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Diglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 4146 days ago

781 posts - 1310 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Portuguese, Mandarin, Yiddish, German

 
 Message 49 of 60
10 January 2011 at 3:24am | IP Logged 
I put in a lot of work over the weekend (it really is much harder this time!) and managed to finish the first 1/3 of the next draft, which I intend to post here as part 1 of 3. However, attempting to improve it along the lines suggested is proving very hard work (worthwhile though!) and has taken me well out of my comfort zone with German. For instance rather than constantly summarising everything with lists I have tried to integrate them into complex sentences. I am fairly positive that I will have committed some embarrassing gaffes! For that reason I have taken the liberty of posting part 1 in its entirety on lang-8 for correction by native speakers. When I get back a corrected version I'll post it here. Part 2 of 3 should be ready by Friday. Thanks for your patience.
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Diglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 4146 days ago

781 posts - 1310 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Portuguese, Mandarin, Yiddish, German

 
 Message 50 of 60
11 January 2011 at 1:16am | IP Logged 
An extremely nice lady called "Katherle" on Lang-8 corrected this draft. I have incorporated her corrections. Any errors remaining are my own (it is a very long piece, and she did it for free, so it would not be too surprising if one or two slipped past her). I was pleased to find my only errors were seemingly in punctuation and capitalisation (lots of these, though)...well almost. There was one sentence she flagged as wrong, but unfortunately I don't know why. The sentence was: "Ich hätte die Zeitung gekauft, wenn ich gewusst hätte, dass Sie sie wollten." Her correction was to put "haben" in brackets, but I do not understand what her intention was. I leave it in for now, but with the flag, in the hope that someone here can clarify this. Edit: having slept on it haben wollten would mean wanted to have...so perhaps she was saying that in German you need to say, "...if I had known that you wanted to have it," rather than (as in my sentence), "...if I had known that you wanted it". Any clarification from native or advanced speakers of German would be gratefully received.

Anyway, this is part 1 of 3 of the new draft. Hope it is as big an improvement as I think it is.

In a famous essay Mark Twain once described the German language as "awful", he spent a lot of time poking fun at the way words change in German (der/die/das etc), and indeed this is something that is traditionally seen as very difficult in German- the famous German Case System, as the grammarians call it. It is, in fact, not very difficult at all, because German is very logical and consistent, the only things you really need to
understand are that German puts logic above common sense, and that, as MT said, it has to do with endings. If you actually read Twain's famous essay you will see he also claims to be horrified by the way German verbs come at the end, adding that after finally reaching the verb the writer usually seems to shovel something like "haben sind gewesen gehabt haben geworden sein" onto the end of the whole thing in order to make it look pretty. If you have completed the MT Advanced Course this should give you a laugh, because it really does seem that way sometimes...and yet you mastered that with ease...this will be no different. Enjoy.


Before starting I would like to clear up a loose end from the MT advanced course.

What is the German for "who"?

Wer

How would you say, "who can do it today?"?

Wer kann es heute tun?

What about, "who wants to have that"?

Wer will das haben?

Now the German for "whom" is Wen.

How would you say, "whom did you visit?"

Wen haben Sie besucht?

Now in spoken English (and informal written English) it is no longer compulsory to say "whom" in this kind of sentence, in fact most people (myself included) would just say, "*who* did you visit?". In German this distinction is still respected, and it is important that you do so also, even if you don't in English. In order to do that it is very important to be clear about what you MEAN in English when you say "who"- do you really mean "who" or do you mean "whom"?
If you are not sure about this distinction in English then you need, as MT used to say, to sharpen your awareness of your own language in order to learn another. In fact there is an easy way to tell whether you mean "who" or "whom". If the answer to your question with "who" can be "he" or "she" then you really do mean "who"; if the answer to your question can be "him" or "her" then you mean "whom".

Let's look at this in English first.
If I say, "who is going to do it" I can answer "he is going to do it" or "she is going to do it". I absolutely cannot answer "him is going to do it" or "her is going to do it". So what do I really mean, "who" or "whom"?

Who

Since the answer can be "he" or "she" I must mean "who".

What about, "who wants to buy it?", is the answer he/she; or is it him/her?

He/she- he wants to buy it/ she wants to buy it (never him wants or her wants).

So do you really mean "who" or "whom"?

