8.1 First Phrases

We know already quite a lot, we know the pronunciation of the words, we can conjugate in present tense and we have seen the plural form. With this you can form a lot different phrases. Before we go on to other phrases, we have to talk about the objects, or better the direct object (Accusative). Later on we'll also have a look at the other declension chapter 9 - German declension.

Let's start with this phrase
The dog sees the donkey.

Clearly not a difficult one and easy to understand: the dog has his eyes on the donkey. How do you know that it's not the donkey that has his eyes on the dog? - the word order, right! And what if we change the word order: Sees the donkey the dog. Who sees whom now? Well, the word order is not anymore the way it is supposed to be and we are not sure anymore. In other languages - Latin for instance - you know from the suffix of the word whether it is the subject, the direct or indirect object etc. In English there are only rudiments of conjugation that we find in some pronouns (personal, interrogative and relative pronouns). In German the use is still wider - in some cases the definite article changes with different declension.

masculine nouns

Example: der Mann
  Nominative (basic form) Accusative (direct object)
Singular   der Mann den Mann
Plural   die Männer   die Männer

neutral nouns

Example: das Haus
  Nominative (basic form) Accusative (direct object)
Singular   das Haus das Haus
Plural   die Häuser   die Häuser

feminine nouns

Example: die Frau

  Nominative (basic form) Accusative (direct object)
Singular die Frau die Frau
Plural die Frauen die Frauen

We see that the Accusative singular of the masculine noun is the only one that changes the article. If you ask yourself why to make your life miserable with declension if it is possible to do it another way - well, my answer would be: ALL DIFFERENT - ALL DIFFERENT ;-). We should enjoy the diversity and not wonder or even complain about it. We all have history as our languages as well. And not always is logic the main object of the development of languages. More about declension you'll find in chapter 9 - German declension.

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