When studying vocabulary, I have noticed some variations in the formation of compound nouns:

  • Wirtschaft s wunder - an s is added between the two nouns. (Other examples: Alter s gruppe, Abteilung s leiter.)
  • Familienbrunch - the singular of the second noun is glued to the plural of the first noun. (Other examples: Stundenplan, Studentenleben, Flötenstunde.)
  • Traumberuf - the two nouns are simply brought together. (Other examples: Theaterkarte, Südpol, Südseeinsel, Grußformel.)

and there are probably other patterns I'm missing. I was wondering if there are any (rough?) guidelines for constructing compound nouns; have any regularities been observed? I'd also appreciate a reference, since I don't mind digging deeper into this issue :-)

EDIT: In response to comment; s is not possessive.

  • 1
    The Fugen-s is no possessive s anymore: The fact that it is used too with nouns whose genitive doesn't end in -s (Nom. die Wirtschaft, Gen. der Wirtschaft; no s here) shows that it has become a pure Fugenelement.
    – Chris
    Oct 9, 2014 at 0:11
  • Also read german.stackexchange.com/questions/942/… with additional interesting information.
    – Takkat
    Oct 9, 2014 at 5:59
  • If German is a foreign language for you you have to learn that there is no sure rule that would help you to handle this problem. You have to learn compound nouns that consist of two nouns just as you learn simple nouns.
    – rogermue
    Oct 10, 2014 at 18:18


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