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

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49
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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 ...
19
votes
9answers
5k 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 ...
30
votes
10answers
21k 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?
5
votes
5answers
187 views

How to ask your Boss politely to sign a document a little bit faster?

The paper is important. My current best version were: "Sehr geehrter Herrn ..., Dürfte ich die ... Dokument möglichst schnellsten bekommen?" But it seems a little bit rude for me. Practically, I ...
11
votes
4answers
579 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
1k 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
816 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?
2
votes
5answers
173 views

Welche guten Tipps für den täglichen Gebrauch der deutschen Sprache gibt es? [closed]

Frage: Diese Frage zielt auf die, in der FAQ erwähnten, finer points of the language and translation der deutschen Sprache ab. Da dies eine eher fortgeschrittene Sammlung von Tipps sein soll, die ...