Höflichkeit - how to "grease the wheels" of human discourse

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45
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13answers
2k views

How can a native English speaker know when it is appropriate to use the polite (Sie) or the familiar (Du)?

In a language such as English, where there are no "built-in" (so to say) polite and familiar forms, what are some simple tips or guidelines for when to use the polite or the familiar forms? Are there ...
28
votes
10answers
14k views

Why is “Fräulein” considered offensive, as opposed to “Frau”?

Does Fräulein imply that the woman being addressed is not fully a Frau? Does it imply a lower class status?
18
votes
9answers
4k views

How do Germans refer to people without caring about the gender

In German, a noun always has its own gender. However, there is a case I don't know. Suppose that there is a class with many students, both males and females, and then when I want to refer to all ...
11
votes
4answers
547 views

Do we use “Du” or “Sie” to address users in a German operation manual?

When writing or translating an operation manual for software (including game software) or hardware users are mostly addressed by the polite form "Sie". Increasingly however we can also find manuals ...
5
votes
4answers
930 views

How to say “Thank you for teaching me that word” in German?

Using the polite form, I expect it to be something like: Vielen Dank für lehren mich dieses Wort. but I can't find any example thereof. What I have seen is "Vater, lehre mich..." translated to ...
5
votes
4answers
708 views

If my professor says “du”, can I use “du”, too?

Some professors and university personal always address their students with "du". Should I as a student reply with "du"? If not, how can I ask them if its okay?