Diminutive (-lein, -chen) in German
What is a diminutive in German?
A diminutive is a tranformed noun, which expresses a smaller, cuter or younger of the noun. The nouns are transformed by the suffixes -lein or -chen. The diminutive is an informal way of expression.
- die Maus - das Mäuschen
- der Vogel - das Vögelchen
- der Mann - das Männlein
How to build the German diminutive?
To form the diminutive of noun you have to add the suffixes -chen or -lein. In addition the vowel of radical is transformed into an Umlaut (ä,ö,ü). The gender of all diminutives is always neuter. The plural form do not have an additional ending in all cases.
This table shows you the declension and the transformation of the diminutive with the help of the noun: das Haus - das Häuslein (house).
|nominative||das Häuslein||die Häuslein|
|accusative||das Häuslein||die Häuslein|
|dative||dem Häuslein||den Häuslein|
|genitive||des Häusleins||der Häuslein|
This table shows you the declension and the transformation of the diminutive with the help of the noun: die Maus - das Mäuschen (mouse).
|nominative||das Mäuschen||die Mäuschen|
|accusative||das Mäuschen||die Mäuschen|
|dative||dem Mäuschen||den Mäuschen|
|genitive||des Mäuschen||der Mäuschen|
When to use the diminutive?
The diminutives are used to describe something young, cute or small.
They are also often used in fairy tales.
Spieglein, Spieglein an der Wand, Wer ist die Schönste im ganzen Land? - Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?
Rotkäppchen - little red riding hood
You have learned a form of nouns to express little or very cute things. Go on and practice knew knowledge. Try our fun and interactive exercises.
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