43
votes
12answers
2k views

How can a native English speaker know when it is appropriate to use the polite (Sie) or the familiar (Du)?

In a language such as English, where there are no "built-in" (so to say) polite and familiar forms, what are some simple tips or guidelines for when to use the polite or the familiar forms? Are there ...
15
votes
3answers
564 views

Is there a rule which preposition to use for a place?

Is there a rule for choosing between the prepositions zu, in, bei, nach, an for a special place or does one have to memorize all of them? For example: Beim Arzt An den See Nach Berlin Zur ...
15
votes
10answers
808 views

In welchen Regionen ist die dem-sein-Form gebräuchlich?

Als Alternative zum Genitiv gibt es das dem-sein-Konstrukt. (Keine Ahnung, wie man es sonst nennen sollte): Der Frau ihre Handtasche. Dem Fritz sein Schwager. Wo ist diese Form gebräuchlich?
67
votes
15answers
5k 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 ...
17
votes
1answer
823 views

Gibt es Rotwelsch mittlerweile auch in der gehobenen Sprache?

Als Rotwelsch wird schon im Mittelalter die Geheimsprache der Gauner und Bettler bezeichnet. Mittlerweile sind viele Ausdrücke des Rotwelschen fester Bestandteil der deutschen Umgangssprache geworden: ...
9
votes
8answers
1k views

Resources for learning German

Since they have same questions on different language learning SE websites(resources for learning Russian), I'd like to write one for German language since it's a great idea to have all kinds of ...
36
votes
8answers
1k views

Wonach richtet sich das Geschlecht eines Anglizismus?

Wenn ich das Geschlecht eines Anglizismus bestimmen muss orientiere ich mich an 3 Gegebenheiten: Hat das Wort ein echtes Geschlecht (the mare, die Stute)? Welches Geschlecht hat die Übersetzung im ...
20
votes
3answers
1k views

Why no perfect participle? “Sie hat sich scheiden lassen”

Sie hat sich gestern von ihm scheiden lassen. This sentence uses the infinitive lassen instead of the perfect participle gelassen. Which grammatical rule causes this?
22
votes
10answers
1k views

How is the ending -ig pronounced, and where?

I've heard the following alternatives for pronouncing the ending -ig of words like fertig and lustig: /ɪç/ (as in mich) /ɪʃ/ (as in Fisch) /ɪg/ /ɪk/ Where are the different pronunciations used? ...
8
votes
4answers
499 views

Why is there a definite article precedent to a name?

I was talking to a native German speaker and he tends to introduce himself like this: Ich bin der Philipp. Why "der"?
12
votes
2answers
246 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 ...
43
votes
34answers
17k views

Simple but interesting German literature

This question is present as a matter of historical interest. While you are encouraged to help maintain its answers, please understand that "big list" questions are not generally allowed on German ...
29
votes
8answers
2k views

Is it still good form to use a capital D for Du or Dir in a letter?

I was taught (several decades ago) to write a capital D for all pronouns such as Du, Dir, Deine, when writing to my German penpals. I am afraid it would look antiquated or very formal these days. Is ...
24
votes
2answers
1k views

Where is exactly the position of “nicht” in the sentence?

A question came to my mind while I was reading a conversation in German: Ich bin krank, Ich kann nicht einkaufen. Ich kann nicht mit Jonas zum Arzt gehen. Ich kann Anna nicht in den ...
32
votes
19answers
2k views

What are good online dictionaries for translation between German and English?

What are good online dictionaries for translation between German and English?
10
votes
15answers
2k views

What is a good way to start learning German?

There is already a question that asks for free resource for learning German. However, I would like to know what resources are good for learning German regardless of their cost. The online sources ...
21
votes
5answers
3k views

What is the correct way to denote a quotation in German?

In English quoted text is normally written in speech marks, "like this," or occasionally 'like this.' However on this site I have seen people writing German quotes like »this« and „this” What is the ...
14
votes
1answer
357 views

Beugt man jemand oder niemand mit Endung?

