In the English sentence, we can say "The school, named "Wilhelm Ostwald Schule", had an exchange student program."

Would it translate to "Die Schule, heißt "Wilhelm Ostwald Schule", hatte ein Austauschschüler Programm."?

Is there a specific rule here that I am missing?

  • For Colloquial, is the die from die "Whilelm..." determined by the reference within the non-essential element? Oct 25 '17 at 4:56

There are different options:


Die Schule, welche "Wilhelm Ostwald Schule" heißt, hatte ein Austauschschüler-Programm.


Die Schule, die "Wilhelm Ostwald Schule" heißt, hatte ein Austauschschüler-Programm.

More natural:

Die Schule namens "Wilhelm Ostwald Schule" hatte ein Austauschschüler-Programm.

Which is short for:

Die Schule mit dem Namen "Wilhelm Ostwald Schule" hatte ein Austauschschüler-Programm.

Or just:

Die "Wilhelm Ostwald Schule" hatte ein Austauschschüler-Programm.

Feel free to improve this answer.

  • There are very subtle structural differences in meaning between the relative clause options and the preposition construction. German relative clauses can be defining or non-defining, but the option with "namens" can only be defining. This is probably not relevant unless there are multiple schools in your discourse. Oct 25 '17 at 6:07
  • 2
    I wouldn't dare to call the difference between the usage of the "die" and "welche" relative pronouns colloquial and formal. Your "die" example is rather contemporary German and "welche" is slightly archaic.
    – tofro
    Oct 25 '17 at 7:18
  • So, should I treat the non-essential element as I would in english? Is there some specific rule to keep in account? Oct 27 '17 at 23:55

named = genannt

He named the price and I paid it.
Er hat den Preis genannt und ich habe gezahlt.

Vlad, named the impaler, was the model for the novel Darcula.
Vlad, genannt der Pfähler, war die Vorlage für den Roman Darcula.

So the literal translation is:

Die Schule, genannt Wilhelm-Ostwald-Schule1, hatte ein Schüleraustauschprogramm2.


This construction is unusual in German. It is grammatically correct, but of bad style.
This is better, but still not perfect:

Die Wilhelm-Ostwald-Schule genannte Schule hatte ein Schüleraustauschprogramm.

Flo already listed some other possibilities in his answer. They are all correct (except of Austauschschülerprogramm vs. Schüleraustauschprogramm; see below), and the best solution is this:

Die Wilhelm-Ostwald-Schule hatte ein Schüleraustauschprogramm.

1 The name of the school is not »Wilhelm Ostwald Schule«. It is »Wilhelm-Ostwald-Schule«. Note the Hyphens, they turn the name into one word. Otherwise it would be three words.

2 Note the difference:

  • Austauschschüler
    A student (i.e. a person) who moves to a school in a foreign country for a limited period of time (a semester or a year).
  • Schüleraustausch
    An event (i.e. not a person), that is internationally organized, and that allows students to move to other countries to attend school there.

So, the program, in which the exchange of pupils (i.e. the event, not the person) takes place, is therefore a »Schüleraustauschprogramm«. It is not an »Austauschschülerprogramm«.

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