I stumbled over the term "Hesse-Matrix". A matrix is a mathematical object and a Hesse-Matrix is a particular matrix named after mathematician Ludwig Otto Hesse.

My first question is whether this requires the spelling "Hesse-Matrix" or whether "Hessematrix" and "Hesse Matrix" would also be admissible?

Furthermore, I noticed that some people (especially in spoken German) tend to use this term in the following sense "in der Hess(e)schen-Matrix stehen nur Nullen." instead of "in der Hesse-Matrix stehen nur Nullen."

So I am not sure about the particular spelling, since this refers especially to spoken German, but people often tend to put a 'schen' after the name. Is there any meaningful reason why one would do that?

  • 6
    Not "Hesse Matrix" Compare: Deppenleerzeichen (in German). Ironically this seems to be "the subject of the day...
    – Stephie
    Jul 5 '15 at 23:18
  • 1
    thanks for referring to this article with Deppenleerzeichen instead of Leerzeichen in Komposita :-) Jul 5 '15 at 23:21
  • no offense! It's just the term which gives the most hillarious results when googling. And there is always deppenleerzeichen.de
    – Stephie
    Jul 5 '15 at 23:29

Hessesche Matrix and Hesse-Matrix are synonyms. As for the spelling, you need the hyphen, because Hesse is a proper name. And you cannot omit it, since, as mentioned, it would be a Deppen Leer Zeichnen.

See also this question.

  • how do you explain that Hessesche Matrix and Hesse-Matrix are synonyms? Is there a rule behind it? Jul 5 '15 at 23:20
  • @Godofgramma Aren't synonyms Hessian matrix and Hessian in English? (well that's not the conclusion). But that's not one of the terms you find in a dictionary. However Wikipedia has the entry: de.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    – c.p.
    Jul 5 '15 at 23:22
  • yes, but I would like to understand the underlying German grammar rule. Cause this means you can always replace things like Thüringer-Würstchen by Thüringersche Würstschen. Why? Jul 5 '15 at 23:23
  • 5
    @Godofgramma: You are misunderstanding something here, and now also mixing completely different things. Thüringer Würstchen are not named after a Mr Thüringer.
    – chirlu
    Jul 6 '15 at 0:17
  • According to the official orthographic rules, one should write either Hesse'sche Matrix or hessesche Matrix (note the apostrophe when capitalized). Jul 24 '20 at 20:25

“Hessesch” is an adjective derived from the name „Hesse“. In the English language the same meaning is often conveyed with a genitive (though not in this case, where “hessian” is used): das Vernersche Gesetz, Verner's law. This is actually an in my opinion grammatically better construction than „Hessematrix“ (or with hyphen, never two words), but it can be perceived as old-fashioned.

Other examples: grimmsches Wörterbuch, merkelsche Raute.

  • 1
    It's not a genitive; the genitive of the name Hesse is Hesses. Instead, it is an adjective derived from the name.
    – chirlu
    Jul 6 '15 at 0:13
  • despite grammatically maybe not 100% correct, I would also have said that "Hessesche" confers ownership, which makes at least the meaning quite similar to a genitiv.
    – Gerhard
    Jul 6 '15 at 7:04
  • @chirlu, better now? Thanks for the feedback.
    – Carsten S
    Jul 6 '15 at 8:21
  • 1
    Creating adjectives turns the (proper) nouns into adjectives and hence means that they are no longer capitalised in German. Note the differences: Hesse-Matrix, hessesche Matrix, Hesse’sche Matrix
    – Jan
    Jul 15 '15 at 19:46
  • 1
    @c.p. Stimmt, wenn beide Teile als Einheit gesehen werden können, kann man auch das erste Adjektiv großschreiben. Wie auch das Rote Kreuz. Wann die Fügung als Einheit gesehen wird, liegt im Auge des Betrachters, und es ist gerade bei den Eigennamenadjektiven nur selten falsch, sie kleinzuschreiben. »Das rote Kreuz versorgt Verletzte« klingt allerdings wie ein Kindercomic, in dem ein personalisiertes Kreuz mit Augen und Händen herumhüpft ;)
    – Jan
    Jul 15 '15 at 20:08

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