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55

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 and the setting is relaxed (at a party, in a bar, etc) you could venture to use "du" right away. Switching to the ...


44

You are falling into the trap laid out carefully by German Gender Mainstreaming throughout the years. No, in German a noun does not have a gender. It has a genus. This genus is a purely grammatical property defined by tradition. By default, it has nothing to do with biological sex or sociological gender. The word der Student is a masculine noun describing ...


32

The one-sided "Du" is essentially limited to adults vs. children.* If an adult person X calls another adult person Y "Du", but expects to be addressed as "Sie" by Y, I'd consider that as an offense. So, for all practical purposes, the quotation from german-way.com is correct: If somebody calls you "Du", you may treat it as an offer to use "Du" yourself. ...


30

A major effort from feminist linguistics is achieving equality of men and women in spoken or written language. All terms that discriminate men and women should be avoided. Fräulein (the diminutive of Frau) was especially criticized as it did not only discriminate in sex but also has a strong sexist association by the meaning of Fräulein being an unmarried ...


30

Just ignore the "Du" and reply using "Sie".


28

Fräulein is a diminutive ('Verniedlichungsform') of Frau. Diminution is considered an intimate act, used a lot with nicknames couples give each other (Häschen, Mäuschen, Bienchen, Bärchen) or for "lovely little beings" like children and pets. So using Fräulein has a touch of intimacy not convenient to many women. Addressing an unkown woman as Fräulein can ...


25

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 ...


22

Du hast ungespeicherte Nachrichten. — You have unsaved messages. Sie haben ungespeicherte Nachrichten. — You have unsaved messages. Both occur, but often neither is used, because it’s usually possible to phrase a dialog or message in an impersonal way without becoming too distant, e.g. passive voice or man. Name hat ungespeicherte Nachrichten. ...


20

It's a phrase to express gratitude. It is an indirect acknowledgment that you intended the gift as a gift, and not for satisfying a perceived necessity ("nötig" comes from "Not", English "need" or "poverty"). The confusion probably comes from the literal translation "That was not necessary / unnecessary", which, as I understand it, is a defensive remark to ...


20

Unless you know someone well or are addressing a child it is safest to use the polite form. This way you don't risk causing offence. You can take cues from others too, if they address you in the informal form it is probably safe for you to do so in return.


18

Yes, it works. The most popular way to say this is: Sie haben sich verwählt. An example dialogue: Guten Tag, ich möchte bitte Jonas sprechen. Wen? Jonas? Hier wohnt kein Jonas, ich glaube, Sie haben sich verwählt. or: Sie sind offensichtlich falsch verbunden. or: Anscheinend haben Sie eine falsche Nummer gewählt. ...


17

One possibility would be to form complete sentences. This can convey to your conversation partner that this conversation is important enough for you to give up some more of your precious time in order to be polite/correct. In this example, I would say: "Ich hätte gerne drei Brötchen und einen Kaffee." Also, "bitte", "danke", "guten Tag" and "auf ...


17

Von etwas abzusehen kenne ich nur von Beerdigungen, à la von Trauerbekundungen am Grab bitten wir abzusehen. I’d just say Bitte keine Geschenke. You could add something like Eure Anwesenheit ist Geschenk genug. Sometimes people may also ask to donate to charity instead of bringing gifts, and then point people to a certain organization ...


16

The simple answer is: "Sie" is always appropriate unless you are addressing a child. However, there are a lot of situations where the "Du" is more common today; this includes most usages in forums, blogs or social networks, leading to the belief that it is accepted for general use. Some companies use it as a form of corporate identity. Ikea and Apple come ...


15

'Fräulein' was mainly used for unmarried women, and therefore for very young women when in doubt. Not being married was often considered a failure, and even a female professor, 50 years old, could have been called 'Fräulein'. "This is Fräulein Meier" is nearly equivalent of telling somebody "This is Mr. Müller. He isn't married yet." Independent from his ...