Who

Another example, "who did you fire", is the answer he/she or him/her?

Him/her- he fired him/ he fired her (never he fired he/ he fired she)

So do you really mean "who" or "whom" in this sentence?

Whom- whom did you fire.

Let's try and do this in German (remember to think it out step by step).
Let's take the sentence "who did you want to see?", do you mean "who" or "whom" here?

Whom- because the answer is "I wanted to see him/her", never "I wanted to see he/she!)

In other words literally you mean, "whom did you want to see", so how would you say that in German?

Wen wollten Sie sehen?

Let's try a different sentence, "who could not do it yesterday?". Do you really mean "who" or "whom" in this sentence?

Who - the answer is "he/she could not do it", never "him/her could not do it"!

SO you really do mean, "who could not do it yesterday", how would you say that in German?

Wer konnte es gestern nicht tun?

"to whom" in German is wem.

How would you say, "to whom did you give it"?

Wem haben Sie es gegeben?

Now in modern English we would rather say, "who did you give it to?"'"to whom did you give it" sounds a bit old fashioned, but this is what you must say in German. So whenever you *mean* to whom in English, even if you do not say it that way, in German you must use wem.

To lend is leihen, so how would you say, "who do you want to lend it to (to whom do you want to lend it)?"?

Wem wollen Sie es leihen?

To give as a present is schenken, so how would you say, talking about something you are going to give as a present, "who are you going to give it to?"

Wem werden Sie es schenken? Wem because in German you must say, "to whom are you going to give it"

Finally do you remember how to say, "I want to tell him"?

Ich will es ihm sagen.

In German you literally say, "I want to say it to him".

So how would you say, "whom do you want to tell (to whom do you want to say it)?"

Wem wollen Sie es sagen?

We are now ready to begin the main body of the course.



MT taught you that nouns in German have a gender, and that this has to do with endings, what is that?
Well, the books, or perhaps your teacher at school, will tell you it means that every noun in German is masculine, feminine or neuter, but what does THAT mean? It is actually something very simple, it simply means that every German noun is a "he', a "she", or an "it". In English only people are "he" or "she", and things are always "it"...common sense, really. German does not work like that, common sense has nothing to do with it, it has to do with endings. For instance, any noun ending in "ung" will be feminine. So all nouns in German are a "he" a "she" or an "it".

Can you remember the German for "he"?

Er

How would you say, "he wants to come, but he can't come today"?

Er will kommen, aber er kann heute nicht kommen.

The word for hat in German is Hut. Now in German a hat is a "he", so how would you say, about a hat, "it is not very big"?

Er ist nicht sehr groß.

So that is all the grammarians mean by a masculine noun, it is simply a noun , like Hut, that is a "he". Another example of a noun that is a he is "Schuh" (which means shoe- Michael Schumacher is Michael Shoemaker).

What was the German for "she"?

Sie

So how would you you say, "I think that she wants to buy something"?

Ich glaube, dass sie etwas kaufen will.

Can you remember the German for door?

Tür

In German a door is a "she", so how would you say, about the door, "but it's already shut!"

Aber sie ist schon geschlossen.

And that is all they mean by a feminine noun, it is a noun, like Tür, that is a "she".

Finally, what was the German for "it"?

Es

How do you say, "it wouldn't be possible to do it that way"?

Es wäre nicht möglich, es so zu tun.

The word for book in German is Buch, In German, a book is an "it", so how would you say (speaking about a book), "no, it's still open!"?

Nein, es ist noch geöffnet!

So, finally, what they mean by a neuter noun is a noun, like Buch, that is an it.

So what about the famous der die and das? When do you use them? Well I repeat that this whole thing has to do with endings, you need to use the one with the right ending.

What is the German for "he"?

Er

Now in German, if the noun is a "he", in German an "er", then the word for "the" is der. Er and Der, the endings match. What was the German for hat?

Hut

Now Hut is a masculine noun, a noun that is a "he" in German, so how would you say, "The hat? It is not very big."?

Der Hut? Er ist nicht sehr groß.

Literally the hat? He is not very big. So we have er and der.

What was the German for "she"?

Sie

So if you have a feminine noun, a noun which is a "she", which one matches ending with "sie": der, die, or das?

die

Er and der, and sie and die. What was the German for door?

