Wednesday, June 10, 2009

German - Genitive, Dative, Plural Nouns and Weak Verbs

I have to get certified in German for the language requirement of the doctoral study.

In today's lesson, I am looking at the German genitive and dative, plural nouns, and the past tense of weak verbs.

Of course, I understand the genitive and dative. The table I made up earlier should be helpful as I try to internalize the declensions.

On the plural of nouns, it seems that there are a great variety of noun plural endings. I can't see how by looking at the endings I would be able to read or translate accurately.

However, I do need to remember number agreement between subject and verb. Verb endings in -en, -n, or the form sind tell me that the subject is plural. I think the formal Sie, however, would be an exception.

German weak (regular) verbs - like sagen, antworten and haben - don't get their stem vowels changed in the past tense. This is what makes them "weak." In strong verbs, the stem vowel changes. For a video lesson on weak verb conjugation in the present tense, go to Deutsch Happen. Don't forget "es-ten-ten"!

The characteristic ending of the past tense of German weak verbs is -te. Verbs whose stems end in -d, -t or in a consnant cluster like -nen (offnen), add an -e before the past tense ending.
  • er sagt --> er sagte
  • sie sagen --> sie sagten
  • er hat --> er hatte
  • sie haben --> sie hatten
The past tense is not only a simple past (e.g., he said) but also includes forms such as was saying and did say.

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