Tag Info

Hot answers tagged

35

In person-to-person contact the polite "Sie" is the standard way of addressing someone (in written contact even more so). Unless they are the same age as you (or younger) and you are pretty young yourself (say, under 30) - when this is the case an the setting is relaxed (at a party, in a bar, etc) you could venture to use "du" right away. Switching to the ...


15

This is not actually a grammar question. The usage of the Du vs Sie is mostly a question of social context and social standing and can differ a lot between situations. There are no strict rules connected with the choice of Du vs Sie. Following a few general guidelines: the younger you are, the more likely you use Du for persons within a similar age group ...


14

I agree with what Emanuel said: Both "Bescheidenheit" and "Schönheit" are meant to be funny responses, but they are not. In this case, "Bescheidenheit" probably is intended to be ironic and refers to that you should not have sneezed as your are attracting attention. "Schönheit" ends with "heit" and therefore has a connection to "Gesundheit", which might be ...


13

There is http://htwkbk.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/du-oder-sie-a-simple-visual-guide.pdf (via http://htwkbk.wordpress.com/2010/01/04/when-to-use-du-and-sie/) which actually is somewhat accurate despite the fact that it probably was written tongue in cheek.


8

Did you read the Wikipedia article yet? The newsreaders you hear on Deutsche Welle all speak standard German or at least they are supposed to. As a learner of German residing abroad, you should aim for "standard German" pronunciation. Most movies made in Germany have their actors speak standard German except when dialect is indicated by the script. Your ...


8

In addition to what has been said there are situations where the informal Du still is generally inappropriate, e.g.: in a traditional (non-fashion) shop like a bakery, in a supermarket etc. in official institutions such as police stations, government departments etc. in a bank on the phone unless you know the person you talk to in hotel receptions when ...


8

If both speakers are adults, this is supposed to be symmetric, so you can wait for the others. Unfortunately, native speakers have more practice to avoid the issue with complicated avoidance maneuvers in awkward social situations, so you might just want to ask and use your foreigner status as good excuse for asking. The younger the people, the more they use ...


7

As a rule of thumb in every day life, you can decide the correct form on how you would call a person in English: if you call someone by their first name or an informal phrase like 'you guys', you can use 'Du' in German. if you would approach someone by using 'Sir', 'Miss', or 'Mr. X' or 'Mrs. Y', you should use 'Sie' in German.


7

Saying "Gesundheit" is the polite way. Asking if the sneezing person has hay fever is rude, but ok if you have a close relation to that person (close friend). Polite alternatives would be "Geht's wieder?" (Better now?) or "Wirst wohl krank?" (Getting ill?). This way you can show that you care for the person that sneezes. I personally do not agree with the ...


6

Früher sagte man in der Tat Gesundheit, aber heute ist es am höfltichsten gar nichts zu sagen. Den meisten Leuten ist es unangenehm krank zu sein, und sie wünschen nicht daran erinnert, oder bemitleidet zu werden. Entweder die Leute bekommen nur ein Staubkorn in die Nase, dann ist ein einzelnes Niesen kein Symptom mangelnder Gesundheit, und der Wunsch ...


6

No, you should not. To say "Schönheit" a lot used in a joking way. You should not use it because people you don't know could interpret it that you mean it mockingly. The full joke runs as follows: "Hatschi!", "Schönheit! Gesund bist du ja.", translates to "Achoo!", "Beauty! Since you are healthy, anyway!" -- only suitable in company that likes bad jokes. I ...


6

For conversation (it's almost the same for letters and Emails): Using "Sie" is appropriate if you have a formal relationship to the other person, if the other person is older, in a higher position (e.g. your boss). It means you respect the other person. If a person tells you only the last name you should use "Sie". (I am a native german speaker and it's ...


5

In Germany it's the German spoken in Hannover and Braunschweig that is traditionally said to be closest to what written German is supposed to be pronounced. It is, however, not some 'native Hannover dialect' which makes it that way, but the absence of local dialects that were spoken there in earlier centuries. Programme presenters of all nationwide public ...


5

Good question. Basically, it depends completely on your conversational partner. But others already gave good answers to that. I would just want to amend one option: In case of doubt, simply avoid it. Examples: "Wollen Sie etwas essen?" > "Wollen wir etwas essen?" "Entschuldigen Sie, können Sie mir sagen, wie ich zum Bahnhof komme?" > "Entschuldigung, wo ...


5

In my opinion the negotiation process is still missing from the answers so far. If both persons are adults, usually the older or socially higher ranking person gets to call the shots, for example an elderly person (in my opinion it's very rare that they allow Du) your boss the father of your new girlfriend ;) any situation where you are the "new one" in ...


5

The words mean what they always mean. If you say "Gesundheit", you imply, that the person isn't in best health state. If you say "Schönheit" instead, you imply she isn't beautiful, but ugly, and you wish him or her to improve in that field. The same is true with "Bescheidenheit" which is not even common as a joke, in my cultural context. As you can see, ...


5

There isn't a (good) alternative. The best you can say is simply Gesundheit. Some people add an additional pleasantry, like und ein langes Leben or whatever. But only a few people do so. Some people, especially women, modify Gesundheit to something terrible like Gesundi, what is not an actual word, but is understood. Knigge advises to ignore when someone ...


4

Habe ein wenig experimentiert bei Google und den vermutlich von dir gesuchten Ball gefunden. Er heißt Kocherlball Das Suffix -erl ist übrigens eine Verkleinerungsform, die im süddeutschen Raum und in Österreich verbreitet ist. Unter einem Achterl versteht man beispielsweise in Wien ein (1/8 l) Glas Wein. Wikipedia-Eintrag zu Kocherlball: Der ...


3

(English version below) Aus gegebenem Anlass noch einige Anmerkungen zur Frage, welche Aussprachevariante des Deutschen einen höheren Status als andere beanspruchen dürfe. In der Frage schwang die Vorstellung mit, es gebe eine Sprachregion in Deutschland, die quasi über allen anderen throne wie einst Willem zwo über seinen Untertanen (siehe Abb. 1 unten). ...


3

A Point that I missed in the previous answers is that you can use "siezen" to mark a line. For instance you are dealing with somebody which you don't want to be friendly with. In business it is used to separate yourself from a supplier for instance even though you work in the same project.


2

You shouldn't use "Schönheit" instead of "Gesundheit" without first having a feeling for proper context, because the literal meaning (you lack beauty) is insulting and many people feel that the joke gets old. But I also feel that people here are overstating the judgment on the alternative wishes. I come from a family with a tendency to multiple sneezing ...


1

add-on: Take care if you're joining certain types of guilds. Too much respect and politeness would be a good joke if you used "Sie", for example: if you're a builder and start your first day at a building site if you're a punk and you're joining a group of foreign punks you're about 20 years and you meet other foreign twens



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible