Welches Datum haben wir heute? The Numbers. Part II

The name says it all: Pudelsalon in Schöneberg.

There are numbers, independent beings, called cardinal numbers, that exist for themseves, like fünfzehn, zwanzig, hundert, drei. When a noun hires them as their attribute, they are called ordinal numbers.

Ordinal numbers are attributed to a noun, and therefore, they are adjectives. They must be treated like adjectives with all declinations. The ending –te makes a cardinal number an ordinal number. The ordinal numbers for 1, 3 and 7 are irregular: erste, dritte, siebte.
Ich bin die erste Sängerin. Heute haben wir den achten November. Der November ist der elfte Monat im Jahr. Also: Heute haben wir den achten Elften (8.11. or, the English way, 11/8).

Bei dem zweiten Vorsingen hat er Erfolg gehabt.

When we write the number itself, we do not add the ordinal ending like 42nd Street or 5th Avenue. Instead, we mark the ordinal number with a dot: 42. Straße, 5. Avenue.

We can create a noun from a number as we can do with an adjective or verb.

Der Schnellste ist immer der Erste.
Jeden Ersten bekommen wir die Gage. (Every first of the month we’ll get the singer’s salary. Hopefully.)

When we break up the numbers, we create fractional numbers (½ to ¼).

We create fractions by adding -tel (or -el with acht) to the word end:
ein Viertel, eine achtel Note, eine sechszehntel Note.

The irregular fractions are 2, 3, and 7:

½ = ein halb, 1/3 = ein Drittel, 1/7 = ein Siebtel. 1 ½ = anderthalb or eineinhalb.

The verb halbieren means to divide something in half or to bisect. Common as verbs are also dritteln or vierteln.

If we want the division smaller we should circumscribe:
in acht, zehn, zwölf etc. Teile (parts) teilen.

Often, in German we combine a word with a number:
die zwanzigjährige Sängerin, der Zehnjähige, die zweimonatige Tournee, die dreitägige Konferenz, mit achtzigprozeniger Wahrscheinlichkeit.

When we add -fach we make it x-fold stronger, weaker, bigger, smaller etc.:
An der Hamburger Oper verdiene ich gut, doch an der Berliner Oper verdiene ich das Fünffache (This is just an example; please do not get too excited.)

There are verbs that describe the activity of increasing something x-times:

verdoppeln = to double, verdreifachen, vervierfachen, verzehnfachen etc.

Next update: Sunday, April 22nd – Practice the Numbers with Your Agent’s Call

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Bernd Hendricks. Born in Duisburg, Germany. Based in Berlin. Writer, German Language Educator. I was six years old when I went to the opera for the first time. My Grandma took me to Hänsel und Gretel at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Duisburg. The first time I met an opera singer personally was during my time as foreign correspondent in New York when at a Christmas party a baritone pelted me with questions about the language of Zauberflöte. He was preparing for his role as Papageno. After my return to Berlin in September 2010, I have been giving German lessons to singers on their audition tours. My workshops in Berlin, Vienna, and London are based on my widely read book Ach, ich fühl’s—German for Opera Singers in Three Acts: Studying, Speaking, Singing. My latest book, Die Frist ist um—Navigate the Language of 10 German Operas, takes you on a journey through the language of the most popular and often performed operas in the German-speaking countries. I am also the author of several non-fiction books and two novels.

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