Tür

Earlier I told you that Tür is a feminine noun, a noun that is a "she" in German, so how would you say, "The door? I don't think that it is open"?

Die Tür? Ich glaube nicht, dass sie geöffnet ist.

The door, I don't think she is open.

Finally what is the German for "it"?

Es

Which one matches with "es": der, die, or das?

das

Er and der, sie and die and es and das. What was the German for book?

Buch

I told you that Buch is a neuter noun in German, a noun that is an "it", so how would you say, "The book? I haven't read it yet"?

Das Buch? Ich habe es noch nicht gelesen.


People in German almost always take the gender you'd expect, that is to say a man is a "he" and a woman is a "she" etc.

How do you say, "he is coming today"?

Er kommt heute.

What is the German for man (you can guess if you don't know)?

Mann

How do you say, "the man is coming today"?

Der Mann kommt heute.

How would you say, "the man is here and he wants to speak with you"?

Der Mann ist hier und er will mit Ihnen sprechen.

So you use "der" to say "the" whenever a German noun is a "he"- der and er.

What is “she”?

Sie

How do you say, "she is beautiful"?

Sie ist schön.

And what is the word for "the" used with feminine nouns (any word that is a "she" in German like the German word for "lady")?

Die

The word for Lady is Dame, so how would you say, "the lady is beautiful"?

Die Dame ist schön.

So how do you say, "the lady is young but she is not beautiful"?

Die Dame ist jung, aber sie ist nicht schön.

So you use "die" to say "the" whenever a German noun is a "she"- die and sie

One exception to people taking the gender you'd expect is the German word for child, Kind. In German the word for child is always an "it", so how would you say, "the child"?

Das Kind.

Das Kind, because it is an "it", so it has to be das.

How do you say, "it is tired" in German?

Es ist müde.

How do you say, "the child is tired"?

Das Kind ist müde.

To watch television is Fernsehen..."far-seeing", actually the English word "television" is just the same but in greek (and tele-phone is far hearing etc), so how would you say, "the child wants to watch television but it is too tired"?

Das Kind will fernsehen, aber es ist zu müde.

So you use "das" to say "the" whenever a German noun is an "it"- das and es

Let's try a few longer sentences, how would you say, "the man thinks that the book is good, but the lady does not agree with that, she thinks that it is too small"?

Der Mann glaubt, dass das Buch gut ist, aber die Dame ist nicht damit einverstanden, sie glaubt, dass es zu klein ist.

The German for woman is Frau, so what is the German for, "the woman thinks that the shoe is excellent, but the man thinks it costs too much"?

Die Frau glaubt, dass der Schuh ausgezeichnet ist, aber der Mann glaubt, dass er zu viel kostet.

Did you remember to say, that HE costs too much in German? Remember a shoe is a "he" in German, that is why it is is "DER Schuh", der to match with

er.

Here's one last one, if to close is the seperable verb ZUmachen, (in English we pull or push doors to, in German they "make" them to), how would you say, "the child does not want to close the door, he says that it is already closed (zu)"?

Das Kind will die Tür nicht zumachen, es sagt, dass sie schon zu ist.

Did you remember to say "IT thinks that SHE is already closed (to)"?

Now, let´s see whether we can extend this: if you have more than one noun you don't have a "he", a "she", or an "it", you have a "they". What is the German for "they"?

Sie

How do you say, "they are not coming today, but I believe that they will come tomorrow".

Sie kommen heute nicht, aber ich glaube, dass sie morgen kommen werden.

So can you guess the plural word for the?

Die!

You are talking about more than one noun, a "they", in German the word for they is "sie" so the word for "the" with plural nouns had to be "die".


Do you remember how to say "child"?

Das Kind

To say children you add "er" to Kind, so how do you say, "the children"

Die Kinder

Now say, "the children aren't coming today, but I believe they will come tomorrow":

Die Kinder kommen heute nicht, aber ich glaube, dass sie morgen kommen werden.


Let's stop and summarise here. All German nouns are a "he" a "she" or an "it", unless it is in the plural, and then it is a "they".

What was the word for "the" when talking about a feminine noun, a noun that is a "she"?

Die (die and sie).

What was the word for the with a neuter noun, a noun that is an "it"?

Das (es and das).

What was the word for "the" with a masculine noun, a noun that is a "he"?

