Saturday, 31 January 2009

Feminine (and compound) nouns

The feminine word for 'the' is die. Nouns that refer to females are usually feminine. Die Mutter, die Frau, die Tochter, die Schwester are all feminine. There are some other general rules. Most trees are feminine. Die Linde is the linden tree which is usually called the lime tree in Britain although there is a pub called the Linden Tree in Lancaster. Die Tanne is the fir tree but it is der Tannenbaum.

Compound nouns, nouns that are made up of two or more words are very popular in German. You can often guess the meaning of the compound noun if you know the meaning of the separate words and the gender of the compound noun is the same as the last word. So der Zahn and die Bürste makes die Zahnbürst. Die Kinder and das Zimmer makes das Kinderzimmer - the children's room.

Most fruits are feminine. Die Banane, die Orange, but look out for exceptions like der Apfel and der Pfirsich.

Cardinal numbers are numbers like 1, 2 and 3. Ordinal numbers are numbers like 'first' 'second' and 'third'. The cardinal numbers are feminine - die vier.

Bis bald

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