Recently, I have come across the phrase "am Oderstrand" and saw it translated as "on the banks of the Oder [River]."

With that in mind, I am wondering if it can be used with other rivers. In my case, I am wondering if this word structure can be used with the Red River.

Just as an example, I am trying to say something along the lines of "on the banks of the Red River."
Would it then be correct to say "am Rotenstrand"?

I am aware 'der Strand' is the beach, but I have seen it used more like its synonym 'bank' or 'shore', words of the like.

  • What you can say though is Roten Sand and then it becomes a nice Rammstein ballad
    – Nico
    Dec 6 '17 at 8:01

You can say "Oderstrand" or "Rheinufer" because you would not say "Oder Fluss" or "Rhein Fluss".

The Red River (at least the one in Asia) is translated as "Roter Fluss" so you would have to say "am Ufer des Roten Flusses". You would only use "Strand" in this context if there actually was a beach on the river, i.e. the bank was sandy and flat.

"Rotenstrand" is not a word anybody would use. You could say "am roten Strand" if there was a red beach somewhere

  • 3
    I can't think of a river in Europe which has a Fluss added in German. Do you know an example?
    – Janka
    Dec 5 '17 at 2:13
  • 7
    @Janka: Die Wien (die in Wien in die Donau mündet) hat einen zweiten Namen, der sogar weitaus häufiger verwendet wird: Der Wienfluss. Dec 5 '17 at 4:45
  • 1
    @HubertSchölnast Das dürfte wohl mehr oder weniger nur landschaftlich bekannt sein, ich habe bislang noch nie vom "Wienfluss" gehört
    – Lars Beck
    Dec 5 '17 at 7:02
  • 4
    @Clemens That's rather poetic or at least sublime language, not used in everyday life
    – Lars Beck
    Dec 5 '17 at 7:08
  • 2
    „Wo Werra sich und Fulda küssen / Sie ihren Namen büßen müssen / Und hier entsteht durch diesen Kuß / Deutsch bis zum Meer der Weserfluß“. Dec 5 '17 at 17:43

It only works for rivers which don't need that river extension to be recognized.

So, Oh London, du Zasterpfuhl am Themsestrand (Oh London, you boodle puddle on Thames' banks) works, but for the Red River, regardless which one, it doesn't work. Because you cannot tell its name from that of the color Red.

This problem also arises in German. For example, there's the river der Regen, and the word der Regen (rain). You cannot tell those apart, so you wouldn't say am Regenstrand, because no one would understand you meant the banks of that river and not a beach in the rain.

  • 7
    If you live nearby the Regen river, I guess you could very well use "Regenufer" oder "Regenstrand" and everybody would understand what is meant. As so often, context is everything
    – Beta
    Dec 5 '17 at 8:51

I think this is just a case of forming words from two parts (Komposition).

In the context of rivers there are indeed lots of variations all involving things usually to be found near rivers. Examples of such things may include -wiesen, -niederungen, -aue, -wehr, -mündung, -delta, -promenade, -deich, -tal, -ufer, -strand. (I'm sorry I can't provide translation for all of these.) Some made it even to city names, e.g., Travemünde, Paderborn.

Also you may find terms describing events or buildings or professions combined with names of rivers or seas or even oceans, e.g., Elbphilharmonie, Elbhochwasser, Elbvertiefung, Nordseefischer, Atlantiküberquerung.

As you can see, these are sometimes formed with a shortened form of the name of the water (Elb- vs. Elbe), and they appear a bit off when formed with names of two words, though people will still occasionally do it (e.g., Steinhuder Meerufer). And I can't remember a case where I've noticed a compound containing the english name of the river.

Also, most of these terms are known only in the region they appear, so most people may not recognize foreign sites at once (Podelta), others are however more common (Amazonasdelta, Nildelta).

In conclusion, I don't know what river you are actually talking about.

If it's original name is Red River, one might potentially say something like:

Ich war im Urlaub am Red-River-Strand. (If there is such a thing)

But especially in written language you would most likely rather put it this way:

Ich war im Urlaub am Ufer des Red River.

If it's this Red River instead (original name in a language other than English), one would probably write and say the latter, but with the german name.

... am Ufer des Roten Flusses.

Unless you want to show-off you knowing the name in the local language (Vietnamese/Chinese?), in which case you would use that name.

In any case you should take care to provide more context to make sure people know what river you are actually talking about.

  • "Steinhuder Meerufer" is ungrammatical. Correct would be "Steinhuder-Meer-Ufer", although unusual indeed. And if someone wanted to create a stereotypical German word, they could say "am Roter-Fluss-Strand".
    – xehpuk
    Dec 5 '17 at 23:48
  • @xehpuk Thank you for your input. I put more of a focus on actual usage and aesthetics than on grammatical correctness. And while Steinhuder-Meer-Ufer and Roter-Fluss-Strand may be correct grammatically (I'm not sure about that), both lack any measure of style in both spoken and written German.
    – moooeeeep
    Dec 6 '17 at 7:18
  • @xehpuk: "'Steinhuder Meerufer' is ungrammatical." - I disagree. However, it is not the bank of the Steinhuder Meer, but the bank of an unspecified sea in or near Steinhude. Dec 6 '17 at 14:50
  • @O.R.Mapper This would be called "Steinhuder Meeresufer".
    – xehpuk
    Dec 7 '17 at 12:57
  • @xehpuk: While that is the more usual form, it seems that Meerufer is or was in use, as well. And while ngram shows the results from literature, I would bet that the less "elaborate" form (Meerufer) is actually not that rare in comparison in spoken language. Dec 7 '17 at 13:53

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