German has a reputation for being a difficult and rough language, but there are in fact some words and constructions that are particularly lovely and not found in any other language. Let's have a look!
First of all, there are a number of nouns that are quite charming, including compound nouns. In what other language do you have words for a sense of happiness found when hiking, or being as happy as a poodle? Or what about the word for lightbulb, which literally translates as "glowing pear?"
Ein Mitbringsel gibt es für die Familie dann aber doch.
But there is a little present then for the family, nonetheless.
Caption 13, Katherine Heigl: Sie liebt deutsches EssenPlay Caption
Die Biker fühlen sich pudelwohl hier zwischen S-Bahn und Autos
The bikers feel as happy as poodles here between the S-Bahn and cars,
Caption 48, Pumptrack: Rad fahren, ohne zu tretenPlay Caption
Zum Gipfelglück führt nur ein schmaler Grat durchs ewige Eis.
Enjoyment of the summit is only reachable by a narrow ridge, through eternal ice.Play Caption
...der typische Morgenmuffel namens Geli.
...a typical morning grouch by the name of Geli.Play Caption
Hier ist die Fassung und da ist die Birne. Kann man rein- und rausschrauben. -Ist eine Glühbirne.
Here is the socket and there is the bulb. You can screw it in and out. -It's a light bulb.Play Caption
Then there is the ending -chen. You are probably already familiar with several words that simply have this ending, such as das Mädchen, das Hähnchen, or das Bisschen. But like the ending -lein, -chen is used to create diminutive forms, and there are many words that can be transformed with this suffix. Let's have a look.
As mentioned, these two words ending in -chen are simply standard German words:
Ein Junge und ein Mädchen, fünf Jahre und zwei Jahre.
A boy and a girl, five years old and two years old.
Caption 60, Cettina: interviewt MütterPlay Caption
Glaubst du, du wirst dort ein leckeres Hähnchen grillen?
Do you think you will grill a delicious chicken there?
Caption 38, Konjugation: Das Verb „grillen“Play Caption
In these next two examples, you can see that das Männchen can mean "the little man," in this case referring to small statues. However, it also can refer to the male of a species, in this case a male woodpecker:
Ja, richtig. Aus dem Ampelmännchen ist eine dreidimensionale Skulptur geworden.
Yes, exactly. A three dimensional sculpture has emerged from the little traffic light man.Play Caption
Bei der Zimmererarbeit wechseln Männchen und Weibchen einander ab.
When it comes to carpentry work, males and females take turns.Play Caption
This next example brings up a good point, which is that many diminutive forms result in the addition of an umlaut:
Aus dem „Hund“ wird dann ein „Hündchen“.
From "dog," we then get "little dog."
Caption 31, Deutsch mit Eylin: Umlaute - Part 1Play Caption
As you may have noticed, all of these words have the article das. While Mark Twain may have been quite critical of "the girl" having a neuter article rather than a feminine one, you have to admit it's quite convenient that they all follow the same pattern!
In addition to what you can find on Yabla German, there is a massive list of nouns that end with -chen on Wikipedia. Have a look! On Yabla, pay special attention to how the -chen ending is pronounced by native speakers, using the slow playback function if necessary.