I'm looking for other examples of the schön Wetter type anomaly. The only ones that I know of are :

  • alt Eisen
  • grob Salz
  • gut Bier

They're taken from dialectal usage (Alsatian from Strasbourg) of older people around me. I don't know if it's purely dialectal or if this type of construction survives in standard German? If yes, can anyone complete the list with further examples?

Update :

I've found your answers very stimulating. Thank you all. A little research I made led me to a grammar of German published in 1768, Nouveaux principes de la langue allemande à l'usage de l'Ecole royale militaire by M. Junker. Here's the relevant extract :

Déclinaison des adjectifs mis sans l'article (Declension of adjectives without the article).

After a series of tables showing the declensions in the three genders, there follows this note :

La terminaison es du genre neutre peut se supprimer au nominatif et à l'accusatif; on peut dire gut Bier au lieu de gutes Bier. (The es ending in the neutral can disappear in the nominative and the accusative; you can say gut Bier instead of gutes Bier)

I'm tempted to conclude that Alsatian is very conservative on this point and has kept some constructions that have otherwise disappeared from the language.

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    Just out if curiosity: could you please add phrases/sentences that use your examples? I haven't heard them before, the closest I can think of is Alteisen as a compound noun.
    – Arsak
    Jun 30, 2019 at 7:37
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    Here are a few examples : Heut haben wir schön Wetter, das ist aber gut Bier, dann tust du grob Salz ins Wasser 'nein.
    – grandtout
    Jun 30, 2019 at 8:11
  • Interesting, thank you. In the third example: can you distinguish from the context, whether grob is an adjective to Salz or an adverb to tust?
    – Arsak
    Jun 30, 2019 at 8:28
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    Grob refers to Salz. Now, let me stress that undeclined adjectives are not the norm in the dialect, they're confined to some set pairings of adjectives and substantives such as the ones I referred to.
    – grandtout
    Jun 30, 2019 at 8:33
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2 Answers 2


Other usages are:

  • gut Ding will Weile haben, i.e. getting a good result takes time.
  • gut Wetter machen, i.e. trying to temper someone's mood.
  • Das geht weg wie geschnitten Brot., i.e. something that sells very good.
  • unrecht Gut gedeihet nicht, i.e. you can't claim the earnings from stolen property
  • Holla, gut G'sell from the old drinking song of the same name. This is not a neutral, but a male, but it is still not declined. The lyrics are at least 500 years old, so I do not know, whether this is a diachronic phenomenon in this case. It is also possible that the use of the undeclined form is just used for metrical reasons, and does not reflect the normal way of speaking at the time and place the lyrics have been written.
  • groß Geschrei (instead of großes)
  • lecker (instead of leckeres) seems to be common in particular in the Northern Rhine area, e.g. in the dialectal phrase "lecker Mädchen" (attractive girl) or lecker Essen (tasty food).
  • kein schöner Land (instead of kein schöneres Land) in the same church song.
  • Trocken Brot macht Wangen rot., a proverb
  • Russisch Brot
  • auf gut Glück
  • klar Schiff machen, i.e., to clean up something
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    I have heard "lekker" used in much the same way in Dutch, which is of course spoken not very far from the Northern Rhine area. Jun 30, 2019 at 15:19

This is a phenomenon that must be limited to a geographic region. I can't tell you where this region is, I just can tell you that the eastern parts of Austria do not belong to it.

Maybe you are mixing up this phenomenon with some compound nouns? I never have heard »schön Wetter« before, just the compound noun »Schönwetter«. Same is true for »alt Eisen«. I only know »Alteisen«.

There are many different ways to build compound words in German, and adding only the stem of the first word to the second is a very usual method:

Die Krone + der Prinz → der Kronprinz
Die Schule + der Beginn → der Schulbeginn
Die Sprache + gewaltig → sprachgewaltig

And this works also if the first word is an adjective:

Der alte Kanzler → der Altkanzler
Der rote Stich → der Rotstich
Der reine Raum → der Reinraum

This is why I think, that you didn't hear separate words, but »Schönwetter« and »Alteisen«.

The only phrases I know where the adjective is not joined to a noun but still appears as its stem are:

Gut Ding will Weile haben.
Gut Ding braucht Weile.
Unrecht Gut gedeiht nicht.

But these are old phrases using an outdated grammar. You find this construction only in these phrases.

And all the other examples you heard and others posted here must be a regional phenomenon (gut Bier, grob Salz, gut Wetter, geschnitten Brot). I never before have heard any of them here in the eastern part of Austria.

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    The OP is already telling that they is referring to a dialect phenomenon. You claim that your two examples are a comprehensive list of examples, is wrong, see the community wiki answer I started. So, besides your two examples your answer does contain some information which is redundant and some information which is wrong. This leads me to give -1 here. Jun 30, 2019 at 9:38
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    Auch ich kenne nur das mit gut Ding und geschnitten Brot. Die anderen habe ich noch nie gehört. Jun 30, 2019 at 11:27
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    Nur weil ihr das nie gehört habt, ist das kein Argument, dass es das nicht geben sollte. Jun 30, 2019 at 11:37
  • @jonathan.scholbach: Es gibt einen Unterschied zwischen »Heut' haben wir schön Wetter« und »Heut' haben wir Schönwetter«. Beides mag für jemanden, der nicht ausreichend gut Deutsch kann, gleich klingen, daher glaube ich, dass tatsächlich der zweite Satz gesagt wurde, während er von Hörer aber wie der erste Satz verstanden wurde. Das widerlegt meine Hypothese also keineswegs. Und zum anderen Beispiel (»alt Eisen«) finde ich hier gar kein Zitat. Daher bleibe ich dabei, dass es sich bei diesen beiden Beispielen um eine Fehlinterpretation handelt. Jun 30, 2019 at 11:52
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    @infinitezero, richtig. Ich habe das aber nur deshalb erwähnt, weil hier schon wieder eine Abwerteritis um sich greift. Nur weil die Betreffenden die besagten Formen kennen, ist das kein Argument dafür, diese Antwort abzuwerten! Schließlich ist an der Antwort an sich nichts falsch. Jul 1, 2019 at 7:22

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