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German Grammar Glossary
English and German Grammar Terms
Explained in Plain English


HOW TO USE THIS GLOSSARY: Each grammar term is listed alphabetically in English, along with its German equivalent (often Latin-based) and in some cases the Germanic term. Words in ALL CAPS refer to terms that are also defined in this glossary. Noun gender is indicated by r (der), e (die), or s (das). Most entries have a link to a related lesson or grammar guide.

German Grammar Glossary
Deutsches Grammatik-Lexikon
  English   Deutsch   Explanation
r Wemfall
  The INDIRECT OBJECT case in German. > German Cases
e Deklination
e Beugung
  German NOUNS and PRONOUNS are declined to reflect the CASE in which they are being used. Declination is indicated by different endings or forms for the noun or pronoun itself, plus any article, or adjective used with a noun/pronoun. Examples of DECLINATION: nom. der becomes acc. den; nom. ich becomes dat. mir. > Cases
DEFINITE ARTICLE bestimmter Artikel   Refers to a particular person or thing (noun), rather than just any item - the tree, as opposed to a tree. German has three basic forms of the definite article (the): der, die, das, reflecting the three noun GENDERS, and DECLINED to agree with the German CASES. Also see INDEFINITE ARTICLE, DER- and DIESER-WORDS. > Gender Hints
  ADVERBS, ARTICLES or PRONOUNS used to point out a particular thing, as in "that one" or "this one." Also see DER- and DIESER-WORDS.
DEPENDENT CLAUSE r Nebensatz   A dependent clause is also called a SUBORDINATE CLAUSE. It is set apart by a comma and introduced by a SUBORDINATING CONJUNCTION. > Word Order 2
DER-WORDS der-Wörter   When DEFINITE ARTICLES are used as DEMONSTRATIVE PRONOUNS, they are referred to as der-words. Example: "Ich will das Buch, nicht dieses." (I want that book, not this one.) > Gender & Nouns (L3)
DETERMINER s Bestimmungswort   A determiner is an ARTICLE (a/the), DIESER-WORD (this/that) or EIN-WORD (his/my) that indicates (determines) the gender and case of a noun. Determiners are often used together with ADJECTIVES, and this affects which endings should be used for both the determiner and the adjective. > Adjective Endings
diakritisch   Denoting a mark or sign added above, below, or through a letter to indicate a change in its pronunciation compared to the normal form of that letter. In German the two-dot DIACRITICAL mark (¨) placed over a vowel is called an Umlaut (ä, ö, ü). Other diacritical marks include accents (é), the tilde (ñ), the cedilla (ç), and the Danish Ø.
e Diärese
s Trema

r Umlaut
  The two-dot DIACRITICAL mark (¨) placed over a vowel to indicate a certain pronunciation. See Umlaut.
DIALECT r Dialekt
e Mundart
  All German-speakers learn standard German (Hochdeutsch) in school, but there are hundreds of regional, local, and group-related German dialects in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and other parts of Europe. The grammar and vocabulary of dialects often differ greatly from that of Hochdeutsch. > Dialects
DIESER-WORDS dieser-Wörter   German dieser-words ("this"-words) are a form of DETERMINER used with nouns and adjectives. They include alle, dieser, jeder, jener, and welcher. Example: "Welches Buch willst du?" (Which book do you want?) > Gender & Nouns (L3) and Adjective Endings
DIPHTHONG r Diphthong   A pair of vowels (eu, ie, etc.) pronounced as a gliding single vowel sound, as the oy-sound in "boy" or "toy" ("eu" in German "euch"). In some languages a diphthong can appear in the form of a so-called ligature: œ (oe), æ (ae). > Das Abc
r Wenfall
  A direct object is a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase that receives the action of a TRANSITIVE (action) verb. In German this is called the accusative case. A basic example of a direct object is the word "ball" in the sentence "John hit the ball," in which "ball" receives the action of the verb "hit." > Accusative Case
DUDEN r Duden   A trademarked German grammar reference work named for Konrad Duden (1829-1911). "The Duden" is considered the ultimate authority on German spelling and grammar. > Before You Buy a Dictionary


Index | A | C | D | E-F | More Terms

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