German Grammar

There are a lot of similarities between English and German because both originate from the Indo-European language. What will confuse an English speaking person are the genders used with German nouns. Most languages have a masculine or feminine gender. German has a third gender: neuter.

The three articles used with nouns are: der – masculine; die – feminine and das – neuter. There are no fast rules as to the usage of genders. Der Mann (man) is masculine. Die Frau (woman) is feminine. So far, so good, but Mädchen (girl) is neuter. Genders do not transfer well from other languages. In French table is feminine (la table) but in German it is masculine (der Tisch). If you had to guess which gender to use, guess der. The highest percentage of German nouns are masculine.
The best way to learn German vocabulary is to treat the article of a noun as an integral part of the word. Instead of Buch (book), Tisch (table), Sonne (sun) use:

  • Das Buch (book)
  • Der Tisch (table)
  • Die Sonne (sun).

All German nouns are capitalized. To make things a bit easier, all plural nouns are feminine. Most German plural nouns have either an e, en, er or s added. You might have heard about an Umlaut which changes an a to ä, an o to an ö, and a u to a ü. The umlaut is mostly, but no always, used with plural nouns:

  • Der Vogel (bird) becomes die Vögel
  • Das Land (country) becomes die Länder
  • Das Buch (book) becomes die Bücher
  • Der Tisch (table) becomes die Tische
  • Die Ente (goose) become die Enten
  • Das Auto (car) becomes die Autos.

Learning the noun plurals is a lot like learning gender. It is best to simply learn a noun with both its gender and its plural form.

There is also the matter of addressing a person. An example is the second person pronoun. English has only one –  “you.” In German you address family or friends with “Du.” A stranger is addressed with “Sie“, like the old English “thou.” It shows respect.

No matter how you address them they appreciate if you do in their own tongue. So instead of saying, “Hello, how are you?” you can say, “Guten Tage wie geht es Ihnen?”

A Review Of The Top German Grammar Courses For 2011:

Rocket German

#1.   Rocket German

Rocket German is highly recommended German course. It is designed to take you from novice level I an intermediate level in less than eight weeks. The biggest difficulty a student faces is with grammar and vocabulary. Rocket German solves these issues effectively with audio courses. The interactive games make learning vocabulary a breeze. Unlike a classroom session, with Rocket German you can go with your own comfort level.

Learn More About Rocket German Today!

Surefire German Program

#2.   The Surefire German Program

With the Learn German Program, you can quickly and easily learn the German language by using the memorization tools that are part of the program. Your brain thinks in images instead of words. You will be able to apply the linking technique used in this in this course, to learn German in a fraction of the time over traditional methods taught in school, using German link word examples, German Matching Game and German Flash Card program.

Learn More About Surefire German Today!

German Pod 101

#3.   German Pod 101

GermanPod101 is an innovative, fun, and easy learning system. It will have you speak German from the very first lesson. You learn German at your own convenience with short, effective lessons. The interactive system consists of free daily audio podcast lessons, which are accompanied with PDF materials. This program provides students of German with ultimate self-study learning course

Learn More About German Pod 101 Today!

Rosetta Stone German

#4.   Rosetta Stone

With Rosetta Stone, you will learn German the way you learned you own native language, without translation or memorization. It is self-contained and intuitive to use. With Dynamic Immersion, you can start learning immediately. What is Dynamic Immersion? It helps you to think in the new language and quickly develop the language skills and structures you need for everyday communication. Rosetta Stone offers immediate reinforcement. The very second you complete a task, the software provides immediate feedback.

Learn More About Rosetta Stone Today!

Reform of 1996 and beyond
The German spelling reform of 1996 led to public controversy and considerable dispute.
Some state parliaments (Bundesländer) would not accept it (North Rhine Westphalia and Bavaria). The dispute landed at one point in the highest court, which made a short issue of it, claiming that the states had to decide for themselves and that only in schools could the reform be made the official rule—everybody else could continue writing as they had learned it.
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