We use the diminutive form ‑chen to indicate that something is “small” or “cute”. It can be added to most nouns in German.
das Tier → das Tierchen
the animal → the little animal, the little critter
der Stern → das Sternchen
the star → the little star
If the noun contains an a, o or u we generally add an umlaut to it. We also generally remove the final ‑e, if there is one.
der Schatz → das Schätzchen
the treasure → little treasure, darling, sweetheart
die Torte → das Törtchen
the cake → the little cake
die Blume → das Blümchen
the flower → the cute little flower
- All diminutive nouns are neuter.
der Haifisch → das Haifischchen
the shark → the baby shark
die Katze → das Kätzchen
the cat → the pussycat, the kitten
- The alternative diminutive ending -lein is mainly used for words that end in ‑ch. It can be used with other words too, but that sounds somewhat old-fashioned.
das Buch → das Büchlein
the book → the little book
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