German Language Stack Exchange is a bilingual question and answer site for speakers of all levels who want to share and increase their knowledge of the German language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Are there rules or is it just a relict of history and convention if substantives are merged? "Philosophie des Geistes" is a distinct discipline and so a proper name. But then there is also "Sprachphilosophie". Would it be correct/o.k. to say "Geistphilosophie"?

Are there more general rules when and how to merge substantives?

share|improve this question
up vote 2 down vote accepted

You have the solution already in your question: building merged nouns is case sensitive. By using genitive we may build:


in analogy to "Geistesgegenwart", "Geistesblitz" etc.

There are some sources that use the term "Geistesphilosphie" but it seems not to be widely accepted and is not listed in the Duden.

share|improve this answer
It may also be interesting to have a look at Google ngrams – FUZxxl Jul 15 '11 at 14:23
+1 zeitgeist also fits your rule @fuz i have to bookmark this ngrams thing etymology swiss knife :) – Hauser Jul 15 '11 at 18:08
I almost included an ngram shot to the answer - but then I thought this may be overload. I like google ngrams but keep in mind they may be biased. – Takkat Jul 15 '11 at 18:13

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.