Diese Wörter und ihre Varianten findet man ja in vielen Büchern endungslos gebeugt, zum Beispiel: Ich habe jemand gesehen. Ist das niemand aufgefallen? Dies ist absolut korrekt, klingt für mich ...
20
votes
4answers
902 views

Is there a rule that dictates whether to use the eszett (scharfes S) or double s?

It's clear in the case of compound nouns, double s should be used e.g. Bundesstraße, but with other words I cannot see a pattern. To me it appears to be used somewhat randomly, e.g.: besser ...
11
votes
7answers
3k views

How is “ch” pronounced correctly?

I'm interested (or rather "re-interested") in learning German. When I looked up some basic lessons to get myself started, I found this on about.com. If you click on any of those words, you can hear ...
11
votes
1answer
153 views

Grammaticality of “original italienisches Eis”

Something you will often find is a phrase like the one given in the title: original italienisches Eis. What kind of word is original here though? An adverb? Shouldn't this phrase either read ...
3
votes
4answers
187 views

Online dictionary where I can search for second half of compound noun

For example die Wertsachen, I want to find all words which end in die Sache. Other example, nouns ending in -gerät or -dienst?
22
votes
3answers
888 views

Free online resources for beginner course

Along the lines of the same question on French Language & Usage, what are good, free online resources for an English-speaker to learn German properly from scratch? Ideally, important areas such ...
17
votes
5answers
3k views

Where can I find a parsable list of German words?

I'm looking for a list of German words in a digital format that is simple and easy to parse by a computer. It should encompass almost all words, but it doesn't matter whether inflections are included. ...
23
votes
4answers
11k views

When to use Perfekt and Präteritum?

What's the guideline as to when to use Perfekt and Präteritum? I was always taught that the simplest rule is Präteritum (mostly) for written forms, and Perfekt is most common in spoken language. But ...
19
votes
4answers
2k views

What's the difference in usage between “machen” and “tun”?

Is there any rules or guidelines when to use which one? Du darfst mir nicht sagen, was ich machen soll. or Du darfst mir nicht sagen, was ich tun soll. I find a big overlap in their usage: ...
6
votes
2answers
157 views

Welchen Fall benutzt man mit Phrasen wie “last year”?

Zum Beispiel im englischen Satz "Last year I visited Germany.", welchen Fall benutzt man? Letztes Jahr habe ich Deutschland besucht. Letztem Jahr habe ich Deutschland besucht. Ich glaube ...
6
votes
5answers
3k views

German dictionary with detailed declensions, audio pronunciations, and IPA

I'm looking for a German dictionary that'll give me the following things for, of course, as many words as possible: Audio files of pronunciation. IPA. All declensions. The definition of the word in ...
3
votes
1answer
385 views

Audio Aussprachewörterbuch für “offline usage” für das iPad?

Ich brauche akustische Ausspracheangaben (audio pronunciations) fürs iPad; auch für "offline usage". Chats zum Thema hier und hier. Wo finde ich solche? P.s. Ich versuche auch ein ...
14
votes
6answers
5k views

Wann schreibt man Zahlen aus?

Es scheint, dass man (in einem nicht-akademischen Kontext) nur kleine Zahlen mit Buchstaben ausschreibt. Wo liegt die Grenze? Hängt es vom Kontext ab? Ich habe drei Hunde und 24 Spinnen.
13
votes
2answers
2k views

“Du hast da noch ein Bier zu stehen” - richtig oder falsch?

In Berlin und Umgebung ist es üblich, Infinitive mit “zu” zu versehen, wenn es darum geht, einen Zustand bzw. eine aktuelle Lage zu beschreiben, etwa wie: “du hast deinen Taschenrechner noch ...
10
votes
5answers
337 views

Benutzt man Artikel mit Toponymen?

Muss, darf, oder darf man nicht Artikel mit Toponymen benutzen? Ich wohne in der Maxvorstadt. Er geht in die Studentenstadt. Kommst du aus der Hamburg?
13
votes
3answers
625 views

“Gedownloadet” oder “downgeloadet”?

Windows gibt gerade ersteres aus nach einem Update. Gibts hier eine grammatikalische Regel die Windows kennt aber ich nicht? Intuitiv habe ich bisher immer downgeloadet verwendet, wahrscheinlich wegen ...
5
votes
2answers
419 views

When do we capitalize numbers or fractions?

