The Basics Of German Nouns

Before you get into German nouns, there's one little obstacle you have to take a running leap over: The noun marker that precedes the noun. We use the term noun marker to refer to an article or adjective that tells us whether a noun is masculine(m.), feminine (f.), neuter (n.), singular (s.) or plural (p.). The most common noun markers are shown in the following table. The definite articles express "the" and the indefinite articles express "a," "an," or "one." 

Singular Noun Markers

one, a, an

Singular Nouns

The nouns in the following table are easy to remember. There is an obvious correspondence between the grammatical gender of the noun marker and the natural gender of the noun.

Gender-Obvious Nouns

Masculine Noun
der Bruder
deyR bRew-duhR
The brother
der Cousin
deyR koo-zin
The cousin
der Freund
deyR fRoynt
The friend
der Vater
deyR fah-tuhR
The father
ein Mann
ayn mAn
The man
ein Sohn
ayn zohn
The son

Feminine Noun
die Schwester
dee shves-tuhR
The sister
die Cousine
dee koo-zee-nuh
The cousin
die Freundin
dee froyn-din
The friend
die Mutter
dee moo-tuhR
The mother
eine Frau
ay-nuh fRou
The woman
eine Tochter
ay-nuh toCH-tuhR
The daughter
In German, there are certain nouns that never change their gender, regardless of whether they refer to a male or a female person or animal. Here are a few of them:
das Kind
dAs kint
The child
das Model
dAs moh-del
The model
das Individuum
dAs in-dee-vee-doo-oom
The individual
der Flüchtling
deyR fl üHt-ling
The refugee
das Opfer
dAs op-feR
The victim
das Genie
dAs jey-nee
The genius
die Person
dee peR-zohn
The person

Sex Changes
In most cases, making nouns feminine is as easy as dropping the vowel (if the noun ends in a vowel), adding -into the masculine noun and if the noun contains an , an , or a , modifying this vowel: der Koch ( deyR koCH), for example, becomes die Köchin ( dee kö-Hin ). The follwing table lists some common nouns that can undergo sex changes.

Masculine Ending
Feminine Ending
English Meaning
der Lehrer
deyR ley-Ruhr
die Lehrer indee ley-Ruh-Rin
The teacher
der Schüler
deyR sh üh-luhr
die Schüler indee sh üh-luh-Rin
The school
der Arzt
deyR aRst
die Ärtzt indee äRts-tin
The doctor
der Bauer
deyR bou-uhr
die Bäuer indee boy-eyE-in
The farmer
der Löwe
deyR löh-wuh
die Löw indee löh-vin
The lion

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