Go to the homepage of this German Course Chapter 12: Finding a flat University of Portsmouth
12.13 Unusual German adjectives

Adjectives formed from towns and cities
Adjectives expressing the names of German towns and cities are formed by adding "-er" to the name of the place. In some instances such as Dresden and München, the final vowel in the name of the city disappears in the adjectival form. Other city adjectives such as those derived from the Eastern German cities of Halle and Jena need to be learned separately.

  City Adjective    City Adjective
Berlin Berliner    Köln Kölner
Frankfurt Frankfurter    Leipzig Leipziger
Hamburg Hamburger    Wien Wiener
Dresden Dresdner    Bremen Bremer
München Münch(e)ner    Halle Hallenser
Zürich Zürcher    Jena Jenenser

1. All adjectives formed from towns and cities start with a capital letter.

2. Only one country also forms an adjective in this way: the adjective "Schweizer" (= Swiss) comes from adding "-er" to "die Schweiz". A second Swiss adjective "schweizerisch" also exists - this word does not start with a capital letter (see below). The full list of adjectives of nationality can be found in Chapter 7.8.

No adjective endings on city adjectives
Adjectives formed from the names of cities and towns do not add adjectival endings - i.e. they always end in "-er" regardless of the gender of the noun to which it refers and the case that this noun is in.

  • Wir wohnen in einem ruhigen Dresdner Vorort.
    (We live in a quiet Dresden suburb.)
  • Ihr werdet euch am Kölner Hauptbahnhof treffen.
    (You will meet each other at Cologne central station.)
  • Die Stuttgarter Kneipen sind immer voll.
    (The pubs in Stuttgart are always full.)
  • Du redest mit einem Berliner Studenten.
    (You are speaking to a student from Berlin.)

InformationCare must therefore be taken when translating the adjective "Swiss" into German. Whilst the adjective "Schweizer" does not "decline" i.e. take adjective endings, the normal adjective "schweizerisch" does.

  • Essen Sie gerne Schweizer Käse?
    Essen Sie gerne schweizerischen Käse?
    (Do you like eating Swiss cheese?)
  • Die Schweizer Fußballmannschaft spielt heute.
    Die schweizerische Fußballmannschaft spielt heute.
    (The Swiss football team is playing today.)
  • Was trägt ein Schweizer Arbeiter zur Arbeit?
    Was trägt ein schweizerischer Arbeiter zur Arbeit?
    (What does a Swiss worker wear to work?)

Adjectives that ending in "-el"
Adjectives that end in "-el" drop this final "-e" when they "inflect" i.e. when they add adjective endings. We have seen this with the adjective "dunkel" at the end of the conversation in Chapter 12.6 but it also affects adjectives such as eitel (= vain), übel (= bad; evil), miserabel (= miserable), sensibel (= sensitive) or flexibel (= flexible).

  • Das Zimmer ist ein bisschen dunkel, findest du nicht?
    (The room is a little dark, don't you think?)
  • Trotz der dunklen Wände ist es eigentlich ganz hell.
    (Despite the dark walls it's actually quite bright.)
  • Ist das Angebot akzeptabel?
    (Is the offer acceptable?)
  • Ja, das ist ein akzeptables Angebot.
    (Yes, that is an acceptable offer.)
  • Ist Herr Schäfer ein eitler Mensch?
    (Is Mister Schäfer a vain man?)
  • Nein, er ist überhaupt nicht eitel!
    (No, he's not vain at all!)

Similarly the adjective "hoch" drops its "-c-" when it has adjectival endings:

  • Ist die Decke hoch?
    (Is the ceiling high?)
  • Ja, das ist eine sehr hohe Decke.
    (Yes, the ceiling is very high.)
  • Wie hoch sind die Mieten in München?
    (How high are the rents in Munich?)
  • In München gibt es sehr hohe Mieten.
    (There are very high rents in Munich.)

Weiter!Chapter 12.14: New adverbs

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