New answers tagged politeness
It just occurs to me that people usually don't use a title at all when they refer to a historical person. You can even see this in the answers to this post. Using "Herr Hitler" today would definitely convey second thoughts. In a neutral text, one would use only "Hitler" without title or article, and this would be true for any other publicly known person.
I just realised something very interesting in your question that changes the answer I would have given earlier. The way I first read the question — ‘Is Herr Hitler valid German?’ — calls for a very short and simple answer that Hubert has already given: Yes, it is perfectly valid to address everybody, be they head of state/government or tramp, descendents of ...
It is valid. This is also valid: Herr Gauck (deutscher Bundespräsident) Frau Merkel (deutsche Bundeskanzlerin) Herr Fischer (österreichischer Bundespräsident) Herr Faymann (österreichischer Bundeskanzler) Frau Sommaruga (Schweizer Bundespräsidentin) Frau Casanova (Schweizer Bundeskanzlerin) But you could also say: Herr Bundespräsident ...
Meine Mutter ist Maria would be correct if you are introducing yourself to someone who knows your mother.
No, as a way of introducing your mother this is not correct in either standard or colloquial German. You have or hold a name but you are not your name. Maria sein sounds like Papst sein or krank sein. It sounds as if you implied that she holds a ‘Maria-position’ or a role in a play: Meine Mutter ist Maria, Peter ist Josef und ich ein Hirte. Den Ochsen ...
If she is present, I would use a gesture to make clear who I am talking about and say Das ist meine Mutter Maria. As for when she is not present, it depends a lot on what you want to say. Meine Mutter heißt Maria. Would be used, if someone asked you what her name was. Using "ist" in this context is a bit unusual, but probably not completely ...
Wir freuen uns auf Euren Besuch ohne Geschenke.
@lejonet, taking the conversation out of the first answer’s comment section … You were asking for my ideas on this, but I’m afraid you got me wrong there. I was just trying to clarify the context of Wir bitten von Geschenken abzusehen. (Which is common, but puts some distance between you and your guests.) Just a side note anyway, really, since you asked for ...
In German it’s perfectly normal and not unfriendly to be direct, so why not keep it simple? Bitte keine Geschenke! I think the only way to really make this request more friendly would be by stating the reason for it.
I’ve read Geschenke sind nicht notwendig a few times now. It has the downside that some people just can’t help it and bring one anyway.
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 ...
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