Anonymous asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 1 month ago

German Grammar?

Hi, I am wondeting if someone can explain in German why some words have a both a normal noun as well as an adjectival noun.

An example here may be:

Der Fremde

Der Fremdling

What is the difference here, and when would one be preferred over the other? 

I think for most cases, there will likely only be either an adjectival noun or a normal noun that is preferred, but I could be wrong. 

Another interesting one I have come across is Der Beamte,i understand this is an adjectival noun, but for the femanine version you can have:

Die Beamtin (normal noun) and die Beamte (adjectival noun). think the former is preferred. 

For me, I don't really see cival servant/clerk as an adjective as you can't have beamt as a stem for an adjective I don't think. I think there may well be some more surprising ones. 

I completely understand what adjectival nouns are and how they are formed, I suppose for me the rich man/the poor man are great examples where you don't need an adjective with the correct ending followed by the noun (you just need the adjective with a capital letter followed by the correct ending.. E. G. Der Reiche / der Arme) 

Any advice would be great (comments on my examples would be great too). 


1 Answer

  • 1 month ago

    "Der Fremde" and "Der Fremdling" is not common in speaking. "Der Fremde" will be used in stories and "Der Fremdling" more in poems - it is old fashioned anyway; nobody use that on the street.

    Die Beamtin (normal noun/female) and die Beamte (adjectival noun/neuter...generic term for all cival servants).

    I suggest to read a lot of books and sign up to - you teach your language to someone and the other teach you their language.

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