15

If you know the name, use the name. That’s the easy part. You can often still get away with ‘generisches Maskulinum’, i.e. Studenten, but in a university setting, i.e. where you’d actually use Student and Studentin to refer to students (instead of Schüler and Schülerin ‘pupil’ in a school or most other courses), it’s becoming rather common to use ...


14

Several possibilities there: You can ask the child in a cutesy tone (Duzen), if it's a rather young child. The mother will probably smile from ear to ear and wait for the kid to answer, or eventually answer the question for her kid (or call the police for harassment ;) If the kid is your friend (similar age, same school, etc. etc.), you can just quickly ...


14

Meine Antwort basiert lediglich auf meiner langjährigen (und andauernden) Gastrotätigkeit. In einem ganz normalen Restaurant, einem Café oder einer Bar gibt es: nichts Alles klingt gestelzt, steif, herablassend oder unnatürlich und würde vom Kellner oder der Kellnerin direkt den anderen im Team als Anekdote weitererzählt. Kurz die Hand heben oder einfach ...


13

First: German does not have those lean construction like for + verb-ing or Verb-ing, I verbed something else. You have to make normal subordinate phrases for most of those. The options here would be: Ich danke Ihnen dafür, dass Sie mich dieses Wort gelehrt haben. I thank you for that, that you taught me this word. (lit.) Unless the word can cure ...


13

Polite expressions are often complicated: Drei Brötchen und einen Kaffee, wenn's keine Umstände macht. Drei Brötchen und einen Kaffee, wenn Sie so freundlich wären. Könnten Sie mir drei Brötchen und einen Kaffee bringen? But you could always append a 'bitte'. In a modern conversation, it is polite not to disturb your conversational partner ...


13

In my experience the "asymetric Du" (as I call it) is somewhat of an old concept and is going out of style lately. Normally the Du/Sie between adults is symmetric, so if your professor says "Du", then so can you. But traditionally in a hierarchical settings the "higher" person sometimes had the benefit of saying "Du", while the "lower" person was still ...


13

You (and the textbooks) are making too much of a big deal out of this. :) In my experience, you'll have a hard time finding someone who is going to freak out if you use Du instead of Sie, especially if they hear your accent and realize that German isn't your native tongue. If they reply with Sie, try to switch to using Sie with them because obviously they ...


12

Yes, it absolutely is offensive. It is also not used at all anymore (except in some situations with small children). It does not denote class status, it marks the difference between married or unmarried. (It may have denoted class status historically in the sense that a young woman of low class would have gotten no honorific at all, but be called by her ...


11

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.


11

Wenn ich bei einer 19€-Rechnung 20 € geben möchte (also 1 € Trinkgeld), aber nur einen 50er habe, dann sage ich "20, bitte", d. h. Nr. 12.


11

Yes, you can say so, but it is a bit formal. The most common way to phrase it is with verwählen: Sie haben sich verwählt. Both phrases are very blunt, though, and in essence tell the caller that they made a mistake. In order to make it more polite, you would add some uncertainty (even if you are indeed dead sure that they are wrong) and possibly add ...


10

No, it's not automatically appropriate to respond with "du" to someone addressing you informally. If there's a difference in the level of age/esteem/reputation, you should not assume that it is Ok to address the other person informally. Child-adult or student-professor relationships are classical examples of such a difference. Note that the rules governing ...


10

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 ...


10

Wird einem einladend etwas zu trinken, zu essen oder zur Benutzung angeboten (auch wenn es durch ein schluffiges »willst 'n / magst 'n Kaffe?« ausgedrückt wird) ist »ja, gerne« / »nein, danke« die ebenso freundliche Standardantwort, »ja, bitte« geht auch. In dieser Situation wäre »ja, will/möchte ich« eine eher untypische Verstärkung, die eine gewisse ...


10

It depends on the company making the software in question. For example, Facebook always uses "du", Microsoft always uses "Sie", Apple and Google use a mixture, depending on product and context. Typically "Sie" is preferred in more formal/business contexts, while "du" is preferred in more informal/social contexts. To give at least a couple of data points, ...



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