Thursday, 24 January 2013

German for IP enthusiasts lesson 1

Who am I to purport to teach anyone German? No-one. But I have an idea. Language lessons that use subject matter that the learner can relate to are much more likely to convey something useful. So I will now proceed to teach you how to decline the noun Gebrauchsmuster.

It's the inflexion in German that is one of the most challenging aspects of the language. That, and the compound words, of which my favourite (which I made up with the help of an online translation engine) has to be Kragenschenkelfestknöpfenhemdtragenamerikanischerjurist. Gebrauchsmuster is another. Compound nouns take the gender of the last noun in the word, which is one thing I did learn in all those German classes I went to years ago: what I don't know is whether it's permissible to bolt together several nouns as well as adjectives and prepositions - my word might break every rule in the book. Anyway, "Muster" (I also happen to know that nouns always need a capital initial in German) is neuter, so when we preface the noun with an article it is ein or das Gebrauchsmuster. And as I worked out this afternoon, the plural is die Gebrauchsmuster. Those articles are pretty important in German.

In fact, Gebrauchsmuster is a fairly easy noun to work with. Of course, being German, we have to worry about four cases in the singular and plural numbers, but actually it doesn't change a lot, so here you are and I hope you learn it easily (and if I have got it wrong, I hope someone will let me know):

ein/das Gebrauchsmuster
die Gebrauchsmuster
ein/das Gebrauchsmuster
die Gebrauchsmuster
eines/des Gebrauchsmusters
der Gebrauchsmuster
einem/dem Gebrauchsmuster
den Gebrauchsmustern


Bob Cumbow said...

It's sadistic of you not to provide your loyal readers with translations of those two comopund nouns!

Peter Groves said...

Gebrauchsmuster is defined in my Dictionary of Intellectual Property Law, though! And now this blog has a lengthy posting on the subject. As for my invented word, its only value lies in giving amusement to anyone who works out the meaning, but it's inspired by a friend who, many years ago, was seen out shopping one day for button-down collar shirts, having spent the previous day in a meeting with some lawyers from the USA.


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