Other than knowing the correct gender of a noun in German, one of the other difficulties is knowing how to form its plural! This, at least to me, seems more complicated than in English, French, or Russian. Der Die Das is a great application to know the test the gender of a noun, while apps like Babel and (potentially) Memrise state the article when studying a new noun.

However, no one seems too interested in testing one’s ability in the plural of a noun, other than this German Noun Quiz. So I decided to throw together a simple proof-of-concept to determine if in fact such an application would be beneficial (to me at least) für Deutsch lernen.

As far as I can see, there are two possible implementations:

  1. The application displays a word, say Buch, the the user needs to type in the correct answer, in this case Bücher.
  2. The application displays a word, again Buch, and the user has the option of choosing the correct answer from, say, four answers, three of which are incorrect. So, Buch, Buchs, Buchen, and Bücher.

For this simple demo, I’m going to implement option one. Now, as this will be a typing-based game, I’d sooner use it on my laptop than smartphone, so I’m going to (initially) design it as a desktop application. An native application doesn’t make much sense to me, so I’m going to design it in HTML, with a possible view to, say, Facebook integration.

The HTML file is very simple, and basically displays the question in a header, lets the user answer in a text box, and displays the score below in a paragraph

<!DOCTYPE html>
    <meta charset="utf-8" />
    <title>Hello World</title>
    <script defer type="application/javascript" src="js/GermanPlurals.js"></script>
    <h1 id="questionWord">Question Word</h1>
    <p>Enter the plural: <INPUT TYPE="TEXT" id="answer"><BR><BR>
      <INPUT TYPE="BUTTON" Value="Submit" onclick="checkAnswer(this.form)"></p>
    <p id="score>"></p>

while all the computation happens in the javascript file GermanPlurals.js

//array of words (in their singular form)
var singularWords = ["Das Buch", "Der Mann", "Die Frau", "Das Kind"];
//and an array of their plural forms
var pluralWords = ["Bücher", "Männer", "Frauen", "Kinder"];

//variables to the question word, answer, and score HTML elements
var questionWord = document.getElementById("questionWord");
var answer = document.getElementById("answer");
var scoreElement = document.getElementById("score");

//a variable to note which word we are quizzing
var questionIndex;
//and a variable to keep count of the user''s score
var userScore = 0;

//initialize the game by setting up the next question

//this function sets up the next question
function setUpNextQuestion()
    //generate a random index from 0 to 3
    questionIndex = Math.floor( Math.random()*4 );

    //set the word at this position as the question word
    questionWord.innerHTML = singularWords[questionIndex];
    //and set the user''s current score
    scoreElement.innerHTML = "Your current score is " + userScore;

//this function checks the submitted answer
function checkAnswer(e)
    //check the supplied answer against the correct answer
    //generally we'd convert both to lower case to counteract any
    //case issues but in German nouns are always capitalized...
    if( answer.value == pluralWords[questionIndex] )
        console.log("your answer is " + answer + " but the correct
        answer is " + pluralWords[questionIndex] );

    //remove previous answer and setup next question
    answer.value = "";

And our very basic game is then operational!

One annoying thing is that the ENTER key doesn’t work by default to submit the answer. This can be fixed by adding the simple script

<script type="text/javascript">
//check answer (or whatever was typed) when enter button is pressed
document.onkeypress = function checkIfEnterWasPressed(key)
  if(key.which == 13)

to the HEAD of the HTML document.

So the proof of concept is operational, and, if it had a larger dictionary, I believe it would be a useful study tool. Although German Noun’s Quiz is already quite a fully-functioning application (singular and plural), it requires the purchase of noun packs for 99¢ each. Thus I feel that a fully-developed plurals-testing application could have its own (small) place in the market if free and fun to play.