A comparison between the cases in Russian and German languages
A lot of students become much stressed and immediately start to panic when they hear the word “Cases” during lessons.
Let’s have a look together and see what this word means. Even if you are not a German speaker this article is likely to have some useful insights for you.
In the Collins English Dictionary we can find the next definition:
a system of grammatical description based on the functional relations that noun groups have to the main verb of a sentence.
The main difference between Russian and German Case systems that Russian has 6 cases and German – 4 cases.
The Nominative Case in Russian and German languages
The Nominative Case in both Russian and German has the same meaning. The Nominative Case is the name given to the subject of a sentence. The subject is said to be in Nominative Case.
English: The boy is going to the park.
German: Der Junge geht zum Park.
Russian: Мальчик идёт в парк.
The Genitive Case in Russian and German languages
The primary use of the Genitive Case is to show possession. In Russian language we also use the Genitive Case when you or somebody else doesn’t have something (У меня нет ручки. У Ивана нет машины), when you want to measure something uncountable (чашка чая, ложка сахара).
English: Mother's brother.
German: Mutters Bruder.
Russian: Брат мамы.
As you see from examples in German language we need to add -s to express the Genitive meaning (Mutter - Mutters) and for Russian language we change the ending of the word (мама - мамы).
Prepositions that take the Genitive in Russian and German languages
из, c (from)
кроме (besides, except)
anstatt (instead of)
trotz (in spite of)
wegen (because of)
The Dative Case in Russian and German languages
In Russian and German languages the indirect object is indicated by the Dative Case. The indirect object answers to questions: “for whom” or “to whom”.
English: The father bought his son a bicycle.
German: Der Vater kaufte seinem Sohn ein Fahrrad.
Russian: Отец купил велосипед своему сыну.
As you see from examples in German language we need to change an article to express Dative meaning(sein Sohn – seinem Sohn) and for Russian language we change the endings of the words (свой сын — своему сыну).
Prepositions that take the Dative in Russian and German languages
к (to, towards)
по (on, by)
благодаря (thanks to)
aus (from, out of) *In Russian language it will be the Genitive.
außer (besides, except) *In Russian language it will be the Genitive.
bei (at, by, at the house of) * In Russian language it will be the Accusative.
mit (with) *In Russian language it will be the Instrumental.
nach (after, to a region) *In Russian language it will be the Genitive.
seit (since) *In Russian language it will be the Genitive.
von (from, of) *In Russian language it will be the Genitive.
zu (to, towards, to the house of)
Dative verbs in Russian and German languages
давать - to give
звонить – to call, to ring
дарить – to make a present
мешать – to disturb
желать – to wish
folgen – to follow *In Russian language it will be the Accusative.
gefallen – to please *In Russian language it will be the the Accusative.
gehören – to belong to
glauben - to believe
helfen – to help
The Accusative Case in Russian and German languages
Direct objects are said to be in the Accusative Case.
English: My brother knows the teacher.
German: Mein Bruder kennt den Lehrer.
Russian: Мой брат знает учителя.
As you see from examples in German language we need to change an article to express the Accusative meaning(der Lehrer – den Lehrer) and for Russian language we change the ending of the word (учитель — учителя). Also Russian language has a distinction between living and non-leaving direct objects. Living direct objects will be changed accordingly to the Genitive Case (only male gender), living direct objects (female gender) and non-leaving direct objects (all genders) will be changed accordingly to the Accusative Case.
Prepositions that take the Accusative in Russian and German languages
на (on, at)
bis (to, till) *In Russian language it will be the Genitive.
ohne (without) *In Russian language it will be the Genitive.
um (around) *In Russian language it will be the Genitive.
für (for) *In Russian language it will be the Genitive.
wider (against) *In Russian language it will be the Genitive.
gegen (against) *In Russian language it will be the Genitive.
Accordingly to the Case comparison in Russian and German languages we can make a conclusion that in general the meaning of all cases in both languages is quite similar but using of prepositions and verbs in each case is different and should be learned by heart.
In addition to the Nominative, Genitive, Dative and the Accusative Case in Russian language we have the Instrumental and the Prepositional Case.
The Instrumental Case in Russian language
We use the Instrumental Case to express the meaning of using some object like an instrument of our action (писать ручкой — to write with a pen).
Prepositions that take the Instrumental Case in Russian
перед (in front of)
Instrumental verbs in Russian language
быть – to be
ставать – to become
работать – to work
заниматься – to go for (to take part)
интересоваться – to be interested
The Prepositional Case in Russian language
We use the Prepositional Case mainly to express the location of some person or object.
Prepositions that take the Prepositional Case in Russian
на (on, at)
Prepositional verbs in Russian language
жить – to live
находиться – to be located
мечтать – to daydream
рассказывать – to tell
спорить — to argue
To sum up the Russian Case system is quite complicated and the best way to learn it is to remember all prepositions and verbs and try to practice them all the time.
Our LAE school is glad to help you to learn Russian and German Cases. And we suggest you an online package"Молоко с молоком". The "Russian cases" online course is for students who like to improve one of the most important Russian grammar topic “Cases” or how to change the endings of words.
After completing this online course the student will be able to improve his/her knowledge about all different six Russian cases and/or has a deeper understanding for certain case.
We wish you a good luck in learning Russian and German Cases and have a lot of fun!
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