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Is it common in German to use "twelve-hundred" (Zwölfhundert) to convey the integer 1,200 (say "that'll be $1200 please"), or is it more usual to say "one-thousand-two-hundred" (eintausendzweihundert) instead?

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4 Answers 4

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For years in the range 1100 to 1999 the "zwölfhundert" variant is common in Germany:

The house was built in the year 1980.

Das Haus wurde im Jahr neunzehnhundertachtzig gebaut.

The variant "tausendzweihundert" is very, very uncommon for years in that range.

The variant "zwölfhundert" sometimes is used for other things but it is uncommon when not speaking about the date of a year. The "tausendzweihundert" variant is used in these cases:

1980 years have been passed since then.

Seither sind tausendneunhundertundachtzig Jahre vergangen.

1980 people live in the house.

Im Haus leben tausendneunhundertundachtzig Leute.

.

eins Tausend zwei hundert

There are two possible ways to write this word:

  • eintausendzweihundert (without the "s" between "ein" and "tausend")
  • tausendzweihundert (the "ein" is implicit)

EDIT

Sometimes you hear the "zwölfhundert" variant when not speaking about a date of a year. Indeed I have already heared people saying this when talking about a price.

However it is quite uncommon and I never heared persons using this variant when the number is not a multiple of 100 (when not speaking about dates).

Therefore I think people using this variant use it when they want to give a rough estimation (by rounding the number to the next 100).

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  • On of the very special cases, zwölfhundert is used instead of tausendzweihundert is for the ratings of chess players (and maybe other sports with rating numbers that high).
    – Toscho
    Aug 11, 2017 at 21:12
  • Vielleicht noch ein Hinweis zur Zusammenschreibung? Zum Groß-/Klein? Aug 11, 2017 at 22:47
  • @userunknown Leider bin ich mir bei der Schreibweise von "Zahlenworten" nicht sicher und ich habe im Internet auch unterschiedliche Aussagen hierzu gefunden. "duden.de" schreibt die Wörter zusammen und klein, weswegen ich das auch getan habe. Aug 12, 2017 at 5:52
  • It's not the range between 1100 and 1999, but between 1200 and 1300 (dreizehntes Jhd.)!!
    – Ludi
    Aug 12, 2017 at 8:44
  • @Ludi I'm referring to the entire "scheme": "number above ten" followed by "hundert" such as "siebzehnhundert", not only to "zwölfhundert". Aug 12, 2017 at 8:47
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In my experience it's not so common anymore. In your example, $1200, one would rather say eintausendzweihundert or tausendzweihundert. When someone says "zwölfhundert", it is usually in informal speech, and more in the sense of a rounded or estimated number rather than an exact number.

The use of it probably originated in special contexts where things were/are weighed or counted in units of hundreds and numbers usually stay under 2000.

Only when giving an exact year A.C. zwölfhundert-, dreizehnhundert-, etc. is common.

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Yes, it is common. And yes, one way of saying it is probably just about as common as the other.

Caveat, however: In some languages (like English, for example) it is common to name the hundreds beyond 19 - Like "twentyone-hundred". This is not used in German, normally. "neunzehnhundert" is about the highest number we would express in "Hundert", everything beyond that would be expressed in "Tausend".

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    No, it's not common, except for years and very special applications.
    – Toscho
    Aug 11, 2017 at 21:10
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    Willkommen im 21. Jahrhundert. Aug 11, 2017 at 22:45
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    @Toscho, für glatte Hunderterwerte ist es durchaus auch üblich. Z.B. fünfzehnhundert Euro oder sechzehnhundert Kilometer. Bei Zahlen mit Zehner- oder Einerstelle aber eher nicht.
    – Gerhardh
    Aug 12, 2017 at 17:33
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    "Mein Vater macht fünfzehnhundert am Tag" funktioniert prima (und würde ich auch gerne sagen können...)
    – tofro
    Aug 12, 2017 at 18:17
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"Twelvehundred" = Zwölfhundert is used different than in English. In German Hochdeutsch = High German, we use Tvelvehundred just when we are talking about centuries, like for example: 1260 Zwölfhundertsechzig, or Zwölften Jahrhundert, 12th century. We also say 600 "Sechshundert vor christus" which literally means sixhundred before jesus christ. 1867 we say "Achtzehnhundertsiebenundsechzig" = eighteenhundredsixtyseven, and we just use that when talking about years, dates ago.

