German adjective inflections demystified

I see lots of people still struggle with the German adjectives and especially the fact that there are three tables, one for each of definite articles, indefinite articles and when there’s no article, for 48 separate inflections.

The German inflection table with the cases in the wrong order.
The correct order is: nom./gen./dat./acc.

It looks pretty intimidating and back in school my brain refused to do learn this. I crammed it for a test, immediately forgot it after and German classes turned into agony.

There are various mnemonics going around to make the table easier but I’m not in favor of rote memorization if there’s also a logic behind something. As with all language, the entire thing is based on the principle of energy conversation while maintaining essential information and harmony. That’s my non-linguist intuition. Linguists feel free to chime in.

The entire table can be boiled down to five rules.

  • Definite nom./acc. singular: all -e (because a definite article has all the information and is leading, so no further decoration or information required on the adjective) except for masc. acc. which is -en (because acc always has -en and it sounds weird without it)
  • Indefinite nom./acc. singular: all congruent with the article: einer guter Mann, für einen guten Mann, eine gute Frau, für eine gute Frau etc. (because the article still has all the information but it is weaker/indefinite so the adjective helps out)
  • Definite and indefinite gen./dat. singular: all -en (all the information is in the article so no need to repeat it but good to have some differentiation from the nom./acc. cases)
  • Definite and indefinite plural: all -en (because it’s plural)
  • No article: the adjectives take the endings that would normally have been carried by the article (because there is no article and otherwise the case information would not be there) except for masc./neut. gen. where the -s is on the noun

That’s it. I hope this adds some logic to something that otherwise feels totally random for German learners.

With practice you can look these inflections up in your head and with even more practice, anytime somebody uses the wrong inflection, it starts to sound wrong (that lack of harmony), just like it would to a native speaker.

Marijn Bolhuis sums up the devastating effects that a decade of Rutte government has in the Netherlands but people keep electing him. It follows from this that Dutch people are a bunch of piggies.

But on the other hand, it becomes a society where all the assets are in the hands of one group of people. And that group of people transmits these assets to the next generation. So I think it becomes a very interesting question, to ask whether current trends might not lead to an even more segmented and stratified society than the one we have now.

De organisatiestructuur is sowieso een kwetsbaarheid van Nederland crisisland, verzucht Arjen Boin. Allereerst is het probleem dat onze ministeries niet meer de capaciteiten in huis hebben om zelf het heft in handen te nemen. Den Haag heeft steeds meer een monitorende en coördinerende functie gekregen. Ambtenaren zijn in veel gevallen geen specialisten meer op de dossiers die ze beheren – hun specialiteit is vergaderen en managen en ze rouleren door de organisatie.Grofweg kun je als bestuur in tijden van crisis twee dingen doen: optie één is overschakelen op een crisisstructuur, zegt Boin. Daarbij centraliseer je de macht en breng je het aantal mensen dat mag meepraten terug. Dan kiezen we de mensen die namens ons de belangrijkste beslissingen nemen. Na afloop rekenen we af. Een crisisorganisatie is georganiseerd in een trechter. Aan het eind van die trechter zit de persoon die zich goed laat adviseren en op een gegeven moment zegt: ‘We gaan naar links of naar rechts.’
Uiteindelijk komt het bij de aanpak van zo’n crisis voor een groot deel aan op het politiek leiderschap

[Cryptoart is] a crime against humanity.

I’m horrified to see this willingly traded for an opportunity to reproduce the worst parts of the existing physical art market, where “the original” is useful foremost as a rare thing- a unique thing- that, in its scarcity, is an asset.

Many would call me unrealistic and naïve for this, unwilling to make compromises in the world we are living now because of an idealistic vision of a tomorrow; and to them I would like to say that we literally invented an extra-sovereign monetary system that within 10 years has generated trillions of dollars of worth and is held up with the power consumption of a small country.