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Wann nehme ich das Wort 'der Drache' und wann 'der Drachen'? Ist es egal oder gibt es einen feinen Unterschied?

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Laut Duden:

Drachen, der

1. an einer Schnur oder einem dünnen Draht gehaltenes, mit Papier, Stoff o. Ä. bespanntes Gestell, das vom Wind nach oben getragen wird und sich in der Luft hält

2.(salopp abwertend) zänkische Frau

3.von drei Personen zu segelndes Boot mit Kiel für den Rennsegelsport (Kennzeichen: D)

4.großes, deltaförmiges Fluggerät, das aus einem mit Kunststoffgewebe bespannten Rohrgerüst besteht


Drache, der

geflügeltes, Feuer speiendes, echsenartiges Fabeltier [mit mehreren Köpfen]

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Why have they added that 'n' for all non-saurien? – R2D2 Jun 9 '14 at 21:19
@R2D2 I'm no etymologist, so I can't be much help in this regard. Duden lists Drachen's origin as a variant of Drache. Perhaps this addition helps to differentiate the two sets of meanings? We'll have to see if any other members can provide us with a more convincing explanation. I would note that derivations of "Drache" all seem to use "Drachen", cf: Drachenblut, Drachenbaum. also notes "Drachen" used as the singular nominative for the winged creature is dialectal to Southern German. – Milchgesicht Jun 9 '14 at 21:29
@Milchgesicht in the derivations, the n is a "Fugenelement". ( – elena Jun 10 '14 at 9:22
The distinction between Drachen ‘1. kite > deltoid, 2. harridan/bitch, 3. Dragon (keelboat), 4. hang-glider’ and Drache ‘dragon/drake’ seems artificial and may fail empirically, but except for 2. it’s actually very regular, because animate (masculine) nouns tend to prefer weak N inflection (cf. Hase). That’s why inanimate Friede, Funke, Gedanke, Glaube, Haufe, Same, Schade, Wille, (Name) etc. have almost incorporated the n into their stems which used to be – as for Drache – the suffix for everything but NomSg. Accordingly, their GenSg changed from -es or -en to -ens, cf. Boden. – Crissov Jun 12 '14 at 11:38

Der Drache is nominative singular: the dragon; der Drachen can be genitive plural: (of) the dragons. Or, you are taking about a kite: in this case it's der Drachen, too.

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but I saw 'Die Schwiegermutter - der Drachen' – R2D2 Jun 9 '14 at 21:10
Good point. Same as kite, i.e. der Drachen, according to Duden. – Ingmar Jun 9 '14 at 21:11
I thought 'Schwiegermutter' is meant as dragon here, too – R2D2 Jun 9 '14 at 21:13
R2D2, the secondary definition of Drachen in Duden explains this usage: "zänkische Frau" ie nagging/scolding woman. – Milchgesicht Jun 9 '14 at 21:16

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