When do we have to capitalize numbers or fractions of a number or a quantity when writing them out like in Sie hatten erst drei Viertel/drei viertel/Drei Viertel des Weges zurückgelegt. Es ist ...
4
votes
3answers
524 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?
13
votes
3answers
306 views

Schibboleths für verschiedene norddeutsche Regionen?

Schibboleths sind Wörter, anhand deren Aussprache man die Herkunft des Sprechers zuordnen kann. Ganz allgemeines Beispiel für Muttersprachler vs. Ausländer: "Streichholzschächtelchen". Für den ...
28
votes
2answers
457 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 ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

Why it is “Eines Tages” and not simply “ein Tag”?

In a story I read recently, there was a sentence: Eines Tages fand Peter eine Schatzkarte! And I wonder why it is "Eines Tages" and not "ein Tag", because "ein Tag" is what I would say normally. ...
14
votes
3answers
524 views

“Der Dativ ist dem Genitiv sein Tod”: is German really loosing Genitiv? (Evolutionary viewpoint)

"Der Dativ ist dem Genitiv sein Tod" is an interesting German phrase which originates this question. I'm interested in knowing how true is it/will it be. Has German always had four cases? Or were ...
11
votes
1answer
714 views

Warum Infinitiv anstatt Partizip-Perfekt? (“Ich habe dich gar nicht kommen gehört” vs “Ich habe dich gar nicht kommen hören”) [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why no perfect participle? “Sie hat sich scheiden lassen” Die folgende Frage kommt von dem Einstufungstest des Goethe Instituts. Die richtige Antwort ist a) ...
18
votes
4answers
545 views

Why use Konjunktiv I in mathematics?

Konjunktiv I is mostly used for indirect speech and wishes. The following sentence is neither. Die Funktionen ψ_n(x) seien Eigenfunktionen eines Hamiltonoperators Ĥ. Why is the Konjunktiv I used ...
11
votes
3answers
6k views

Sind „Ich denke, dass [Nebensatz]“ und „Ich denke, [Hauptsatz]“ auswechselbar?

Gibt es einen Unterschied zwischen den folgenden Konstruktionen? Ich denke, dass die Katze süß ist. Ich denke, die Katze ist süß. Sind sie immer auswechselbar, oder hängt es vom ...
5
votes
2answers
878 views

Looking for comprehensive, parsable table of conjugated German nouns

I'm looking for a reasonably comprehensive, and "script-parseable", list/table of German nouns with their conjugations (the four cases for all applicable forms). I.e., the desired information for ...
3
votes
1answer
534 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 ...
18
votes
6answers
392 views

Articles in real life

I have a question about articles in German. Is it ok to drop them from a sentence? For example, is this a weird sentence? Ich war in Schule. or Ich gehe in Schule. In Polish there is no ...
15
votes
3answers
205 views

To which extent should repetitions of “der”, “die” and “das” be avoided?

When I speak, it often happens that pronoun/article homonyms crop up after each other. So viele Katzen! Ich mag die, die den Hut trägt. Ich mag die, die die Mütze trägt. Welches ...
14
votes
5answers
535 views

Is it an error when I do not use ß when it is necessary?

I'm living in a German-speaking country where ß is not used at all. Therefore, I do not use ß when I write German texts. Now I'm asking myself if this is technically a spelling error? Or is the ß more ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the equivalent of “boyfriend” in German?

In English when a man is in a relationship with another man, he can say he's his boyfriend. In German, saying "Freund" when both are of the same sex is usually understood to mean the equivalent of ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Differences between “Klausur”, “Prüfung” and “Examen”

Is there any differences in usage between Klausur, Prüfung, Examen, Test*, and (Klassen)arbeit*? * Edit: added more synonyms based on answers below.
7
votes
2answers
178 views

“Hin” und “her”: Von wessen Standpunkt?

Wenn jemand Deutsch zu lernen anfängt, erklärt man ihm den Unterschied zwischen hin- und her- : Sitze ich in meinem Büro, so rufe ich Kommen sie bitte herein! Stehe ich aber außerhalb des ...

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