Der (er and der).

Finally, what is the word for "the" when talking about a plural noun, a "they"?

Die (sie and die).


The other scary word that the grammarians like to throw around is case. What is a case? Case just refers to the way words sometimes change depending on what their role is in a sentence. Cases exist in English too!
For instance we say HE goes, but I see HIM. You would not say "him goes" or "I see he"!

Now MT already taught you how to do this with German pronouns, how do you say "he goes"?

Er geht.

and how do you say, "I see him"?

Ich sehe ihn.

That is all cases are, it is seen as difficult because it actually *is* pretty difficult to EXPLAIN in words exactly what they mean, but it is easy to SEE what they mean, because we have them in English too.
Now MT already taught you how to use "him", "her", "them" etc in German.

What is the German for, "he wants to buy something"?

Er will etwas kaufen.

How do you say, "I know him already" in German?

Ich kenne ihn schon.

How would you say, "she is coming"?

Sie kommt.

What about "can you see her"?

Können Sie sie sehen?

Similarly "I can´t hear you but you can hear me" would be?

Ich kann Sie nicht hören, aber Sie können mich hören.

Finally "we want to visit them, but they do not want to visit us" would be?

Wir wollen sie besuchen, aber sie wollen uns nicht besuchen.

Now what is different in German is that it is not only pronouns that do this, some other words add endings in order to match these pronouns. This is not particularly mysterious, we used to do this in English too. We still have one leftover in modern English, consider the following:-

Who is coming? He is coming.

Whom did you see? I saw him.

He and who, him and whom. Do you see how "who" takes an ending in order to match the masculine pronoun (he/him)? It does the same in Geman too.

How do you say, "who is coming?" in German?

Wer kommt?

And how do you say, "he is coming"?

Er kommt.

Wer kommt? Er kommt. See how they match?

Now, how do you say, "I saw him" in German?

Ich habe ihn gesehen.

And do you remember how to say, "whom did you see?" in German?

Wen haben Sie gesehen?

So er and wer and ihn and wen.

Finally what was the German for "to him"?

Ihm

How would you say, "I want to give it to him"?

Ich will es ihm geben.

And what was the German for, "to whom"?

Wem

How would you say, "to whom do you want to give it?" in German?

Wem wollen Sie es geben?

So ihm matches with wem. Er and wer, ihn and wen, and ihm and wem.

And this is all that happens in modern German, except that in English it is just this one leftover, whereas in German they do it consistently. I do not know why it should be the words for who/whom/etc match the *masculine* pronoun (he/him/etc) in particular, but it is easy to remember because it does the same in English too, as you have just seen.

Let's start with the word for "the" in German. So far we have been looking at der/die/das and die (plural).

Quick review: what is the German for "he""

Er

How do you say, "he wants to do that today"?

Er will das heute tun (or "Das will er heute tun").

And whenever you would use “he” (er) the word for "the" in German is?

Der

How would you say, "the man is here and he is very tall (groß)"?

Der Mann ist hier und er ist sehr groß.

What is the German for "it"?

Es

So how do you say, "it is not possible to do that that way"?

Es ist nicht möglich, das so zu tun.

And whenever you use “it” (es) in German the word for "the" in German is?

Das

Incidentally now you can see that this is why the word for "that" is usually "das", it is "das" when it is standing in for "es": how do you say, "it is not necessary"?

Es ist nicht nötig.

And, "that is not necessary"?

Das ist nicht nötig.

So you see here "that" is standing in for "it" (es), so it had to be das.

How would you say, "the child is tired but it doesn't want to sleep"?

Das Kind ist müde, aber es will nicht schlafen.

What is the German for she?

Sie

How do you say, "she wants to do it, but she can't do it today"?

Sie will es tun, aber sie kann es nicht heute tun. (If you said "heute nicht tun" this is also correct but less usual).

And whenever you would use “she” (sie) the word for "the" in German is?

Die

How would you say, "the lady has gone home because (use denn) she was very tired"?

Die Dame ist nach Hause gegangen, denn sie war sehr müde.

So you can see er matches with der, sie matches with sie, and es matches with das

We have also seen that the same matching goes for plural nouns.

What is the German for "they"?

Sie

How do you say, "they know that already"?

Sie wissen das schon, (or "Das wissen sie schon").

