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The N Declension in German, Part II

In last week's lesson, we discussed N declensions in German that use nouns having to do with people, animals, and nationalities. To review, the term "N declension" means that there are certain mostly masculine nouns that have an "-n" or "-en" added to the end in all grammatical cases—except the nominative singular case. This week, we will take a look at some other categories of nouns that use N declensions.


There's yet another general category of people whose masculine nouns take the N declension:


Also die Haare, die Kleidung ... alles Mögliche, was an einem Menschen auffallen kann.

That is, the hair, the clothing... all sorts of things that can be noticeable about a human being.

Captions 4-5, Deutsch mit Eylin: Menschen beschreiben

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Here the masculine noun der Mensch takes the N declension in the dative case. Other nouns in this general category of people that take the N declension include der Bauer ("the farmer"), der Held ("the hero"), der Nachbar ("the neighbor"), and der Held ("the hero"). Note that Bauer and Nachbar just take an -n ending rather than the more usual -en. Some noble titles used in names such as Prinz ("Prince"), Graf ("Count"), and Zar ("Tsar") also take the N declension. Unique among the religions, even der Christ ("the Christian") uses the N declension.


The next category is professions:


Elegant, fast schwungvoll: die Kuppel des britischen Architekten Sir Norman Foster direkt über dem Plenarsaal.

Elegant, almost bold: the dome of the British architect Sir Norman Foster directly above the plenary chamber.

Captions 12-13, Berlin: Hauptstadt des vereinten Deutschland

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The profession der Architekt ("the architekt") becomes des Architekten in the genitive case. Other professions taking the N declension include der Chirurg ("the surgeon"), der Katholik ("the Catholic"), der Philosoph ("the philosopher"), der Pilot ("the pilot"), and der Poet ("the poet").


The next category of N declension nouns are objects:


Aber du wolltest uns doch heute einen Androiden zeigen!

But you wanted to show us an android today!

Caption 56, Es war einmal... der Weltraum: Die Saurier

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The noun der Android becomes den Androiden with the N declension. Other masculine nouns for objects that take the N declension include der Automat ("the automat"), der Asteroid ("the asteroid"), der Diamant ("the diamond"), der Telegraf ("the telegraph"), der Planet ("the planet"), der Komet ("the comet"), and der Satellit ("the satellite").


Stay tuned for Part III of "The N Declension in German" in the coming weeks. We'll be taking a look at some exceptions in the N declension category and show you a master list of N declension words.


Further Learning
Take a look on Yabla German for some of the words above to see them used in a real-world context. Be careful when searching for words used in an accusative, dative, or genitive case—otherwise the words you found will likely just be plural nouns and not N declensions at all!

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