4

This question also has an answer here (in German):
Grammatik von „zu meiner Reisen“?

In Herder’s poem Das Leben we have:

Ein Traum, ein Traum ist unser Leben
Auf Erden hier …

Erde is feminine and does not seem to fall into any of the “weak” noun categories that get an -n suffix in every case except the nominative.

Auf takes the dative or the accusative, but Leo declines Erde without an -n in either case.

What’s the explanation?

  • 2
    Siehe woerterbuchnetz.de/DWB/?lemma=Erde, Punkt 6. – Carsten S Aug 22 '16 at 14:13
  • Welcome to German Language Stack Exchange. Since you already took the tour, all that remains is to point you towards the help center where everything about the site itself will be answered. – Jan Aug 22 '16 at 14:34
  • @Jan ich glaube das hatten wir schon mal, aber ich finde es einfach nicht mehr! – Ludi Aug 22 '16 at 15:49
  • @Ludi Falls es noch auftaucht, können wir uns immer noch aussuchen, welche Seite die schönere Dublette ist ;) – Jan Aug 22 '16 at 15:57
  • 1
    @Jan: Keine Dublette, da in verschiedenen Sprachen. :-) – chirlu Aug 22 '16 at 16:05
3

That is not Akkusativ, but Dativ. This form was more common in the past and survives in some constructions, such as:

Auf Seiten, Auf Erden, in Sachen, von der Weiden (last name)

as well as in regional expressions:

Auf der Wiesen

Examples help us grasp that no plural is involved. Consider these:

Die Hölle auf Erden. / Hell on Earth.

Nobody is interested in imaginary new Earths here! Similarly, take this example from Wiktionary:

Die Mitbischöfe Anselms standen in dieser Auseinandersetzung mehrheitlich auf Seiten des Königs. / The majority of Anselms fellow bishops sided with the king in this disagreement.

Again, the king's side is one and is contrasted with his adversary's side. Nobody talks of multiple sides (left and right) of the king here!

Other cases, where I am not absolutely sure a singular is involved, are:

zu Schanden kommen, zu Ehren kommen, , zu Ehren (z.B. des Königs)

|improve this answer|||||
  • 1
    I believe that in colloquial speaking in e.g. Austria, this is still common practice: "Auf der anderen Seiten" – Beta Aug 23 '16 at 5:41
1

In modern Standard German there's no weak declension of feminin nouns, that's correct. At the beginning of Modern High German this declension category was extinguished.

However, Standard German and Bavarian High German (Dialect people mostly speak in Austria and Bavaria, too) chose to handle this differently.

When in Standard German we talk about ›die Wiese‹, the Dialect says ›die Wiesn‹ (without e!), which is of course no plural.

Nom. die Erde --> de Erdn | Gen. der Erde --> *da Erdn | Dat. der Erde --> da Erdn | Akk. die Erde --> de Erdn

Luther translated the Bible with ›auf Himmel und Erden‹ when there was no plural in the original version. He probably used the other declension category –– as there was no solidified Standard German at that time.

I guess in established phrases it stayed like that: auf Erden, auf Seiten, zu Ehren, … (as the other answer pointed out already)

|improve this answer|||||

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.