What is the word for "the" with plural nouns (when we have more than one of something), in other words that matches with "sie" (they)?

Die

What was children in German?

Die Kinder

In this case you add er to das Kind to get the plural

If "to school" is zur Schule" how would you say, "the children say that they don't want to go to school"

Die Kinder sagen, dass sie nicht zur Schule gehen wollen.

In fact they tend often to just miss out the gehen in sentences like this, to make it easier, and what you will mostly hear is, "Die Kinder sagen dass sie nicht zur Schule wollen".

So here sie matches with die

Der and er, sie and die, es and das and sie (they) and die (plural).

How would you say, "they are tired"?

Sie sind müde.

What about: the men (Männer) are tired?

The men = they, therefore: Die Männer sind müde.

So let's see if we can take this a little further.

Now, what is "I see her" in German?

Ich sehe sie

That´s right, "sie" does not change, in German you say "I see she" hmm...so try to figure out the following in German:- how would you say: "I see the newspaper"?

Ich sehe die Zeitung

That´s right “sie” does not change, so neither does “die”.

So how would you say, "I would have bought the newspaper if I had known that you wanted it"?

Ich hätte die Zeitung gekauft, wenn ich gewusst hätte, dass Sie sie wollten. (flagged as an error by "Katherle"- see top).

Did you remember that Zeitung is a "she" and therefore you say "that you wanted *her*"- "dass Sie *sie* wollten"?

What about, "I can see it"?

Ich kann es sehen.

So what about, "I can see the house"?

Ich kann das Haus sehen.

The “es” does not change, so neither does “das”

What about, "I buy them"?

Ich kaufe sie.

The sie does not change, it means "them" as well as "they".

So I buy the houses (Häuser) would be?

Ich kaufe die Häuser.

The “sie” does not change, so neither does “die”.

Finally, if to hate is "hassen" how would you say: "I hate him"?

Ich hasse ihn.

Ah, now here, as you know, the “er” (he) changes to an ihn (him).

What about, "I will tell him (say it to him)"?

Ich will es ihm sagen.

Again the "er" has changed, this time to "ihm" (to him)

What about I will give it to it (e.g. to the boy)

Ich will es ihm geben.

Here the "es" (it) has changed to ihm (to him)

How would you say, "I already gave it to her"

Ich habe es ihr schon gegeben.

The "sie"(she/her) has changed to "ihr" (to her)

Finally, how would you say, "I must tell them (say it to them)"?

Ich muss es ihnen sagen.

Here again the "sie" (they/them) has changed to ihnen (to them)

Let's pause again to see what we know so far.

So, as you already knew, and have just seen, sometimes er (he) changes to ihn (him), or even to ihm (to him), similarly es (it) sometimes changes to ihm (to it) sie (she/her) sometimes changes to ihr (to her) and sie (they/them) sometimes changes to ihnen (to them). What do we do with the word for "the"? The good news is that you just continue to match!!

What was the word for "who"?

Wer

Do you remember from earlier how Wer matched with er?
This is because er is the masculine answer to the question wer. Wer kommt? Er kommt!

What was the word for whom?

Wen.

And do you remember how wen matched with ihn?
Because ihn is the masculine answer to the question wen. Wen siehst du? Ich sehe ihn.

So if er (he) matches with wer (who) and der (the), and ihn matches with wen (whom), what do you think the word for "the" is that matches with ihn?

Den.

Ihn matches with wen and den. Don't worry if you guessed "dihn". In fact it turns out that the vowel sound "ih" (pronounced "ee") in ihn, ihm, ihr ihnen etc always matches with the vowel "e". That is why ihn matches with wen (whom) and den (the).

What was the German for "the hat"?

Der Hut.

A hat is a "he" in German, so der Hut.
Now, what is the German for, "I want to buy him"?

Ich will ihn kaufen.

What was the word for "the" that matched with "ihn"?

Den

So how would you say, "I want to but the hat"?

Ich will den Hut Kaufen.

Den Hut because you are talking about a "him", and "ihn" matches with den. So we have ihn, matches with wen and den.
How do you say, "whom do you see?"

Wen sehen Sie?

And, "I see him"?

Ich sehe ihn.

And, "I see the man"?

Ich sehe den Mann.

