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Compare:

              Plural definite:    Plural indefinite:

Nominativ:    die Äpfel           Äpfel
Genitiv:      der Äpfel           Äpfel
Dativ:        den Äpfeln          Äpfeln
Akkusativ:    die Äpfel           Äpfel

http://dict.leo.org/ende/index_de.html#/search=Äpfel

              Plural definite:    Plural indefinite:
Nominativ:    die Männer          Männer
Genitiv:      der Männer          Männern <-- THIS
Dativ:        den Männern         Männern
Akkusativ:    die Männer          Männer

http://dict.leo.org/ende/index_de.html#/search=Mann

Why does Männer acquire an -n ending in the indefinite genitive, but Äpfel doesn't?

May 17 The error was not in the source. Take a look at this link: http://www.welt.de/vermischtes/article3011942/Wenn-Frauen-toeten-dann-oft-wegen-der-Maenner.html

wegen is a preposition that always takes the genitive. In the title the definite plural form (wegen der Männer) is used, but later in the article the indefinite plural form (wegen Männern) is used.

I'd still very much like an explanation of why the definite and indefinite forms differ in this case, as I haven't been able to find an answer anywhere.

  • Could you please add the source where you found these declination tables? I followed your links but couldn't find them. – boaten Feb 23 '16 at 21:02
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    This seems wrong to me. – Carsten S Feb 23 '16 at 21:09
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    @boaten, da ist links neben dem Abspielicon für die Aussprache noch ein weiteres Icon, das vielleicht ein Buch oder eine Tabelle symbolisiert. – Carsten S Feb 23 '16 at 21:11
  • @CarstenS Ah, danke. – boaten Feb 23 '16 at 21:12
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    When would you use that form anyway? "Ich gedenke der Männer" - "Ich gedenke Männer[n]"? -" Ich bedarf der Männer" - "Ich bedarf Männer[n]". They all sound weird anyway, but probably more so because the genitive is getting out of fashion. – Hagen von Eitzen Feb 23 '16 at 21:37
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It doesn’t; it’s an error in your source. Canoonet, e.g., correctly has Männer.


Regarding your addition of wegen Männern: The problem here is in your assumption that “wegen is a preposition that always takes the genitive”. This is wrong; in fact, the dative is arguably more common in spoken language, and there are certain cases where dative is used even in standard language, of which this is one. See again Canoonet for the details.

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    The question concerns indefinite nouns though. (I agree with you, but your link doesn't answer the question.) – boaten Feb 23 '16 at 21:15
  • Is the indefinite plural form ever different from the definite one? – Carsten S Feb 23 '16 at 21:16
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    @Carsten S: Only for adjectives-turned-nouns, such as Angestellter (die Angestellten, einige Angestellte). – chirlu Feb 23 '16 at 21:27
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Well, I do have the answer now. The genitive indefinite plural of Mann is indeed Männer and not Männern, but the dative is used instead when the genitive is not apparent (die Autos Männern, not die Autos Männer). The same with Äpfel.

Leo was at fault here. The entries for Mann, Wald and Gott all give the dative instead of the genitive form in indefinite plural.

  • May I wonder in what way this is different from my answer above? :-) – chirlu May 20 '16 at 14:13

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