1

I am learning German with a teacher in Braunschweig. Although she is native and very experienced in German teaching, sometimes her suggestion was not the same as those in our textbook, which was just published in these two years. For example, she told us that the plural form of "der Cappuccino" is "die Cappuccinos", but the textbook suggested to say "die Cappuccini". Does it mean that one of them was wrong? If an usage can be wrong, is there a standard or official version of German grammar?

  • 5
    Die Cappucini is German hipster italian slang. The German German is die Cappucinos. – Janka Apr 20 '17 at 15:32
  • It works the other way around, too. How would you react if someone spoke of "Spaghetto" when referring to a single noodle? Cappucinos is the Germanized plural which all but displaced the original Italian one Cappucini. How old is that textbook? – Chieron Apr 21 '17 at 7:46
  • @Chieron There is nothing wrong with "spaghetto". – Eller Apr 21 '17 at 9:24
  • @Janka Ich finde, "Cappucini" bringt Varianz in die Sprachmelodie. Aber leider legen viele Leute keinen Wert auf schöne und richtige Sprache... scnr – jonathan.scholbach Apr 21 '17 at 12:35
  • 1
    Du kannst gerne "Cappucini" sagen soviel du willst. Am besten man macht das (als Nicht-Italiener) in München, dann halten einen nicht nur die Deutschen, sondern auch die dortigen Italiener für bekloppt. – Janka Apr 21 '17 at 12:49
5

This is still a democratic society, and there is no such a thing as an "official" German grammar. However, the Duden dictionary has a status of being the accepted reference book for spelling. Duden however is not so much normative, rather descriptive: a word or spelling that is around long enough will eventually make it into the Duden.

In Duden. Deutsches Universalwörterbuch A-Z, (1816 pages, ed. 1989) you find:

Cappuccino, der; [-s], -[s] [ital. cappucino, zu: cappuccio = Kapuze, nach der Farbe der Kutte, die von Kapuzinermönchen getragen wird].

You may also use Cappuccini, but you would probably do this only when you want to display your knowledge of Italian. Or you are in an Italian restaurant and say:

Due cappuccini, prego!

But attention! When you are in a restaurant or pub and you want to order multiple of them (using German, by way of variation) you may simply say

Zwei [drei, vier... hundert] Cappuccino bitte!

without making a mistake. This is like

Zwei Bier bitte!

as opposed to

*Zwei Biere bitte!

which would be the "logical" form, but nobody says this.

  • 1
    Duden Online actually lists Cappuccino, Cappuccinos and Cappuccini as plural forms of Cappuccino. I must agree though, that you will only hear Cappuccini used in a German sentence, if the speaker for some reason find it important to emphasize that he has learned some basic Italian grammar on the last holiday in Italy. – jarnbjo Apr 20 '17 at 16:23
  • You earned my +1 already with the first sentence. :-) – jonathan.scholbach Apr 20 '17 at 17:11
  • Now my Italian mate Enzo says, no, of course not, you say "due cappuccino" or "due espresso". So in German you say "zwei Espresso" or "zwei Cappuccino". Because you'd also say "zwei Kaffee" or "zwei Schnitzel". – RedSonja Feb 16 '18 at 14:13

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.