The noun Das Substantiv
The noun is a part of speech that names things, beings, phenomenons, notions and ideas. Nouns in german will always be written with upper case initials (the first letter of a substantive/noun is written with capital letter.)
Categories of nouns: – proper nouns (which define specifically the name of a being, phenomenom, notion or idea – they are usualy unique given names)
> Examples: Köln (name of a city in Germany), Thomas (name of a person), die Dunau (name of a river), Rumänien (name of a country), die Relativitätstheorie (relativity theory) etc.
– common nouns (which define a category of things of the same kind)
> Examples: der Fluss (theriver), die Stadt (the town), die Schule (the school), das Kind (the child), der Mann (the man) etc.
– abstract nouns (caracterized particulary by the fact that they can’t be counted)
> Examples: die Gemütlichkeit (the comfort), die Klugheit (the smartness), der Lauf (the run), das Geweine (the crying), das Gelb (the yellow) etc.
– colective nouns (naming a group of objects, persons, beings etc.)
> Examples: die Jugend (the youth), das Volk (the nation), die Mannschaft (the team) etc.
Remember: When a german noun is preceded by a definite article (der, die, or das) in english the noun will be translated with the article “the”
Example: das Auto is translated with „the car” if we eliminate the article “das”, translation becomes “car”
der Mann = the man
die Frau = the woman
der Zug = the train
German nouns have three genders: masculine, feminine si neuter.
The gender of the nouns can be determined by the articles that precede them. Therefore it is recommended to learn the nouns together with their articles.
Example: – Child = Kind, das (Substantiv, Neutrum)
“das Kind” is of neuter gender as indicated by the article “das”
There are three definite articles for each gender: >
der – for masculine gender nouns
die – for feminine gender nouns
das – for neuter gender nouns
The article “die” defines plural nouns indifferently from their gender.
Examples: die Tiere (the animals), die Steine (the rocks), die Kinder (the children) etc.
The gender of a noun in german is not the same with the gender of the same noun translated from english!
By composition nouns can be simple or compound.
> – simple nouns: das Wasser (the water), der Lehrer (the teacher), der Baum (the tree), das Haus (the house), das Gebäude (the building) etc.
– compound nouns (they form by adding more words together and can have in it’s compositions other parts of speach like adjectives, numerals, verbs, adverbs):
The forming of compound nouns:
> das Mineralwasser
(the mineral water)
> der Hauptlehrer
(the main teacher)
> der Obstbaum
(the fruit tree)
> das Rathaus
(the council house, the town hall)
Note that in english we use two or more separate words to express the same word in german.
> der Rat + das Haus + der Platz becomes der Rathausplatz (the town hall place/park)
(the council) (house) (the place)
> die Kranken + das Haus becomes das Krankenhaus (the hospital, house of the sick)
(the sick) (the house)
> das Leben + das Mittel + der Laden becomes der Lebensmittelladen (the grocery store)
(the life) (environment) (the store)
Remember: The gender of a compound noun is determined by the last noun of the compound word!