ein bisschen - ist das ein Substantiv?

Rah

Member
English UK
I have very rarely seen ein Bisschen, as in ein bisschen Brot/ er ist ein bisschen dumm/ ich kenne ein bisschen Deutsch.

Ist das eigentlich ein Substantiv, und sollte es immer deshalb mit einem Hauptbuchstabe geschrieben werden?

Danke

Rah
 
  • Robocop

    Senior Member
    (Swiss) German
    "bisschen" may be an adjective or adverb. "Bisschen" (capitalized! - I did not realize that here capitalization is concealed by the particular position of the word) is a diminutive of "Biss" (bite).
     
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    Juuuergen

    Senior Member
    American English
    This is a good question. I think that since it's such a commonly used phrase it sort of mutated over the years. Perhaps at one point it was capitalized, but since it has been used so frequently it changed because people use it in an adverb-like way. Frankly I don't see the need for pedanticly classifying it as a noun, adverb, or whatever, but from my experience I would call it an adverbial or adjectival phrase like Robocop said.
     

    brian

    Senior Member
    AmE (New Orleans)
    My trusty "German Grammar" by William Rowlinson does consider "bisschen" a noun but says this:

    William Rowlinson said:
    Nouns not used as nouns have a small letter:
    ...
    Das bisschen, a bit, is now only ever used with a small letter:
    ein bisschen Zucker, a little sugar
    kein bisschen Zucker, no sugar at all
    das klein bisschen Zucker, the small amount of sugar (note the invariable klein)​
    So it's a noun but it's acting adverbially so is not capitalized. (It's only a concise grammar, so it doesn't go into any more detail.) If this is confusing, compare it with "Paar," which is not capitlized when it means "a few"--ein paar Sachen, a few things--but is capitalized when it actually does mean "a pair (two)"--ein Paar Schuhe, a pair of a shoes (two shoes).
     
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    brian

    Senior Member
    AmE (New Orleans)
    Okay from here: http://www.rechtschreibrat.com/. Unter "Rechtschreibung" you can grab the PDF "Regeln". Check out § 56(5):

    Klein schreibt man Wörter, die formgleich als Substantive vorkommen, aber selbst keine Substantivischen Merkmale aufweisen.
    ...
    (5) die folgenden unbestimmten Zahlwörter:
    ein bisschen (= ein wenig), ein paar (= einige)
    Beispiele:
    ein bisschen Leim, dieses klein bisschen Leim; ein paar Steine, diese paar Steine (aber nach § 55(5): ein Paar Schuhe)
    They even use my example. :D
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    There is one exception where it is a noun - as diminutive to "Biss". Es war kein Biss sondern nur ein Bisschen. Robocop mentioned this already, but the word was at the beginning of the sentence so you could not see whether it is lowercase or uppercase.
     

    Kurtchen

    Senior Member
    German - Norddeutschland
    There is one exception where it is a noun - as diminutive to "Biss". Es war kein Biss sondern nur ein Bisschen. Robocop mentioned this already, but the word was at the beginning of the sentence so you could not see whether it is lowercase or uppercase.
    Biß -> Bißchen seems rather unusal to me cf. howver Bissen -> Bißchen

    ein Bißchen Brot, das kleine Bißchen Schokolade :)
     

    Robocop

    Senior Member
    (Swiss) German
    ein Bißchen Brot, das kleine Bißchen Schokolade
    I know "Bissen" as the portion that you take with one bite. Yet, "Bisschen" as a diminutive of "Biss" (and that it is principally) is as rare (or unusual) as "Bisschen" in "das kleine Bisschen Schokolade" (would you say, for example, "reich mir mal ein Bisschen Schokolade rüber" or "er hat sich an einem Bisschen Schokolade verschluckt"?). The usual form would be "bisschen Schokolade" (or even "Stück Schokolade").

    Hutschi gave a good example of the usage of "Bisschen": "Das war kein Biss, das war bloss ein Bisschen (es wurde also nicht sehr kräftig zugebissen). Apart from that I cannot think of any meaningful usage of "Bisschen".
     
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    Kurtchen

    Senior Member
    German - Norddeutschland
    "Das war kein Biss, das war bloss ein Bisschen (es wurde also nicht sehr kräftig zugebissen). Apart from that I cannot think of any meaningful usage of "Bisschen".
    Hmm. Wouldn't that infer
    ein Tritt -> ein Trittchen (???)
    ein Schlag -> ein Schlägchen (???)
    ein Hundebißchen (???)

    As for myself, I think none of the above are correct. I'd prefer to use an adjective such as leicht or klein as modifier: ein leichter Biß etc.

    Also, Duden Rechtschreibung holds:
    Biss|chen [alte Schreibung Biß|chen] (kleiner Bissen)

    By the same token, I thought ein Bißchen Brot to be another variation of ein bißchen Brot and every bit(e) ;) as valid :)
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    To build a diminutive is productive in the German language.
    The most forms of diminutive do not appear in the Duden. This does not mean that they are not correct.

    There is a difference between "ein bisschen" = "ein wenig" - because this is not a diminutive form, even if it once was, and ein "Bisschen" = ein kleiner Biss or ein kleiner Bissen.

    The Duden gives the correct form for "ein bisschen Brot" meaning "etwas Brot".

    It does not show the diminutive forms here because they are seldom and they are clear by rules.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Considering the modern use of the words Biss and Bissen in standard German, I agree with Kurtchen that interpreting Bisschen as a diminutive of Bissen makes more sense than as a diminutive of Biss though it can be a diminutive of both.

    On the other hand, it is probably not very important because Bisschen, including the adverbial use ein bisschen, is older than the relatively recent separation of Biss and Bissen which are both evolutions of the older form Bisse of which Bissen was the accusative form.
     

    Sepia

    Senior Member
    High German/Danish
    "bisschen" may be an adjective or adverb. "Bisschen" (capitalized! - I did not realize that here capitalization is concealed by the particular position of the word) is a diminutive of "Biss" (bite).
    Adjective? How or in what context?
     

    Sepia

    Senior Member
    High German/Danish
    ein bisschen Geld, ein bisschen Dreck, ein bisschen Schokolade, ... You would not consider "bisschen" to be an adjective in this usage?!
    Not really ... unless there is a good argument for considering it an adjective.
     
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