Ihn, wen, and den

Using hassen for "to hate" try to say: "I hate him"

Ich hasse ihn.

So how would you say, "I hate the man"?

Ich hasse den Mann.

The word for "dog" in German is Hund. The English word "hound" comes from the same source. In German the word for dog is masculine, that is to say it is a "he", so how would you say, "the dog? It is not here."?

Der Hund? Er ist nicht hier. (Note: this is a new sentence not checked by "katherle")

And "I hate the man, but I don't hate the dog" would be?

Ich hasse den Mann, aber ich hasse den Hund nicht.

Or (with a little more emphasis on dog), "I hate the man, but I don't hate *the dog*" would be?

Ich hasse den Mann, aber den Hund hasse ich nicht.

So now we have:-

Er and der
Es and das
Sie and die

and finally

Ihn and den

Easy, no?

So now, if "certainly not" is "sicher nicht" try: "If you had told me that you wanted the dog, and if I had known that the children also wanted it, I would have bought you it...naturally I certainly wouldn't have bought the book."

Wenn Sie mir gesagt hätten, dass Sie den Hund wollten, und wenn ich gewusst hätte, dass die Kinder ihn auch wollten, hätte ich ihn ihnen gekauft. Natürlich hätte ich sicher nicht das Buch gekauft.


Now MT also introduced you to "to me" "to him" etc.

How do you say, "I want to give it to him"?

Ich will es ihm geben.

So "to him" = ihm

What about, "please tell me (please say to me) what you want"?

Bitte sagen Sie mir, was Sie wollen.

"to me" = mir

When "won't" means refusal rather than the future tense (I asked him, but he WON'T do it) you say that he "doesn't want" to do it in German, so how would you say: "I want to tell her something but she won't listen" (literally hear)?

Ich will ihr etwas sagen, aber sie will nicht hören.

"to her" = ihr

Actually the German verb "wollen" is the same verb as the English verb "will", which also originally meant to "want". During the middle ages the Germanic languages seperately developed future tenses and English formed the future by using the verb will = to want (after all, there is some overlap between sentences like, "tell me what you want to do," and "tell me what you're going to do"). We still have some leftovers from this older meaning, we say, "he won't do it" meaning refusal, or (as MT pointed out) we say, "will you please" meaning polite request- neither of which is the future tense and so German also uses wollen.

How would you say, "I wanted to tell you [say it to you], but I couldn't find you."?

Ich wollte es Ihnen sagen, aber ich konnte Sie nicht finden.


What did MT teach you for "to them"?

Ihnen

Identical to "to you" except no capital letter (the example above is misleading because it starts a sentence), so what is "I didn't want to tell them (say it to them), but I had to tell them"?

Ich wollte es ihnen nicht sagen, aber ich musste es ihnen sagen.

Now, what was "to him" again?

Ihm

So how would you say, "I have given him the book" meaning "I have given the book TO him"?

Ich habe ihm das Buch gegeben.

One thing that MT did not cover was "to it", which is actually the SAME word as “to him”. So if "to it" is the same as "to him", how would you say, "I have given IT the book" meaning "I have given the book TO it"?

Ich habe ihm das Buch gegeben.

Not a very likely thing to say admittedly, which is probably why MT did not teach it, but not as unlikely in German as it is in English because some people in German are an "it". For instance the child is "das Kind" and the girl is "das Mädchen".

So how would you say, "I saw the child and I gave it the book"?

Ich habe das Kind gesehen und ich habe ihm das Buch gegeben.

If the flower is "die Blume" (think blooms at weddings), then how would you say, "I saw the girl and I gave her the flower"?

Ich habe das Mädchen gesehen und ich habe ihm die Blume gegeben.

Actually it's not ALWAYS compulsory to be logical and call a girl an "it" and I believe that here you could (perhaps more likely) have said "to her" -

ihr.

Ich habe das Mädchen gesehen und ich habe ihr die Blume gegeben.


Now do you remember how to say "to him" in German?

Ihm

and "to her"?

Ihr

and as I taught you earlier, what is "to it”?

Ihm

We now can carry on playing our matching game


“I give him the book (give the book to him)” is?

Ich gebe ihm das Buch.

Now if “ihn” matches with “den”, can you guess what “ihm” matches with?

Dem

So I give the man the book (I give the book TO the man) would be?

