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Weibliche Substantive im Deutschen erkennen: Teil 3 – Detecting German feminine nouns: part 3 Posted by on Jan 18, 2012 in Grammar, Language

Why are some nouns in German masculine, others feminine, and still others neuter? I am probably not the only one who is asking this question. And to make things worse: there isn’t any logical explanation for that. I pondered over that question quite a long time to give you, at least, a more or less satisfactory answer.

I think you can only understand the right to exist of different gendered nouns when you see the German language in a greater context. Remember that the German language modifies nouns according to grammar cases (nominative, genitive, dative, and accusative). These modifications predominately manifest in the parts of speech (articles, pronouns, etc.) that precede nouns rather than in any particular case ending of the noun itself (except for the genitive case of masculine and neuter nouns). These cases endings are consistent and are to be found in all parts of speech. For example, nominative “die Frau” (woman) has the genitive case ending –r: der Frau (of the woman), meiner Frau (of my wife), etc. What I want to say is that these case endings are nothing else than a kind of simplification of the speech flow. It is indeed more strenuous to utter, for example, ‘des Fraus’ or ‘meines Fraus’. That is, every language has underlying rules that determine how sounds have to be combined to form words and phrases. Consequently, all German case endings are simply the outcome of language use or applied speech, so to speak. Anyway, let’s start with today’s lesson on feminine nouns and how you can detect them.

Names of rivers

Most nouns that denote rivers are feminine in German.

die Alster – Alster

die Donau – Danube

die Elbe – Elbe

die Ems – Ems

die Fulda – Fulda

die Havel – Havel

die Isar – Isar

die Mosel – Mosel

die Neiße – Neisse

die Oder – Oder

die Weser – Weser

die Wolga – Volga

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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


Comments:

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