Questions tagged [diminutive]

Verkleinerungsform. A word which has been modified to convey a slighter degree of its root meaning. Die grammatische Verkleinerungsform eines Substantivs.

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Are there any rules how to build the diminutive?

We build a diminutive by adding the suffix -lein or -chen. For some nouns one is preferred over the other whereas with other nouns both may be used. Examples: der Tisch | das Tischlein | das ...
Takkat's user avatar
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11 votes
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How do you say "small rabbit" in German?

The suffix "-chen" is used as a diminutive, but a "standard" rabbit is already called a "Kaninchen", with the diminutive. How do you say "small rabbit" then? Ein Kaninchenlein or simply Ein ...
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"Die Bächlein" instead of expected "das Bächlein"

A line from Die schöne Müllerin reads bis das Meer will trinken die Bächlein aus. I always had trouble with genders, but I did understand a -lein suffix to make its root neuter, unconditionally. ...
Don's user avatar
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10 votes
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What does the “l” in “Christkindl” mean?

What does the letter l at the end of the word Christkindl mean? My understanding is that the English child translates to the German Kind. Does the l make the word diminutive? When is it appropriate to ...
Jacob Quisenberry's user avatar
9 votes
5 answers

More pseudo-diminutives like “Eichhörnchen”?

The German Wikipedia article on diminutive features a section on “Verselbständigte Diminutive”. These words all have conventional meaning, i.e. they are listed in a dictionary by themselves and not as ...
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7 votes
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Possibilities in German to minimize a term?

I stumbled upon the English term Truthiness "truth" that a person claims to know intuitively "from the gut" in that it "feels right" without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or ...
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6 votes
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Reduktion von Adjektiven (Gegenteil zur Steigerung)

Können die Adjektive im Deutschen neben einer Steigerungsform auch eine Reduktionsform bilden? Zum Beispiel anhand des Hilfswortes weniger: Ich habe bemerkt, dass es Adjektive gibt, die keine un-...
Denis's user avatar
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Does the name Alex in German has its dimunitive variant?

It's a pretty common name but I don't think it fits with -chen or -lein
Wangcincay's user avatar
5 votes
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Swabian terms of endearment

Lately, I've been researching to write a German character who was raised in Stuttgart. While I've come to a basic understanding of how some diminutives work (appending "-le" rather than "-chen" or "-...
Connor A. Nguyen's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers

Is there a distinction between the diminutive suffixes -l and -chen?

If not, when do I use which? Are „Hänsel and Gretel“ any different from „Hänschen and Gretchen“? Is a „Mädl“ smaller / younger than a „Mädchen“?
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"Das arme Gretchen" oder "Die arme Gretchen"?

Soweit ich weiß, man kann sagen „Das arme Gretchen“ oder „Die arme Gretchen“1 (im Singular, nicht im Plural). Welcher Artikel ist gewöhnlicher? The Philosophy of Grammar, von Otto Jespersen, 1924, p. ...
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How to get from the diminutive form to the root word (from Häuschen to Haus), and back?

Is there a rule (or best practice) on how to get from a "Substantiv" to it´s diminutive form and also back again? What I mean is i.e: How to get from Haus to Häuschen and back to Haus. It´s a ...
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3 votes
2 answers

More on Ambiguous Diminutives

There is an interesting discussion going on about the word for rabbit, Kaninchen which looks like a diminutive but (probably) isn't. The question arose in that thread over whether there are other ...
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1 vote
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Can any name be put into the diminutive with -chen or -lein?

There are some names I see being put into the diminutive more than others (i.e. Hansel, Fritzchen, Liesel, Gretchen). Could any name be put into the diminutive this way? For example, I was actually on ...
Cat Defender's user avatar
-1 votes
4 answers

What is the difference between Bruder and Brüderchen? [closed]

When I look it up, Brüderchen seems to just mean brother. Then, what's the difference between it and Bruder? Why is it spelled with an umlaut and "chen" on the end?
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