Ich gebe dem Mann das Buch.

How would you say, "I give it the book (give the book to it)"?

Ich gebe ihm das Buch.

Now if girl is “das Mädchen”, can you figure out: "i give the girl the book"?

Ich gebe dem Mädchen das Buch.

Do you remember the word for "to her"?

Ihr

Now if ihn matches with den, and ihm matches with dem, what do you think ihr matches with

Der

How would you say: "I am giving it to her"?

Ich gebe es ihr.

And therefore, "I am giving it to the woman (die Frau)" would be?

Ich gebe es der Frau.

How would you say (with heavy emphasis on man), "I am going to tell (say it to) the girl and the lady, but I am not going to tell the man!"?

Ich werde es dem Mädchen und der Dame sagen, aber dem Mann werde ich es nicht sagen!

If you said, "Ich werde es dem Mädchen und der Dame sagen, aber ich werde es dem Mann nicht sagen" that is OK too, you just put a little less emphasis

on man.

The word for a male "teacher" in German is " Der Lehrer"- one who imparts the lore of our society to our children, ha ha.

How would you say, "You shouldn't have given the book to the teacher!"?

Sie hätten dem Lehrer das Buch nicht geben sollen!

With most professions you can make the female form by adding "in" to the masculine form, so how would you say, "the (female) teacher"?

Die Lehrerin.

So how would you say, "you could have given the hat to the (female) teacher"?

Sie hätten der Lehrerin den Hut geben können.

You know, we actually have one leftover of this in English, the German for "fox" is der Fuchs, and the vixen is die Füchsin!

Finally do you remember how to say "to them"?

Ihnen

Now ihnen originally matched with denen but one day one of the "n"s fell off leaving de-en, which quickly got shortened to den. So ihnen matches with?

den.

So "I am giving it to them" is?

Ich gebe es ihnen.

And "I am giving it to the women (Frauen)" would be?

Ich gebe es den Frauen.

And that´s it, you now know how to say "the" in German

Some of you may wonder what happened to the "n" that fell off, well it's a funny thing but it landed on the end of the noun!

So, for instance "to the children" was originally "denen Kinder", but the middle "n" fell off and landed on the end of Kinder, so what is "to the children"?

Den Kindern.

So how would you say, "I wanted to give it to the children"?

Ich wollte es den Kindern geben.

What about, "ach, you shouldn't have given it to the children!"?

Ach Sie hätten es den Kindern nicht geben sollen!

How do you say "ladies" in German?

Damen

Ah, so some plurals already end in "n", they don't need another one, so the extra "n" just bounced straight off.

How do you say, "I'm glad (it pleases me) that you gave the dog to the ladies"?

Es freut mich, dass Sie den Damen den Hund gegeben haben.


So, where are we now?
We can boil all this down to one simple rule, match the with the German word for him her or it etc,.

Er always gives you?

Der

Sie always gives you?

Die

Es always gives you?

Das

Ihn always gives you?

Den

Ihm always gives you?

Dem

Ihr always gives you?

Der

And ihnen always gives you?

Den (should have been denen, but the extra "n" fell off and landed on the end of the noun- den Kindern).

See how the endings match? since MT already taught you how to use er sie ihn etc you now have an easy way to figure out the word for the, so even if memory fails you will never forget


One last quick test

If "with me" is “mit mir” what is "with him"

Mit ihm

So with the man would be?

Mit dem Mann

And "I wanted to go there with her”?

Ich wollte mit ihr dorthin gehen

so "I wanted to go there with the woman" would be?

Ich wollte mit der Frau dorthin gehen

And “with it” is “mit ihm” too, so “with the girl (das Mädchen)” would be?

Mit dem Mädchen

How would you say, "I would have liked (it would have pleased me) very much to go there with the girl"?

Es hätte mich sehr gefreut, mit dem Mädchen dorthin zu gehen. (Note: this sentence is new, and has not been checked by "Katherle").

Finally “with them” is?

Mit ihnen

So “with the women (Frauen)” would be?

Mit den Frauen.

If the German for "men" is die Männer, how would you say, "I didn't want to go with the men"?

Ich wollte nicht mit den Männern gehen.



