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I came across an amazing aria called "Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen". It is sung by the Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte), an opera by Mozart.

I don't understand why the phrase "in meinem Herzen" is used here.

  • Since Herzen is the plural form of das Herz, is it implying that the Queen of the Night has multiple hearts?
  • Additionally, I'm fairly confident that this phrase is in the Dativ case. If so, why is meinem used instead of meinen?

edit: here's what I thought: this phrase is Dativ and Herzen indicates plural, so it is similar to "mit meinen Kindern". I didn't see why "meinem" is used instead, but that now I know that Herzen is singular Dativ, the phrase makes more sense. Thanks!

PS: I'm a beginner in learning German. I hope that this question doesn't sound too strange.

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Herzen is not only the plural (in all cases), but the dative singular form, too. It belongs to a group of nouns called “weak”; see, e.g., German for English speakers or canoonet.

  • So would it be wrong to say "in meinem Herz" in this context? What about if Herz was being used in a less metaphorical way, such as describing a medical condition related to the heart, would "in meinem Herzen" still be used? – jessica Apr 5 '16 at 10:07
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    @Jessica in meinem Herz is also correct, the longer form Herzen is somewhat old-fashioned and poetic. In a medical context, I'd be surprised to hear Herzen instead of Herz. – Chieron Apr 5 '16 at 10:12
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    @Chieron: Normale Flussmuster am fetalen Herzen (2012), Myokardrevaskularisation bei hochgradig eingeschränkter linksventrikulärer Funktion (2004; „beim chronisch ischämischen Herzen des Menschen“, „welches normalerweise im Herzen nur in (…) gefunden wird“, „Myokardszintigraphie am gesunden Herzen“ usw.), Herzchirurgie: Die Eingriffe am Herzen und an den herznahen Gefäßen (2010), … – chirlu Apr 5 '16 at 10:46
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    @Chieron, I disagree. I would always say "Herzen". – Iris Apr 5 '16 at 10:48
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    @Pollitzer: Why are you speaking about unrelated other words now? (Even if they happen to rhyme with Herz.) – chirlu Apr 5 '16 at 11:23
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Herzen is singular dative. There is the alternative form Herz (Wiktionary, Duden), but dictionaries attribute this mainly to medical use (also Duden above).

And since it is singular and dative, the meinem should not be surprising any more.

  • I've edited the question! Hopefully I explained my dilemma better this time. Thank you for the links. – jessica Apr 5 '16 at 10:23
  • @Jessica, ah, I see. – Carsten S Apr 5 '16 at 10:29

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