As we know, German nouns can be masculine, feminine, or neuter, and the article used with a noun is dependent on its gender. You may have already been advised to memorize the definite article der, die, or das as an essential part of the noun itself, as there are few patterns that will reliably help you retrieve the gender of the noun later on. At Yabla, we try to help with this by always including the definite article of any new vocabulary words presented in our newsletters.
However, because new words are not always presented with their definite article in Yabla videos or in real life situations, it may be good to learn a few tendencies that exist for certain word endings. Let’s start with some typically masculine endings, keeping in mind that these rules do have exceptions and that memorizing the article along with each individual noun will always be a better idea.
Often, words ending with -er, -or, -en, -ling, -smus, -ig, -eig, -ant, or -eich are masculine and require the definite article der.
Der Teig hat doch eine ganze Stunde gebraucht, um fertig zu werden.
The batter did indeed take a whole hour to be ready.Play Caption
Dann wird der Honig in Gläser abgefüllt.
Then the honey is filled into jars.
Caption 28, Piggeldy und Frederick - VergessenPlay Caption
Der Garten, den ihr hier seht, der gehört zur Domäne Dahlem.
The garden, which you see here, belongs to the Dömane Dahlem [name of museum].
Caption 4, Berlin - Domäne Dahlem - Part 2Play Caption
It is important to note that these rules often don’t apply to monosyllabic words. For example, words ending in -eich are often masculine, but not das Reich ("the empire").
Und der hintere Bereich jetzt hier, wo kommen wir jetzt hin?
And the area now behind here, where are we going now?Play Caption
And don't forget: these “rules” are really only tendencies due to exceptions. As we see here, there are words ending with -ant that are not masculine.
Der Elefant wollte an seine Frau nach Afrika schreiben.
The elephant wanted to write to his wife in Africa.
Caption 34, Janoschs Traumstunde - Post für den TigerPlay Caption
„Wie heißt das Restaurant, dessen Essen so... dessen Essen so gut sein soll?"
"What is the name of the restaurant whose food... whose food is supposed to be so good?"Play Caption
We will be back next week with typical endings for feminine nouns. In the meantime, make some flashcards with vocabulary from past lessons or your favorite videos on Yabla German, and always include the definite article so that you learn the gender of the noun. If you have flashcards but have not included the articles, add them now! It is important to get into the habit of doing so.
Gertrude Stein may have felt that a "rose is a rose is a rose is a rose," but William Shakespeare wrote that "the summer's flower is to the summer sweet," especially after a "barren winter, with his wrathful nipping cold." You probably already know that flowers are Blumen, but do you know the names of some of the common varieties? Let's start with some parts of the flower:
Die Bienen und Hummeln ohne Gegenwind von Blüte zu Blüte fliegen konnten.
The bees and the bumblebees could fly from blossom to blossom without a headwind.
Caption 9, Piggeldy und Frederick - VergessenPlay Caption
Irgendwas zum Fressen gibt's eigentlich immer, Knospen, Blätter oder Früchte von Platanen.
There's always something to eat, buds, leaves, or fruit from the plane trees.
Captions 25-26, Freilebende Papageien - Überwintern in WiesbadenPlay Caption
And on to some specific flower varieties:
Ein achtundzwanzig Meter großer Baum und sechzehn riesige beleuchtete Lilien.
A twenty-eight meter tall tree and sixteen gigantic illuminated lilies.
Captions 1-2, Der Sternschnuppenmarkt - in WiesbadenPlay Caption
Weil heute Valentinstag ist, gibt es besonders viele rote Rosen.
Because today is Valentine's Day, there are especially many red roses.
Caption 9, Valentinstag - in KarlsruhePlay Caption
Die Hagebuttenrosen blühten so rosa wie schon lange nicht mehr.
The rose hips were blooming pinker than they had in a long time.
Caption 26, Piggeldy und Frederick - Das FernwehPlay Caption
Those whose seasonal interests extend beyond the horticultural may enjoy watching some videos on another favorite summer pastime: soccer (aka football). Check out this Yabla video at the top of this article and search for more soccer videos on German Yabla.
Take a look at this excellent list of German flower names. See which ones are easy to remember for their similarities to English, and make up a set of flash cards for the ones you find difficult. Hibiscus is clearly der Hibiskus, but who could've guessed that baby's breath is das Schleierkraut? Then go through the Yabla videos above and explore the context in which these flowery sentences were used!