News of 1st of April

noungenderreformThis post was my little April’s fools joke for this year. And since I’ve nothing new yet, I’ll just leave it for a few days :)… happy easter by the way… frohe Ostern

Hallo ihr Lieben,

so originally I wanted to talk about gerade  but then I was reading the paper during my number 2 and I learned about some really really really crazy news. So, over the last decade or so the number of German students world wide has risen constantly and is still rising. Slowly, politics is catching on and in early 2014 an initiative was initiated. As a first step, the Statistische Bundesamt (federal office of statistics) investigated German classes of all kinds. The resulting data was then reviewed by a group of experts constituted by members of the Goethe Institute and the DaFL e.V.(German teachers association). And now, after several months of intense debate a first draft for a law passed the first reading of the Bundestag – the Nomengruppengenusvereinheitlichungsgesetz (NGVeG).
Here’s the most important bit (translation by me):

“After a transition period of 10 years all nouns that are in one synonym group or belong to a semantic set as defined in §36 sec. 24b shall have the gender of the most commonly used member of said group.”

What does that mean? Well it’s what you’ve always dreamed of. From 2025 onward “das Mädchen” will be “die Mädchen”. Because it is a member of the group “die Frau”. Here are a few more examples from the sample list they published on their website:

  • trees:     “der” (“der Eiche”, “der Ahorn”, “der Buche”, “der Kastanie”…)
  • words for cars: “das” ( “das Auto”, “das Wagen”, “das Karre”, “das BMW”… )
  • words for physical entrances:   “die” (“die Tür”, “die Tor”, “die Eingang”, “die Pforte”… )

The draft is supported not only by the people involved in teaching but also by the all important lobby of young parents. A big study in 2012 revealed a significant correlation between a kid’s exposure to random, non-nonsensical noun genders and ADHS prompting a true gold rush in “One Noun Gender a Year “-parenting books and “single noun gender child yoga”-courses. Parents, on full alert, have been pushing for language reform ever since.
Of course the draft also received some serious flak by conservatives and the press. One argument that the nay-sayers like to bring up is the fact that  two compounds with the same base noun could have two different genders then.

  • “die Eingang” (group: die Tür) – “der Durchgang” (group: der Tunnel).

And one word can have two different genders depending on the meaning.

die Ausgang – the exit (group: die Tür), das Ausgang – the result (group: das Resultat)

Prof. S. Scheinhuber, a very renowned metaphysical linguist of the University Thübingen argued that it might even be more difficult to learn than before. But other experts claim that having a gender difference can actually help students making a distinction between the several abstract meanings of a word like Ausgang. Overall the pros definitely outweigh the cons and worried parents are definitely a force to be reckoned with so… I am pretty sure the law will pass making German gender much more intuitive and fun.Yeaaay.
Isn’t that great??? I’ll definitely keep you updated on the whole process and let you know as soon as you can burn all the study material you hate so much. So.. that’s it for today. Wasn’t really a word but I just had to share that with you. Also, I’d really like to hear your thoughts on this. Do you think that it’s gonna make it easier? Oh, and if you have successfully learned the genders already does it piss you off that it was all for naught? Like… would that reform be a reason for you to unlearn German? Let me know in the comments below.
In either case, I wish you a wonderful day! Or in new German… eine wundervolle Tag… because “Tag” belongs to the group “die Zeit” ;)

By the way… there has been another reform a while ago, with regards to verb tenses. It didn’t receive much media attention because it was about the Future 3 tense but if you have decent German you can read a full article here: Germany introduces third future tense

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Grateful Reader
Grateful Reader
7 years ago

Was ist der Unterschied zwischen herab und herunter?

Gehe ich ins Tal hinab oder hinunter? Fällt der Apfel herab oder herunter?

Jill
Jill
7 years ago

Perhaps you have all also seen this – which is revenge for us, on the English-speaking side …? : – ) http://www.janpieter.com/content/026_eu_official_language.cfm#content

Nikolaus Wittenstein
Nikolaus Wittenstein
7 years ago

*einem! …peinlich.

Bruno
Bruno
7 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Ja… noch eine Liste, die man auswending lernen muss!

