Formation of compound nouns

As in English, German has the capability of building compound
nouns. Such nouns are normally spoken and written as one
word. The basic German Compound noun consists of two parts.
Mark Twain once said: “Some German Words are so
long that they have a perspective.”
The second element of a compound noun in German is called
,,das Grundwort” or primary word. It determines the gender and
plural form of the compound word. In some cases, it also
designates the larger set to which the word belongs.
die Fahrschule
Fahr ist das Bestimmungswort
Schule ist das Grundwort
The First element of a compound noun in German is called ,,das
Bestimmungswort” or determining word. It designates the
subset of the category defined by the primary word.
Compounds nouns can be formed by various types of words.
Noun + Noun
Adjective + Noun
die Haustür
die Groβeltern
der Müllwagen
die Jungfrau
Verb + Noun
Noun + Adjective
die Suchmaschine
der Kaufpreis
Preposition/Adverb/Particle +
das Jawort
der Vorort
Preposition + Verb
Adjective + Adjective
When the two words that make up a compound noun in German
are both nouns, there often appears a connecting element. (die
Fuge) in this case, the connecting element can be predicted..
add an “e” when……the plural of the first noun would add an e.
die Hundehütte (der Hund – die Hünde)
Dog house
das Hundefutter (der Hund – die Hünde)
Dog food
add an “er” when……the first noun is masculine (der) or neuter
(das) and the plural would normally end in er.
der Kindergarten (das Kind – die Kinder)
add an “n” when……the first noun is feminine (die) and builds
plural with en.
der Birnenbaum (die Birne – die Birnen)
Pear tree
add an “s” when……the first noun ends in heit, keit or ung.
der Freiheitskämpfer (die Freiheit)
Freedom Fighter
die Gesundheitspflege (die Gesundheit)
Health care
When the compound noun does not consist of two nouns, the
connecting element (die Fuge) is harder to predict and can take
various forms.
Sometimes there is no connecting element….
das Gasthaus
die Handfläche
Guest House
Palm of the hand
Sometimes it could be an “e”.
das Schweinefleisch
der Pferdestall
Horse stall
Sometimes it could be an “n” or “en”.
das Bauernbrot
der Kettenraucher
Farmhouse bread
Chain smoker
Sometimes it is an “ens”.
die Herzensgüte
der Friedensvertrag
Goodness of the heart
Peace agreement
Sometimes it could be an “s” or “es”.
der Glückspilz
Lucky guy
der Liebeskummer
Love problems
As a general rule, it is hard to predict what the connecting
element in a compound German word will be and there are often
more complex meaning that can be imbedded within a
compound German word.
For further study, I recommend…….
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