Just starting learning German and a number of texts I've read say that 'zwei' takes on a morphological change to 'zwo' in spoken speech to differentiate with 'drei'. How often do people actually use this alternative in everyday speech, or is this one of those textbook 'Good to know!' asides that actually only live within the confines of textbook pages?
- Anybody can ask a question
- Anybody can answer
- The best answers are voted up and rise to the top
Above all, it's good to know. Speaking for Austria, it's not very common in spoken language (any more -- used to be much more frequent), unless you are on the telephone, say, and want to make extra certain that no mistakes are made. It's routinely used in radio communications, too, much like the English "niner".
Personally I use it for important things like a phone number, bank account or credit card number, thinks like that. It's definitely used, but not as common as you might think.
That's dependent of the Region.
As you may know in German there are more Dialects than in English.
In the southern 'states' (e.g. Bavaria)
In the Bundeswehr, use of zwo when counting is definitely still common, although it might be dependent on region.