Yes, languages have their own personality.

German can be a surprisingly optimistic language at times.  Yesterday, I picked up a pair of left-behind goggles at the swimming pool and brought them to the office, where I tried to explain that they had been lost.  “Ah!” the woman there replied, “die sind Fundsache.”  That is to say, in Germany left-behind items aren’t “lost” or even “lost and found” but simply “found things.”

In Context: Dative Articles and Adjectives

These are intended to be grammar examples only: they reflect possible, correctly declined phrases rather thanphrases that Germans are likely to use in everyday conversation.  The idea is that by changing only the key parts of a sentence, the grammatical meaning becomes easier to understand intuitively.  At least, I think it helps me…

Example phrase: Sie bringt ___________ einen Kuchen.

Singular, definite article:

  • der freundlichen Frau
  • dem freundlichen Mann
  • dem freundlichen Mädchen

Singular, indefinite article:

  • einer freundlichen Frau
  • einem freundlichen Mann
  • einem freundlichen Mädchen

Plural

Again, the adjectives forms match for all genders, so these can be used with any plural.  Also, the Dative plural noun always ends in “n,” even when the regular plural doesn’t.

Adjective sets:

  • keinen freundlichen
  • den freundlichen
  • freundlichen

Dative Plural Noun forms:

  • Frauen
  • Männern
  • Mädchen

In Context: Accusative Articles and Adjectives

These are intended to be grammar examples only: they reflect possible, correctly declined phrases rather than phrases that Germans are likely to use in everyday conversation.  The idea is that by changing only the key parts of a sentence, the grammatical meaning becomes easier to understand intuitively.  At least, I think it helps me…

Example phrase: Sie isst __________.

Singular, definite article

  • die große Torte
  • den großen Kuchen
  • das große Eis

Singular, indefinite article

  • eine große Torte
  • einen großen Kuchen
  • ein großes Eis


In plural, all adjective forms match all genders.

Accusative plural adjectives:

  • keine großen
  • die großen
  • große

Accusative plural nouns:

  • Torten
  • Kuchen
  • Eis

In Context: Nominative Articles and Adjectives

It helps me to understand German grammar if I have an example to work from.  These are intended to be grammar examples only: they reflect possible, correctly declined phrases rather than phrases that Germans are likely to use in everyday conversation.  The idea is that by changing only the key parts of a sentence, the grammatical meaning becomes easier to understand intuitively.  At least, I think it helps me…

Singular, definite article

Example phrase: __________ bringt mir ein Eis.

Possible subjects:

  • Die kleine Frau
  • Der kleine Mann
  • Das kleine Mädchen

Singular, indefinite article

Example phrase: __________ bringt mir ein Eis.

Possible subjects:

  • Eine kleine Frau
  • Ein kleiner Mann
  • Ein kleines Mädchen

Singular, no article

Example phrase: __________ schmekt mir gut.

Possible subjects:

  • Deutscher Eis
  • Deutscher Kuchen
  • Deutsche Torte

Plural

Example phrase: __________ bringen mir ein Eis.

Possible subjects:

  • Die kleinen Frauen
  • Keine kleinen Frauen
  • Kleine Frauen

Since all genders use the same form in plural, “Frauen” here could also be “Männer” or “Mädchen.”

In Situ: Adjective Endings

A few examples of real-life adjective declination from a recent trip to Ulm

Rauchfreier Bahnhof

(“Bahnhof” is masculine, nominative; there’s no article; therefore “rauchfrei” ends in “er.”)

Tee mit doppeltem Rum

(“Rum” is masculine, dative; there’s no article; therefore “doppelt” ends in “em.”)

Practice Reading: Climate Change

I found the attached article in our local German newspaper.  Although I wasn’t able to understand every nuance, I found it to be about the “right” reading level (for me, anyway).

The full article can be found on www.mein-wochenblatt.de on this page. (There are, of course, numerous other German-language articles in this newspaper — but the the rest seem to be at a somewhat higher reading level.)

Reading guide (aka words that I had to look up):

zuvor: beforehand

der Forscher: researcher

zunehmend: increasing

das Treibhaus: greenhouse

die Dürre: drought or arridity

die Fläche: flat or expanse

Die Deutsche Sprache

Since I’m living in Germany, I’m learning German.  I’ve been slowing gathering useful tidbits about the language — examples of real-life use of grammatical constructs, made-up examples that help me better understand what I’m talking about, and so on.  I’ve decided these might be useful for other people as well, so I’m going to start publishing them here.  I’ll probably avoid updating Facebook with each of these examples, because I expect to write short, frequent posts which are no interest to most of my friends…. If you’re among the exceptions, grab the RSS feed here: feed://peasandhoney.com/blog/category/deutsch/feed/ (or just check the category page: http://peasandhoney.com/blog/category/deutsch).