Go to the homepage of this German Course Chapter 2: Talking about yourself University of Portsmouth
2.4 Countries (2)

Feminine countries
So far all the countries which we have encountered have been neuter, and are never used with the definite article. A small number of names for countries however are feminine and are always preceded by the definite article "die".

Das Land Country    Das Land Country
The Swiss flag die Schweiz  Switzerland    The Slovakian flag die Slowakei  Slovakia
The Turkish flag die Türkei Turkey    The Ukranian flag die Ukraine  Ukraine
The Czech flag die Tschechische Republik  Czech Republic

When you explain that you come from any of these countries, you also have to include the definite article with the preposition - but this article changes from "die" to "der". We shall see in a subsequent section that this is because it is now in the dative case.

Where are you from?
The Swiss flag Woher kommen Sie
ich komme aus der Schweiz
(Trans.: "I come from Switzerland")
The Ukranian flag Woher ist Andrea
sie ist aus der Ukraine
(Trans.: "She is from the Ukraine")
Where do you live?
The Turkish flag Wo wohnt Mehmet
er wohnt in der Türkei
(Trans.: "He lives in Turkey")

Plural Countries
A small number of countries are written in the plural in German. In this case the definite article changes from "die" to "den":

Das Land Country
The American flag  die USA
die Vereinigten Staaten
United States
The Dutch flag  die Niederlande Netherlands
The American flag  ich komme aus den USA
(Trans.: "I come from the USA")
The American flag  sie ist aus den Vereinigten Staaten
(Trans.: "She is from the United States")
The Dutch flag  er wohnt in den Niederlanden
(Trans.: "He lives in the Netherlands")

1. Note that "die Niederlande" adds an "-n" when we write "in den Niederlanden" or "aus den Niederlanden". This again is a result of the noun now being in the dative case.

2. "Amerika" is often used to translate "the United States", particularly in conversation. It should really only be used to translate the continent of America however. It is a neuter noun and is thus used without a definite article.

3. A few countries are masculine in German, particularly in the Middle East - "der Libanon" (= Lebanon), "der Irak" (= Iraq) "der Iran" (= Iran), "der Jemen" (= Yemen). They too are almost always used with the definite article, which changes from "der" to "dem" when you are describing where you are from.

Weiter!Chapter 2.5: Nationalities

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