3

We're learning about adjectival nouns in our German course, and I've studied the declension table for two general cases:

  1. Definite article (der- word) present
  2. Indefinite article (ein- word) present

What I'm having trouble with is distinguishing between the following two sentences:

  1. [Die Deutschen] sprechen Deutsch.
  2. Ich kenne [viele Deutsche].

Since Deutsche is plural, why does it not become Deutschen in the second sentence?

  • 2
    Close Voters please do take notice of the fact that we do not close to dupes in another language – Takkat Jan 31 at 8:50
  • It’s definite (die) vs indefinite (viele). It’s the same as for the adjective itself: die deutschen Biere, viele deutsche Biere. I cannot give you rules (hence no answer), your declension tables should be able to help you, or you need even more of them. – Carsten S Jan 31 at 10:13
  • @CarstenS So "viele" counts as an indefinite article? (That's not sarcastic, by the way. I'm still learning :D I was under the impression that it's not an article.) – AleksandrH Jan 31 at 14:08
  • @AleksandrH, it’s not an article, whether it would sense to treat it as one for this discussion is something that I do not know and also are not that interested in, that part I would leave to grammarians. I am sure that the answer that you got is more reliable in that sense. – Carsten S Jan 31 at 14:58
4

Only articles trigger weak inflection, yet viele is an adjective.

die/alle/unsere/keine/... Deutschen (weak ending -en)

viele arbeitslose Deutsche (strong ending -e, no article present)

die vielen arbeitlosen Deutschen (weak ending -en)

For further details, refer to my answer to this question.

  • So really, the two categories are "definite article present" and "definite article absent", not "indefinite article present" for the second one, right? – AleksandrH Jan 31 at 13:35
  • Very close. As the first example shows, it isn't really about the definite article: all articles that have an ending (-e in this case) behave in the same way. In the singular, Guter Vorschlag! and Ein guter Vorschlag! both show -er because for the adjective, it makes no difference whether there is no article (first example) or an article without an ending (ein in the second example; could also be mein, kein). – David Vogt Jan 31 at 13:41
  • Oh, so the adjectival nouns just follow the three-scenario rules for normal adjectives: 1) weak if definite article present, 2) strong if no article at all, 3) mixed if indefinite article or ein- word (like a possessive)? That seems to be the case, at least. Thanks again for your help. – AleksandrH Jan 31 at 14:03
0

Ok, no 100% guarantee that my answer is correct, but i think this is a very special case: The difference is "[Die Deutschen] sprechen Deutsch." means "the Germans are speaking German" while "Ich kenne [viele Deutsche]." means "i know may German people".
While "die Deutschen" is a standard noun, Deutsche is (I don't know the english term for it) an adjektiv turned into a noun. But this is an exception. It only applies to "German"/"Deutsche".
And it happens because ot the 'sch' in "deutsch". this leads to this strange case. e.g. Russians would be "Die Russen" and "viele Russische" or "viele Russen". Hope i could help.

  • It’s perfectly normal for a nominalised adjective: die Kleinen, viele Kleine. – Carsten S Jan 31 at 9:51
  • 1
    It actually is a standard noun :) See also here: wortwuchs.net/standart-standard – infinitezero Jan 31 at 12:42
  • ah, snap. I'm always doing that mistake. Why can't i learn from them? x.x – miep Jan 31 at 12:53

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.