German Adjectives in the Genitive Case
This week’s episode of 3 Minuten Deutsch is the last one for 2016, as I will be taking a break from YouTube for the month of December. This episode is all about the adjectives in the genitive case. Watch the video below for a quick overview of the topic. Check out my Patreon page if you want a worksheet about this topic and copies of the slides in this video. Below the video, I will talk in more depth about how to use the genitive case.
The first time that most German learners encounter the genitive case is when it is used to show possession. In English we would express this type of thing through a prepositional phrase using “of” or by putting the person who owns something before the object and adding an apostrophe and an “s”. In German this is generally done either with the preposition “von” or with the genitive case. In my German 2 classes when we cover this topic, I tell my students that the genitive case takes the “von” out of things (pun: to take the fun out of things). The easiest way to translate these genitive phrases is by using the English phrasing with “of” and pretending that the “of” got melted into the word in the genitive case. Here are a few examples with film titles to show what I mean.
Dative using “von” > Genitive > English
Das Schweigen von den Lämmern – Das Schweigen der Lämmer – Silence of the Lambs
Fluch von der Karibik – Fluch der Karibik – Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (Literally: Curse of the Caribbean)
Angriff von den Killertomaten – Angreff der Killertomaten – Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
Jäger von dem verlorenen Schatz – Jäger des verlorenen Schatzes – Raiders of Lost Ark (Treasure)
Der Club von den toten Dichtern – Der Club der toten Dichter – Dead Poets Society (Literally: The Club of the Dead Poets)
Der Kuss von der Spinnenfrau – Der Kuss der Spinnenfrau – The Kiss of the Spider Woman
Das Leben von den Anderen – Das Leben der Anderen – The Lives of Others
Krieg von den Sternen – Krieg der Sterne – Star Wars (Literally: War of the Stars)
Harry Potter und die Kammer vom (von dem) Schrecken – Harry Potter und die Kammer des Schreckens – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Literally: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Horror)
Der Herr von den Ringen – Der Herr der Ringe – The Lord of the Rings
Das Frühstück von den Weltmeistern – Das Frühstühstück der Weltmeister – Breakfast of Champions
Im Namen vom (von dem) Vater – Im Namen des Vaters – In the Name of the Father
If you are looking for a more in depth explanation of the genitive case, as it is used with possession, you can find that here.
While there are actually quite a few prepositions that require the genitive case, most textbooks only really talk about four of them: (an)statt, trotz, während, and wegen. This is because these are the most common ones and the other ones are best learned when you come across them. For the purposes of examples, I included them in my video and blog about the genitive prepositions when I covered that in more depth in its own 3 Minuten Deutsch post, which is linked here. For simplicity’s sake I will only be covering the most common ones in this post.
(an)statt – instead of
Mein Bruder kauft sich ein neues Boot anstatt eines alten Bootes. – My brother is buying himself a new boat instead of an old boat.
trotz – in spite of
Meine Schwester geht trotz des strengen Befehls von ihrer Mutter ins Kino. – My sister is going to the movies in spite of the strict order from her mother.
während – during, while
Meine Tochter schläft während des langen Spiels – My daughter is sleeping during the long game.
wegen – because of
Ich verstehe kein Deutsch wegen meines schlechten Lehrers. – I don’t understand any German, because of my bad teacher.
This might be the last blog post of the year, so I would just like to say thank you for your ongoing support of this blog and YouTube channel and I look forward to another great year of helping you learn the German language in 2017.