Bruno
Bruno
7 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Ja klar, mit viel Laut lesen wird natürlich alles viel einfacher. Leider fehlt mir die Zeit! Ich versuche trotzdem ein bisschen Deutsch jeden Tag im öffentlichen Verkehr zuzuhören. Es reicht nicht, um Fortschritt zu tun, aber es genügt mindestens, um nicht alles zu vergessen!

Bruno
Bruno
7 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Danke für die Korrektur :)

Grateful Reader
Grateful Reader
7 years ago
Reply to  Bruno

“Ja… noch eine Liste, die man auswending lernen muss!”

Das muss man nicht.

Alle diese komischen Substantive sind männlich, das wäre der erste Hinweis. (Es gibt eine Halbausnahme: “das Herz”).

Dann muss man zwischen den Erb- (d.h. deutschen) und den Lehnwörtern unterscheiden.

Unter den Erbwörtern enden die meisten schwach zu beugenden auf “e” (oder sie haben in früherer Zeit auf “e” geendet). Affe, Name, Junge, Sklave, Buchstabe. Wenn man also so ein Maskulinum sieht, kann man es immer schwach deklinieren (auch wenn es Ausnahmen gibt, hat meiner Meinung nach die Effektivität den Vorrang, weshalb die Fehlerrate bei Verwendung dieser Methode vernachlässigbar klein ist). Simpel.

Nun, es gibt auch Erbwörter wie Fürst, Bub, Bär, Held, Prinz usw. Manche davon hatten früher, wie schon erwähnt, die Endung “e” (“Bube”), die anderen nicht. Die Anzahl jener Wörter ist im Prinzip gering, die muss man nicht auswendig lernen, das passiert von selbst.

Und natürlich gibt es jede Menge an Lehnwörtern mit bestimmten Endugen, darunter: -ist, -ologe, -ent (Achtung: wie gesagt, betrifft das nur die männlichen Nomen; “das Argument” oder “das Pergament” lassen sich daher nur stark beugen), -ekt, -graf, -ant und viele andere griechischer und lateinischer Herkunft. Dazu zählen auch viele Herkunftsbezeichnungen wie “Asiat”, “Brite” oder “Afghane”.

NICHT dazu zu zählen sind Wörter auf -or (der Motor/den Motor; der Autor/den Autor) und -er (der Australier/den Australier, usw.)

Wie auch dieses System verwickelt und nicht ganz logisch sein mag, kann man da ziemlich systematisch vorgehen, ohne alle diese Wörter auswendig lernen zu müssen. Und eines noch: viele Deutsche verzichten heute darauf, manche schwach zu deklinierenden Wörter zu deklinieren. Man hört und sieht also Varianten wie “dem Prinz” und “dem Elefant”. Das ist einfach der Sprachwandel.

Kat
Kat
7 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Mann, bin ich froh, dass ich Deutsch nicht als Fremdsprache lernen muss! Hut ab vor denen, die es tun :-)

Marcel
Marcel
7 years ago
Reply to  Kat

Das war es mutmasslich wert, weil es damals in den Niederlanden tagsübrich kein fernsehen gab. Und schon gar kein Tom & Jerry, vielen Dank an Herrn Jürgens. Zum Fernsehen musste man einfach Deutsch lernen.

Nikolaus Wittenstein
Nikolaus Wittenstein
7 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Kann ich mit Herrn whoever-invented-this-language sprechen bitte? Ich habe ihm etwas zu sagen. :P

Das Schlimmste ist, dass ich in meinem Kopf “mit einem Namen” gesagt habe, und dann habe ich gedacht “nein, nein, warum sage ich ‘Namen’? Der bekommt kein n.”

Nächstes mal.

Nikolaus Wittenstein
Nikolaus Wittenstein
7 years ago

Das Nomengruppengenusvereinheitlichungsgesetz ist offensichtlich eine Gruppe mit einen ganz tollen Name. Ich bin aber neugierig: was ist das Unterschied zwischen “Genus” und “Geschlecht”? Gibt es einen Unterschied? Danke!

