Characteristics of the German Language in AX Semantics


German has three genders for nouns: masculine, feminine, and neuter. There are two numbers: singular and plural. Gender and number influence the inflection of determiners, adjectives, numerals and preposition-determiner contractions (e.g., von + dem = vom).

German nouns have four cases: nominative, accusative, genitive, and dative. The adjectives are extremely regular and exceptions should be covered in the lexicon.

Grammatical NameValuesExamples
gendermasculineder neue Hafen
(the new port)
femininedie neue Tasche
(the new bag)
neuterdas neue Haus
(the new house)
numbersingularein rotes Haus
(a red house)
pluralzwei große Häfen
(two big harbors)
cases (noun)nominativeder Hund
(the dog)
accusativeIch sehe den Hund.
(I see the dog.)
genitiveDas Spielzeug des Hundes.
(The dog’s toy)
dativeIch gebe dem Hund seinen Ball.
(I give the ball to the dog.)
adjectivesbefore noungroß (big)
verb tensespresenter/sie/es geht
paster/sie/es ging
past participleer/sie/es ist gegangen

The standard order of a noun phrase in German is the following:

preposition + determiner + numeral + adjective + noun

See for example:

über   diese  drei   beliebten  Bücher
about  these  three  popular    books[pl]
PREP   DET    NUM    ADJ        NOUN
"about these three popular books"



For German nouns in lexicon, gender is required and the inflection table needs to encode the case and number. The preposition switch and determiner switch are also available.


If the lexicon entry is missing, a warning will show up on the platform, because the container cannot render the noun phrase without a gender.


A basic lexicon entry for Haus (house) contains

  • gender: neuter
  • inflection table for case and number:

The lexicon entry for Australien (Australia) contains:

  • gender, case, and number (like above inflection table)
  • remove all definite determiners

And the lexicon entry for Malta (Malta) contains:

  • gender, case, and number (like above inflection table)
  • remove all definite determiners
  • replace preposition in with auf in dative

And the lexicon entry for Seychellen (Seychelles) contains:

  • gender, case, and number (like above inflection table)
  • always set a definite determiner
  • replace preposition in with auf in dative
  • replace preposition nach with auf in accusative


If you need lexicon entries for countries, contact support about that and you will get them for German with automatic handling of determiners.


German adjectives are very regular. There should be no need to add a new adjective to the lexicon.


The AX NLG platform covers the most common verbs. However, you should add the verb to the lexicon if you find a verb inflect inaccurately.

Container settings


The AX NLG platform supports the following determiners for German: definite, indefinite, demonstrative, possessive, and quantifier (every).


The noun will automatically agree with the numeral number when you use a numeral variable. There is no need to add additional branches for numeral. Four types of numerals are possible on the AX NLG platform: cardinal, cardinal as digit, ordinal, and ordinal as digit.

textNeun Mäuse in meinem Zimmer.
(Nine mice in my room.)
Der neunte Tag in der Schule.
(The ninth day at school.)
digit9 Mäuse in meinem Zimmer.
(9 mice in my room.)
Der 9. Tag in der Schule.
(The 9th day at school.)

For German, both cardinal and ordinal numerals are written out until 100, otherwise (above 100) the output is in digit form. Take cardinal numerals for example:

einhundert Autos
(one hundred cars)
101 Autos
(101 cars)

Prepositions and determiners: contractions

If users configure prepositions and determiners in the container, prepositions are automatically joined with determiners for the following prepositions: an, bei, in, von, and zu. For example, the preposition bei and the article dem (singular dative masculine) are contracted to beim, but bei and der (singular dative feminine) stay separate as bei der.

Determiner switch

Determiners can be switched according to lexical information. If you set the determiner switch for a specific noun in the lexicon, it will automatically switch to another determiner when you add the determiner you intend to switch in the container. The container settings for Australien in the first example is: preposition="nach", determiner is unset (blank), and case="accusative".

nach Australien
(to Australia)

With a different country (i.e. "Seychelles"), the container settings are: preposition="auf", determiner is unset (blank), and case="accusative". Although the setting for the determiner is same as above, the lexical information changes the result:

auf die Seychellen
(to the Seychelles)

Here he determiner switches from none to definite, because it is configured in the lexicon entry for Seychellen. As the result, the definite article die (female, plural) is added to "Seychellen".


If the lexicon entry of a country includes a switch from none to definite, there is still a way to use the country without the article (e.g., just "Seychelles"). The determiner will always remain none by setting determiner=none in the container. Only an unset determiner (blank) triggers the switch from none to another determiner.

Preposition switch

A similar switch could happen for the preposition. This assumes that the preposition + case for the "non-island country" (e.g., Australia) is the default (e.g., nach + accusative and in + dative). For example, the setting for the below example is: preposition="in" and case="dative".

Sie leben in Australien.
(They live in Australia.)

For the second example, the container settings for the noun are still the same (preposition="in" and case="dative"), but the preposition switches from 'in' to 'auf' for "Malta" because of the lexicon information:

Sie leben auf Malta.
(They live in Malta.)

A preposition switch also happens for "Seychellen", where den is the definite article for plural dative.

Sie leben auf den Seychellen.
(They live in the Seychelles.)

Language Variants

The AX NLG platform offers 4 variants of the German language:

  • Germany
  • Austria
  • Luxembourg
  • Switzerland

They only differ slightly in lexicon and phonology. For example "Tram" (tram) is feminine in Germany ("die Tram") but neutral in Switzerland ("das Tram"), which makes it necessary to have different lexicon entries in the two language variants.