Edited by Random review on 13 January 2011 at 8:19pm

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Kugel
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4901 days ago

497 posts - 555 votes 
Speaks: English*

 
 Message 51 of 60
12 January 2011 at 3:57pm | IP Logged 
Randomreview, are there any planes to plug in the material into a prompt/answer format?
1 person has voted this message useful



Random review
Diglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 4146 days ago

781 posts - 1310 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Portuguese, Mandarin, Yiddish, German

 
 Message 52 of 60
12 January 2011 at 8:17pm | IP Logged 
Kugel wrote:
Randomreview, are there any planes to plug in the material into a prompt/answer format?


Well, yeah- on the site you suggested @ #16. There should also (fingers crossed) be a pdf hosted by andy E, we'll have to think of a way to cover the answers somehow, mayybe split it into two columns with answers on right? Finally I rather like the idea of recording it like MT's Language Builder (which I really liked for German, not so much for Spanish) and putting it on youtube, as I suspect it would reach a large audience that way...but that would be subject to finding a native speaker of German who was familiar with MT's courses and was willing to record it...not all that likely.
1 person has voted this message useful



Andy E
Triglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 5466 days ago

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Speaks: English*, Spanish, French

 
 Message 53 of 60
14 January 2011 at 12:26pm | IP Logged 
Quote:
There should also (fingers crossed) be a pdf hosted by andy E,


I have no problem both creating and hosting the PDF once you're happy with the text.
2 persons have voted this message useful



lw07bm
Newbie
United Kingdom
Joined 3266 days ago

1 posts - 1 votes
Studies: German

 
 Message 54 of 60
23 June 2011 at 12:58pm | IP Logged 
Random review wrote:
Kugel wrote:
Randomreview, are there any planes to plug in the material into a prompt/answer format?


Well, yeah- on the site you suggested @ #16. There should also (fingers crossed) be a pdf hosted by andy E, we'll have to think of a way to cover the answers somehow, mayybe split it into two columns with answers on right? Finally I rather like the idea of recording it like MT's Language Builder (which I really liked for German, not so much for Spanish) and putting it on youtube, as I suspect it would reach a large audience that way...but that would be subject to finding a native speaker of German who was familiar with MT's courses and was willing to record it...not all that likely.


This is so helpful! I just wondered whether you had finished the whole new draft? No worries if not as the stuff on this thread has aided my German so much already! Thanks.
1 person has voted this message useful



Welltravelled
Diglot
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United Kingdom
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Speaks: English*, French

 
 Message 55 of 60
27 June 2011 at 12:52pm | IP Logged 
Thanks so much for continuing with this Random review. I am finding it extremely useful
and interesting. Keep it up!
1 person has voted this message useful



Random review
Diglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 4146 days ago

781 posts - 1310 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Portuguese, Mandarin, Yiddish, German

 
 Message 56 of 60
24 September 2011 at 1:55am | IP Logged 
Look, this is getting embarrassing. I learned the basics of the German case system
(largely using the first lessons of the FSI Basic Course) and subsequently found a way
of looking at it that made sense to me- and really wanted to share this in an MT way
(because it genuinely felt to me like the kind of way he might have deconstructed it);
but it was taking WAY too long to complete because my German simply isn't good enough,
I had to leave it nearly 4 years ago now (and do intend to return) and if we all wait
for me to find time to improve my German sufficiently (I intend to take up German again
ASAP) the ETA for this thing will be around Summer 2012 (though barring illness, injury
or death I *will* finish it). I never intended this to be "my" thing (though had it
been possible my ego would have loved it as much as the next person's), I just want it
to be "out there" for people to use. So this is a call for a native or advanced (C1 or
C2) German speaker to help me finish it, please. I have already (I think) deconstructed
the basics of the system (I don't pretend to be an expert), and have had lots of great
advice above about how to teach it, I just need someone to correct my German sentences
in such a way that the corrected sentences do not use difficult vocabulary and still
teach the point that my original sentence was intended to teach
. This could be done
simply by allowing me to email drafts to you until we are both happy (i.e. I am happy
that it teaches everything I intend it to, and you are happy that all the German is
correct). Any volunteers? The only other possible problem is that this is to be
released for free to anyone, so unfortunately I couldn't pay you; but it'd be your baby
as much as mine and if it turns out any good that should give us both a lot of
pleasure. Thanks in advance.

Edited by Random review on 24 September 2011 at 3:40pm



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