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I want to ask one of the foreign German guys to homecoming. I found different quotes but I don't know which one is correct. So how should I write the note to ask him? "Will you go to homecoming with me?"

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    Why not in English? – Carsten S Sep 18 '14 at 5:53
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    @CarstenSchultz: Because he may be as confused as I was as to what homecoming is. This does not meen however that it is a good idea to translate the whole sentence. – Wrzlprmft Sep 18 '14 at 7:46
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    To give context to answerers: "Homecoming" at US high schools is a dance/ball given during the early part of the school year (often just after the school's first football game), and is attended by current students, although the phenomenon was originally based around the return of former students. It is not so much a celebration of former students nowadays, but instead a chance for students to socialize with adult supervision. – Milchgesicht Sep 18 '14 at 15:10
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    @Em1 ganz genau. Ersties-Party kommt näher ans Ziel, doch Homecoming beschränkt sich nicht nur auf "Freshmen". Mein Vorschlag wäre, wie auch cgoe beantwortete, " Homecoming" nicht zu übersetzen. Der arme Junge müsste auch mal das Wort auf Schildern in der Schule gelesen haben, gell? – Milchgesicht Sep 18 '14 at 15:27
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    Ich würde auf den amerikanischen und etwas vagen Begriff homecoming gar nicht eingehen und einfach Schulball/ Schulfeier übersetzen. – rogermue Sep 18 '14 at 17:41
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Since homecoming is an expression that has - to my knowledge - no counterpart in German, I would say something like

Willst du mit mir zum Homecoming gehen?

You could also use

Hast du Lust, mit mir zum Homecoming zu gehen?

Or, very politely

Ich würde mich freuen, wenn du mich zum Homecoming begleitest/begleiten würdest.

Update:

I would advice against translating homecoming, for the following reasons:

  • Since it is attended by current students mostly and all the presented translations somehow imply, that this event is mainly for former students, looking for a German counterpart will most likely confuse the person you want to ask.

  • The term Ehemaligentreffen sounds rather strange and very formal to me. I would not use it in oral or written German.

  • Homecoming is - correct me, if I am wrong - an American tradition. To my knowledge, in German speaking countries there are no similar events. Therefore, the German language does not provide a suitable noun for describing the exact event of a homecoming. All given translations somehow lack the "core essence", and any German exchange student abroad will understand you perfectly, if you say homecoming.

  • Not "begleitetest"? – Carsten S Sep 18 '14 at 13:07
  • No, begleitetest is the Präteritum. Here, we use present tense, although the action will take place in the future. – cgoe Sep 18 '14 at 14:16
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    Ich denke @CarstenSchultz hat hier eher an Konjunktiv als an Präteritum gedacht. Persönlich würde ich ja "...begleiten würdest." verwenden, vor allen Dingen unter der Betrachtung, dass es die "very politely"-Form ist. – Em1 Sep 18 '14 at 15:10
  • "no counterpart in German" ? Yes, there is – plenty! Or am I getting "homecoming" completely wrong? – tillinberlin Sep 18 '14 at 15:23
  • @Em1 Ist mir auch gerade aufgefallen. begleitetest klingt aber, v.a. gesprochen, sehr gewöhnungsbedürftig. – cgoe Sep 18 '14 at 16:58
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  • In casual speech I would also consider "Ehemaligentreffen" ("formers' gathering") the correct term – if you relate to people you were studying with. This type of event can either be an official gathering of students, invited by their university – or an inofficial at some bar – or everything inbetween.

  • The rather formal term "Alumnitreffen" ("alumni gathering") is probably what institutions inviting former students would write on the invitation – if they try to be make a formal impression. And as far as I know the term suggests that you actually gratuated from that institution.

  • Then there is also the term "Graduiertentreffen" ("graduates' gathering") which is also rather formal – and used for gatherings of graduates only.

  • And then again former school (high school) mates celebrate their parties usually under the label "Klassentreffen" ("class gathering").

But since I've never been to a real homecoming I actually can't say which term would be closest.

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  • If the homecoming you are referring to is with or in honor of alumni, the closest German translation that comes to my mind is das Ehemaligentreffen. If you enter Homecoming combined with Ehemaligentreffen in Google, you'll find some hits where German universities invite to their Ehemaligentreffen and also mention the term homecoming.
    So for the whole invitation you could write:

    Willst/Magst du mit mir zum Ehemaligentreffen gehen?
    Würdest du mich zum Ehemaligentreffen begleiten?
    (Or any variant that cgoe proposed with Homecoming substituted by Ehemaligentreffen.)

  • If however alumni don't play a major part in your homecoming, I would advice not to translate homecoming at all. Remember that, when treating it like a German noun, you should capitalize the first letter: das Homecoming.

  • Since American high school "homecomings" no longer have much of anything to do with "returning alumni", Ehemaligentreffen is more suited for a " high school reunion", which is typically held 10, 20, 50 years after a cohort has graduated. – Milchgesicht Sep 18 '14 at 15:13
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    @Milchgesicht: I've never been to a homecoming and the only information I have about it is the Wikipedia article linked somewhere in the comments. What Wikipedia describes sounds like an Ehemaligentreffen to me, since in almost every paragraph there's the word "alumni" present. (However, I cannot imagine a German Ehemaligentreffen with football/sports matches, coronation of a queen/king and so on; but that seems to be an America-vs.-Europe thing :-)). – Chris Sep 18 '14 at 15:33
  • I certainly understand, and due to the history of the term, it is a hard one to translate (historical meaning vs. current use, which is only tenuously related). Still as a US American who went to a homecoming dance years ago, I dont think our hypothetical German exchange student will stand much of a chance and understanding the note if OP uses Ehemaligentreffen. It is however certainly a perfect translation for "reunion" in the sense of a meeting of alumni. – Milchgesicht Sep 18 '14 at 15:38

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