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In this video: https://youtu.be/HxctJzSADPI?t=2m18s there appears the sentence "Manchen Leuten macht Mathe Spaß." Since "Leute" is already plural, I don't understand the usage of "Leuten" here.

closed as off-topic by Carsten S, Jan, Ludi, guidot, Em1 Aug 21 '16 at 20:06

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    "Leuten" is the plural dative of "Leute" not the nominative plural of "Leute" which, as you say, is "Leute" already. – Deve Aug 21 '16 at 13:10
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    Welcome. Are you aware of the process of declension? – Ludi Aug 21 '16 at 15:18
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    @CarstenS & Co: Sagt mal Leute, habt Ihr Angst davor, dass hier zu viele Fragen gestellt werden oder was? Oder warum drängt es euch so heftig, möglichst viele Fragen zu schließen? In German-SE werden täglich nur 4,2 Fragen gestellt. area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/18413/german-language meint dazu: "Needs Work – 10 questions per day on average is a healthy beta, 5 questions or fewer per day needs some work. A healthy site generates lots of good content to make sure users keep coming back." – Hubert Schölnast Aug 21 '16 at 16:34
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    @HubertSchölnast, Deine Antwort zeigt, dass auch Du meinst, dass die Frage nur zeigt, dass der OP irgendwie den Satz nicht verstanden hat. Das genügt nicht für eine gute Frage. Dass diese Site zu wenige solcher hat, ist dabei unerheblich. – Carsten S Aug 21 '16 at 16:53
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    Nein, ich habe eher … »Angst« ist das falsche Wort … davor, dass man irgendwann auf der ersten Seite nur drei, vier interessante Fragen aber 15 langweilige, billige, Ich-bin-zu-faul-Grammatik-zu-lernen-Fragen stehen, wie das gut und gerne bei Chemie drüben der Fall ist. Wir wollen eine Frage- und Antwortseite für »Experten« sein, und die finden solche Fragen oft langweilig. – Jan Aug 21 '16 at 17:13
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You are right, Leute is a plurale tantum, i.e. a word that only exists in the plural. But that does not mean that it can't be declined.

This is the declension of »Leute«:

  • nominative: die Leute (Die Leute schlafen.) (The people sleep. or: The people are sleeping.)
  • genitive: der Leute (Die Kleider der Leute sind schön.) (The people's clothes are beautiful.)
  • dative: den Leuten (Die Kleider gehören den Leuten.) (The clothes belong to the people.)
  • accusative: die Leute (Ich sehe die Leute.) (I see the people.)

As you can see, in dative case there is an extra n at the end of Leute: den Leuten.


Now let's analyse your example sentence:

manchen Leuten = dative object
macht = predicate
Mathe = subject (in nominative case)
Spaß = accusative object

Maybe you are used to have the subject on position 1 of the sentence, like in this sentence:

Mathe macht manchen Leuten Spaß.

This is correct too, but German has a much more flexible word order, so, as long as you leave the predicate on position 2, you can do almost everything. (Well, not really everything, but much more than in english.) In German you don't identify the logical parts of a sentence by its position within the sentence, but by its grammatical case.

  • Example:

    Der Bauer verfolgt den Stier. = The farmer chases the bull.
    Den Bauer verfolgt der Stier. = The bull chases the farmer.

    Den Stier verfolgt der Bauer. = The farmer chases the bull.
    Der Stier verfolgt den Bauer. = The bull chases the farmer.

The subject in your sentence is the thing that makes fun, and this of course is mathematics. So »Mathe« (short form of »Mathematik«) is the subject and therefore has to be in nominate case.

»Spaß« (fun) is the thing that is made by mathematics. An object that is made by something else has to be used in accusative case (the verb »machen« demands accusative case), and this object is fun (Spaß).

People (die Leute) is the object to whom something is made. They receive the fun. And when ever an object receives something you use dative case (the name dative comes from latin »do« which means »to give«, so dative is the giving-to-case). So in German you have to say »den Leuten«.

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