orange

die Rose – rose

die Aster – aster

die Dahlie – dahlia

die Orchidee – orchid

die Nelke – carnation

die Narzisse – narcissus

 

* This is a so called homonym. That is, this word denoted two completely different things. When you use “Kiefer” with the article “die” you talk about a pine tree, but when you use “Kiefer” with the article “der” you talk about a jawbone.

 

Exceptions are: der Ahorn – maple / der Apfel – apple / der Pfirsich – peach / der Mohn – poppy / der Flieder – lilac / das Vergissmeinnicht – forget-me-not / das Maiglöckchen – lily of the valley / das Veilchen – violet / das Stiefmütterchen – pansy

 

Remember that words, which end with –el and –ich, like in “Apfel” and “Pfirsich”, are masculine in German.

 

c) Most bi-syllabic nouns that end with –e

Most words that have two syllables and end with an –e are usually feminine in German.

die Bitte – requestdie Lage – location, position, situation

die Mappe – portfolio, briefcase

die Schule – school

die Tonne – barrel

die Blume – flower

die Lampe – lamp

die Masche – ploy, stitch

die Sense – scythe

die Treppe – stairs

die Nase – nose

die Sprache – language

die Tüte – bag

die Leine – leash, corddie Rache – revenge

die Straße – street

die Stufe – step

die Gasse – alley

die Liebe – love

die Rede – speech

die Tasche – bag

die Wanne – tub

die Grenze – border

die Liege – lounger

die Säge – saw

die Tasse – cup

 

Exceptions are: der Junge – boy (because it refers to a male person); der Löwe – lion (because most animal species have a masculine form); das Auge – eye; das Ende – end.

 

Suggestion: I think it could be very supportive when you internalize the rules above in connection with learning all nouns that are new to you, regardless whether you will use them because you would remember the rules easier when you have some examples at hand.

 

To be continued…

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About the Author:Sandra Rösner

Hello everybody! I studied English and American Studies, Communication Science, and Political Science at the University of Greifswald. Since I have been learning English as a second language myself for almost 20 years now I know how difficult it is to learn a language other than your native one. Thus, I am always willing to keep my explanations about German grammar comprehensible and short. Further, I am inclined to encourage you to speak German in every situation. Regards, Sandra