I can't understand why the definite article dem is used in this sentence:

Ich denke, Partys sind gut zum Deutsch lernen.

Since the word lernen is not capitalized, we can't assume it is a noun. Wouldn't it be correct to say instead:

Ich denke, Partys sind gut, Deutsch zu lernen.


Ich denke, Partys sind gut, um Deutsch zu lernen.

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Ich denke, Partys sind gut zum Deutsch lernen.

This seems actually a very subtle mistake. You can search the term "zum Deutsch lernen" and you find lot of examples using this writing. Even on sites dedicated to learning German.

So it's either correct, or nobody notices the mistake.

You would indeed write: Ich bin hier zum Arbeiten/ Lernen. (Many natives get that wrong and write: Ich bin hier zum lernen.)

Searching the term, I came across: Ich bin hier zum Deutschlernen. Here it's a combined noun. (Writing looks correct to me. Kind of strange, but coherent.)

There is also the form : Ich bin hier zum Deutsch Lernen. This looks gramatically correct, but kind of odd (I am a native German speaker).

In many languages you have a difference between written and spoken language, and maybe the author just didn't worry too much.

  • So the best option in terms of grammar would be using the combined noun Deutschlernen? – Steve Dec 27 '19 at 2:53
  • I would do so ..... – rainer Dec 27 '19 at 13:41

The sentence simply contains a mistake. First of all, both version are possible, without further context:

deutsch lernen

Deutsch lernen

The first one would be an adverb, meaning you learn something in a German way (whatever that is). The second one means you are learning the German language. Since Deutsch refers to the German language it's a noun. So in this case we clearly want to use the second version.

Now, the whole sentence reads:

[...], zum Deutsch lernen (sic)

This is incorrect. Lernen becomes a noun here, because it follows the definite article. The correct version would be

[...], zum Deutsch Lernen.

Compare here: https://www.linguee.de/deutsch-englisch/uebersetzung/zum+lernen.html

And here: https://www.duden.de/rechtschreibung/lernen (beim Lernen stören)

  • 2
    Even though Steve's assumption that lernen in the original sentence was not a noun is wrong (in this construction it is a noun, but with a spelling mistake), the second version of his alternative sounds even better: Ich denke, Partys sind gut, um Deutsch zu lernen. – Volker Landgraf Dec 26 '19 at 15:54
  • @VolkerLandgraf so it was nothing but a simple spelling mistake? – Steve Dec 26 '19 at 16:44
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    By the way, the noun Deutschlernen ist one word! – Björn Friedrich Dec 26 '19 at 17:24
  • I suspect that the confusion comes from the fact that "Rad fahren" is written as two separate words korrekturen.de/wortliste/rad_fahren.shtml. Therefore, it's "er lernt Deutsch", not *"er deutschlernt". You could say both "Deutsch (zu) lernen macht Spaß" or "(Das) Deutschlernen macht Spaß". – Cacambo Dec 29 '19 at 10:56
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    If you look closer at the page you linked to, "Radfahren" is a single word when used as a noun. – Tilman Schmidt Dec 29 '19 at 14:31

"Zum Deutsch lernen" is orthographically wrong. It's either "zum Deutsch Lernen" or more commonly "zum Deutschlernen".

But the expression is colloquial. In written language you would normally use "um Deutsch zu lernen". Therefore native speakers, for whom exposure to actual written texts is normally the main source of orthographic knowledge, may not have seen it sufficiently often to actually learn how it is written correctly.

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