I'm looking for language courses and see a lot of results like "<whatever language> für AnfängerInnen". I remember -in postfix means that the word is female version of the noun. And wiktionary says the same - that it is plural for Anfängerin, which is female for Anfänger.

Google translate also says(but I never trust it)))

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However I clearly see capital I letter in the word. But didn't find any information about it.

The question is, what does it mean - is it a separate ,say, polite form? Or these courses are really for female beginners only?

  • 3
    I marked it as duplicate to link the two articles, but I know that it is very hard to find the other question without knowing the concept of the "Binnen i". So +1 for the question anyway :)
    – Iris
    Jun 17, 2019 at 13:09

5 Answers 5


You are right. Anfängerinnen is the plural of the word Anfängerin.

This could be either:

Capitalized I is there because of gendering.

It is to emphasize that both Male and Female persons are being addressed.

As alternative you would write it like:



Anfänger/-innen [repeated to get a visual "complete" list]

Anfängerinnen und Anfänger (as "ladies first")

Anfänger/ Anfängerinnen

Anfänger (as "generic masculinum")

Or which is less likely:

Capitalized I is there to emphasize that they are only looking for female students.

Hard to say without context.

Edited to encompass Shegit Brahm Answer and sebastian redl comment.

  • Ah, so without that, just "für Anfänger" people would understand as for men only? Jun 17, 2019 at 11:52
  • And such form, Anfänger-/innen, with "-/", makes it much clearer. Thanks! Jun 17, 2019 at 11:54
  • Edited for more clarity. Jun 17, 2019 at 11:55
  • 7
    There is practically zero chance the capital I is an emphasis on female students. It's almost definitely a Binnen-I Jun 17, 2019 at 12:01
  • 1
    @ViktorArsanov No sane person would read "Anfänger" as referring to men only; However, most semi-formal writing standards nowadays have guidelines for using inclusive language that will usually stipulate that if there are multiple different gendered forms of a word that all of them should be represented one way or another.
    – Cubic
    Jun 17, 2019 at 15:50

The capital letter "I" in words such as


is the so-called Binnen-I (also Majuskel-I). Simply said, it idicates that the word refers to both the female (Anfängerinnen with lowercase "I") and the male (Anfänger) form alike, without having to write out both forms explicitly.

Quote from Wikipedia: [The Binnen-I] is a non-standard, mixed case typographic convention used to indicate gender inclusivity for nouns having to do with people, by using a capital letter 'I' inside the word (Binnenmajuskel, literally "internal capital", i.e. camel case) surrounded by lower-case letters.


It is a gendered plural of "Anfänger und Anfängerinnen". So both (or all, would be off-topic here) gender male and female are addressed.

As Sebastian Redl commented, this is called "Binnen-I".

In opposition to Jens Krügers answer I'd like to point out, that


is not "the normal way".

Because in my observation there is no general way to address all gender in one or more words. Others are e.g.:




Anfänger/-innen [repeated to get a visual "complete" list]

Anfängerinnen und Anfänger (as "ladies first")

Anfänger/ Anfängerinnen

Anfänger (as "generic masculinum")

"The normal way" is an ongoing debate in german society.


Capitalization within words is the German variant of the Heävy Mëtal Umläut. For obvious reasons, we cannot use Umlaute to get attention.

A lot of feminists have the belief language creates reality so they push language changes in their favour. For example this one, the Binnen-I. Some people follow their agenda, others just want to stay clear from their "outcry" mongering. Most people I know think it's Quatsch and just call a woman baker a Bäcker or Bäckerin, whatever they feel appropriate in that situation.

In-word-capitalization became also common in advertising since about 10 years, making the Binnen-I less visible. So we can expect other funny language use in the future. Their current trend is to put an asterisk at the end of the word instead of the case ending when talking about an occupation. That because all the "other genders" should not be excluded. Well.


A capital "I" (i) in a Noun is bad, grammatically incorrect german, and the "I" is called a "Binnen-I".

Proponents of said problematic german argue that this somehow helps feminism and wrongly believe that there is something they call a "generic masculine form" of a noun (which in this case would be "Anfänger", meaning "beginner"). This is due to the fact that the generic, gender-neutral form of a noun looks the same as the masculine form, but it isn't a masculine form.

Apart from universities and the government, it isn't used at all, and I can only recommend you pay no attention to it.

  • 3
    Welcome to GermanSE. Do you have a link to prove that it is grammatically incorrect? Why is it a wrong believe? What examples/ prove do you have that there is no usage outside universities and government? As long these claimes are unproven / included: -1 here. Jun 17, 2019 at 12:26
  • @ShegitBrahm: Großbuchstaben werden am Satzanfang und für Substantive benutzt. Im WortInneren haben sie nichts verloren und lassen sich auch nicht aussprechen. Wenn Versuche gemacht werden, dann sind es Pausen, die nach Anfänger innen und außen schreien. Jun 17, 2019 at 23:31

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