Sunday, 25 February 2007

Cases: The Nominative Case

This podcast is about cases, which are a way of showing what role the different words are playing in a sentence. German has four cases:
  • Nominative
  • Accusative
  • Dative
  • Gentitive
This podcast describes how cases work in general, then goes on to look at the nominative case in more detail.
To listen to the audio file directly on your computer, click here. Or, if you'd like to subscribe to the podcast, click the link on the top left of this blog.


Anonymous said...

Laura, My name is Michael. I am trying so hard to learn German and I hate it, (learning it that is). I know I can do this but it is so hard! However; your Podcast helps me a lot. I love the detailed explanation of the case system. Please give me more. I said all of that to say this, when is the next Podcast coming out?

Anonymous said...


one funny thing about the different endings of adjectives is that many Germans (including myself) don't realize that they exist. When a friend of mine, who was learning German at that time, was complaining about how complicated this is, I didn't even understand what she was talking about until she gave me some examples. 30 years of speaking German without noticing what I was doing. :)

Well, some notes to help you improve the transcript:

"Ich bin Einzelkind." sounds a bit strange to me; I would say "Ich bin ein Einzelkind." (well, I have a brother; thus, this doesn't work for me anyways). However, "Ich bin Lehrer(in)." sounds fine.

In "Er schient furchtbarer Chef." the "schient" should be "scheint" and I would also add an article; thus, I would say: "Er scheint ein furchtbarer Chef." But this still sounds quite old-fashioned. Most people would probably add "zu sein", i.e.: "Er scheint ein furchtbarer Chef zu sein."

In "Er ist grösser als ich." the "ss" should be a "ß" (sz): "Er ist größer als ich." This kind of error is rather common even among Germans since the rules when to write "ß" and when to write "ss" have been changed a few years ago and many people are confused now when to use "ß" and when to use "ss". (Simplifying rules can still confuse people if they are not aware of the rules!)

Here are some details about the old and the new rules: If you know how a word is pronounced, you can now always tell whether it should be "ss" or "ß": a vowel in front of "ss" is short (or at least not long), a vowel in front of "ß" is long (or at least not short). Thus, the "ö" in "grösser" would be a short vowel and that sounds quite funny; thus, it has to be "größer".

Until a few years ago there has been an additional rule: no "ss" at the end of a word. Thus, instead of "die Nuss" (the nut) we wrote "die Nuß" although the "u" is a short vowel. Now this rule has been removed a few years ago to make things simpler; thus, the new spelling is "die Nuss" (consistently with the pronounciation of the short "u"). But since native speakers were often not aware of this (now removed) rule, they now tend to write "ss" in places where you shouldn't use it, for example, "der Fuß" (the foot) is pronounced with a long "u" and therefore the spelling didn't change.

I guess I have confused everyone now; thus, I better stop here :)


Sonja aka Betty Tyranny said...

I just found this site and I want to thank you! The way you break everything down makes the task of learning German a lot less daunting. I'm not afraid anymore!

Warm regards from Füssen.

Irishspartan1775 said...

I am listening to your grammar pods while studying in University. I just want you to know how useful this is for me, I have shared it will all my fellow students. It is almost like having a personal tutor!

Communication Department Forum said...

Laura, a topic that I don't find in grammars that I need help with: the omission of articles before nouns. E.g., "Kürzlich fand ich Gelegenheit..." Is this idiomatic?

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this!
Like you, my teacher sort of skims over grammar- quite comfortable at the beginning of the year, but when exam time draws closer, not so great! I was particularly struggling with cases and this really helps. Now it's just a case (ha, ha) of memorising all those tables. But that's half of what a language is about, so it's all good. Well, thanks again!