But as we now are in 2022 we usually say "Zweitausendzweiundzwanzig" = Twothousandtwentytwo literally. But as English is making such a huge impact in our German language, a mix between German and English slang arised, that we call Denglisch, so in English it would be like Denglish, D = Deutsch (German) + English. Because we use English words in German, so the Germans started to say "Es macht keinen Sinn" (It makes no sense), instead of saying it the correct German way "Es ergibt keinen Sinn". Machen is just the same word as makes, but in this context the verb "ergeben" in "Es ergibt keinen Sinn" is the right way of speaking High German (the correct form of German). It would be almost literally translated as like "It gives no sense", which is not English, but just to know the difference between them.

The same way as many other English words came to our Denglish slang language like Cringe (Fremdschämen), gedownloaded (herunterladen), geuploaded (hochladen) arrived, Note: Words here in () are High German, so the way of saying and writing it correctly.

And as many English words arrived to our Denglish slang language, other German people started to say "Zwölfhundert Euro" instead of (Tausendzweihundert Euro), maybe because they prefer the English way of saying it? But I for my part feel this a really akward way of saying a number with Euros. Through the German Influencers on many social medias they started to say 400k (Vierhundert Kah) = fourhundred kay, for fourhundred thousand viewers. This was also taken from the English and american speaking community on Youtube. Usually Teenagers speak Denglish, but there are more and more German Youtubers, starting to talk like that and then they can not even speak correct German.

For example a German Youtuber called Rezo said "Ich habe es gemisst", he actually wanted to say I have missed it, but the error is that "gemisst" comes from the verb "messen" and it means "to measure", so it doesn't make any sense what he was talking about. So he said "I have measured it" instead of saying "Ich habe es vermisst". Yes, because "vermisst" means "missed", so he wanted to say "I have missed it.

Such errors appear all the time on Youtube, and I as a native German speaker I can detect easily a German grammar error and the words they use like "rant" but with other different meanings, like "giving an opinion, talking too much about weird things without having any reason for what they're saying." So it has the same meaning as in English "to rant", but at the same time it can mean "to give an opinion" and here is where it gets worse, not every German like to speak Denglish, and I personally hate it, because they are taking our beautiful German words, deleting them and substituting with English words and not just that, they add other meanings to the words, so for example "Shitstorm" in German it means some person on social media said his/her opinion and then she/he got a Shitstorm (she got a flute of really bad comments), that's the different meaning behind of it.

I dislike Denglish because of it, I just wish they stop doing it and instead they could like create more German words that are not present, for example in Swedish a App is called Ansökning and not App, the Germans just say App. Germans say Whataboutism, Gendersprache (they mean the sex oriented language for people who have other sexual orientations), but as the the word sex in German it just means sex as in "to have sex", so the Germans just deleted that word and they created the word "Gendersprache" = Genderlanguage, like for someone who knows English, this doesn't make any sense, why they didn't say for instance "Geschlechtersprache" (Geschlecht) the actual word (sex "male" or "female" etc.)? No they just used the English word because Germans love the English language so much.

Sorry for the long message, just needed to spread that out and answering your question as well.

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    #1: The rant about English influence on German is very unnecessary and #2: You're missing a proof that "zwölfhundert" is an anglicism - I doubt that - Grimm quotes a reference of this usage as far back as 1440
    – tofro
    Dec 14, 2022 at 10:43

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