Nomen - Questions on words referring to an entity, person, or concept.

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12
votes
2answers
372 views

For new words which are often nouns who sets the gender?

I think the title sums it up but since every single thing in the universe can be referred to as a noun and German assigns every noun a gender who gets to decide the gender? Furthermore, other ...
72
votes
16answers
7k views

How can I better learn noun genders?

One of the things that I really liked about German, as I was studying it in college, was the very orderly grammar, which actually helped me to understand my native English better. As a non-native ...
3
votes
1answer
735 views

How is the gender of new words established?

When words are borrowed into German, how is it decided what gender that word should be? I can think of examples with all three genders: der Latte, die Jeans, das Internet. Are there ever ...
4
votes
3answers
947 views

How to differentiate Sie (they) or Sie (you)?

Sie haben meine Brieftasche. This sentence has 2 different meanings - They have my wallet. or You have my wallet. How can I know which is intended?
28
votes
2answers
541 views

What is the origin of the rules about the capitalization of the first letter of each noun?

To my knowledge, German is the only language which capitalize the first letter of each of its nouns. Why is there such a rule? Meines Wissens ist Deutsch die einzige Sprache, in der der erste ...
2
votes
3answers
377 views

Einsamkeit und Zweisamkeit

I have just encountered the word "Zweisamkeit". Till this moment I knew only "Einsamkeit" und "Gemeinsamkeit". Do you know any other words like this?
19
votes
9answers
4k views

How do Germans refer to people without caring about the gender

In German, a noun always has its own gender. However, there is a case I don't know. Suppose that there is a class with many students, both males and females, and then when I want to refer to all ...
19
votes
12answers
2k views

Is “dingsbums” offensive, rude, vulgar, etc?

I've heard that my favourite word "dingsbums" might not be acceptable in some circumstances due to it being related to "bumsen" which, I'm told, is some kind of a word for intimate relations. Yet ...
15
votes
5answers
447 views

Gibt es einen Unterschied zwischen “Haarspalterei” und “Erbsenzählerei”?

Die beiden Begiffe Haarspalterei und Erbsenzählerei lassen sich auch als Eigenschaften Personen zuschreiben. Er ist ein Haarspalter. Er ist ein Erbsenzähler. Gibt es Unterschiede zwischen ...
29
votes
10answers
17k views

Why is “Fräulein” considered offensive, as opposed to “Frau”?

Does Fräulein imply that the woman being addressed is not fully a Frau? Does it imply a lower class status?
15
votes
3answers
898 views

Neuter gender for nouns referring to children

In German we say der Mann/die Frau, but then we say das Kind/das Mädchen, so I got two questions: Are there particular historic and/or etymological reasons for this? "Das Mädchen" refers to a ...
7
votes
3answers
199 views

Nouns with 2 genitive forms (-s/-es). When to use each?

Wiktionary lists 2 genitive forms for a lot of nouns (e.g. Berg, Brauch), -es and -s. For these words and others, are these forms interchangeable or are they regional? Or is one more poetic sounding ...
6
votes
2answers
380 views

Rules for capitalizing adjectives after “etwas, nichts…”?

Why does one write "nichts Gutes", "etwas Besseres" and so on. The rules imply they are nouns. Wiktionary says they obbey an ,,adjektivischer Deklination", there is no plural for them, etc. But ...
6
votes
2answers
225 views

Is there a way to form a “one who [verb]s” noun?

In English, I can take just about any verb (for example to crush), and form a noun which means "one who [does that verb]" by adding -er (for example, crusher). Is there a similar formulaic alteration ...
4
votes
4answers
562 views
2
votes
2answers
125 views

Individuell/Individual- and Generell/General- Phenomena

Can a native German speaker kindly explain this horrible inconsequence in his language? An adjective generell but a noun die Generalprobe Another example... An adjective individuell but a noun die ...
2
votes
1answer
218 views

Is there a rapid online access to “feste Nomen-Präposition bzw. -Verb Verbindungen”?

Is it me, or is it difficult to find online, in dictionaries and so on, all the information about a "feste Nomen-Präposition Verbindungen"? Suppose you are writing in German and, for sake of ...