Marcel
Marcel
7 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

genus, generis usw. ist Lateinisch, nicht Griechisch, es gehört zum Verb genere/geno, das wachsen oder entstehen bedeutet.

Kat
Kat
7 years ago

Nicht im grammatikalischen Sinn

Kat
Kat
7 years ago
Reply to  Kat

Sorry, mein comment bezog sich auf die Frage von Nikolaus Wittgenstein (P.S.: Es ist “der Unterschied” :-)

Nikolaus Wittenstein
Nikolaus Wittenstein
7 years ago
Reply to  Kat

Ich habe “das Unterschied” geschrieben, und dann “Gibt es einen Unterschied?”. Was habe ich gedacht? Man weiß es nicht. Danke für die Hilfe :)

leunamcrowley
7 years ago

Fools day in Colombia is December 28. So in the most innocent way I shared this with my German teacher, she first got really sad and then realized it’s April… Outcome: tons and tons of homework. Thanks Emmanuel :(

Beate
Beate
7 years ago

İ hope this is an april joke…..that will open the door to terrible confusions! …perhaps easier to learn for foreign students, but what about us who has learned the language from childhood…..????

Kat
Kat
7 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

After the article on what the pilot had for breakfast that day…

scottishjerkycom
7 years ago

Ah. Hadn’t noticed the date. Thought the email arrived on the 31st, so bought it hook line and sinker! Nice one.

Luci
Luci
7 years ago

Haha nice one :) By the way, just a little correction – it’s “all for nought” (not ‘all for not’), nought being a synonym for ‘zero’ or ‘nothing’. Cheers!

a.n.onymous
a.n.onymous
7 years ago
Reply to  Luci
gökhan
gökhan
7 years ago

i didn’t like it. That is complete nonsense. We have been trying to learn german for so long and this makes it just harder.
It is like “now learn it in this way!” it is not just about the articles … it also changes the forms (dativ, akk, gen.) of that words that we have been used to

Razvan Tudor Grigore

Damn it, was tooo good to be true…. Just when i thought that they’ll finally put some logic into it. Don’t do that with us again, please!

a.n.onymous
a.n.onymous
7 years ago

Hang on. One word *can* have different meanings depending on the gender: z. B. der/das Schild, der/das Moment.

Nikolaus Wittenstein
Nikolaus Wittenstein
7 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

More confusing! You have to remember which gender means which thing. Take der/das Teil, for example.

Peter of the Norse
Peter of the Norse
7 years ago

Dammit! You got me. So much of this is a good idea. I hope they at least consider the idea of „die Mädchen“.

Craig
Craig
7 years ago

April, April, freunde.

HUISH, JESSENIA
HUISH, JESSENIA
7 years ago

this isnt an april fools day joke, is it? it would be great if “Das madchen” really did become “Die madchen”. I remember my german teacher trying to explain this to us:

Students: “Wait..if “Frau” is female, why is “Madchen” neuter? doesnt “girl” basically mean “female child”?

Frau: yeah, It’s neuter. because apparently you’re a man from the day you’re born, but girls arent officially considered female until they’re women? I guess? I really don’t know.

________________________________

Jess H
Jess H
7 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

nope. She didn’t. XD

Ruth
Ruth
7 years ago

The DaFL e.V. link is especially informative.

cmalbrecht
7 years ago

German is confusing enough as it stands and now we’re talking about unlearning stuff we’ve put years into? Never! (Besides, by 2025 I’ll be 98 and probably won’t remember my own name.

andrewstahmer
7 years ago

Verdammt! You were once das Tor of all knowledge. Under the new ‘law’ you are der Tor of all knowledge :).

Kat
Kat
7 years ago
Reply to  andrewstahmer

Which is kind of appropriate, because “Der Tor” actually exists in German – it’s an old-fashioned term for “fool” ;-)

Kat
Kat
7 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Genau!!

happybomber
happybomber
7 years ago

This is the first one today that actually had me going for a minute.

Lucius
Lucius
7 years ago

thank you for your post. The verb räumen and its variants, is easy to understand. How on earth did einräumen come to mean to concede, to admit? Herzlichen Dank

MegaMu
MegaMu
7 years ago

You are BAD.