8

They would both appear to mean the same thing in English i.e. 'still'

How do they differ and under what circumstances might you use either of them?

6

"Noch immer" is used in cases where the speaker has already expressed in the past their wish or assumption that the described situation would have ended by the time of speaking - which has not happened.

It is a stronger and more emotional form of "noch", as can be seen for example in the translation of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven":

(...)
Und der Rabe rührt' sich nimmer, sitzt noch immer, sitzt noch immer
auf der bleichen Pallas-Büste überm Türsims wie vorher;
und in seinen Augenhöhlen eines Dämons Träume schwelen,
und das Licht wirft seinen scheelen Schatten auf den Estrich schwer;
und es hebt sich aus dem Schatten auf dem Estrich dumpf und schwer
meine Seele - nimmermehr.

  • I agree. The use of noch immer as opposed to just noch stresses the continuity and expresses slight annoyance or suprise. Er sitzt noch would just be a peace of information delivered neutraly and unopinionated. – con-f-use Aug 22 '11 at 21:08
  • Yes, although "noch" would still convey the assumption that the fact is due to change eventually. – Jan Aug 22 '11 at 21:10
6

I noticed "noch immer" is quite often being used to describe activities or a state of something that is regrettably not changed yet.

For example:

Das Vorurteil, dass Frauen schlechter Auto fahren als Männer, besteht noch immer. (The prejudice that women are worse at driving than men still exists.)

"Noch" has no such connotation, it is completely neutral.

  • I wouldn't see "noch" as being completely neutral - it has an assumption that things will change, however it's not as strong (or urgent) as with "noch immer". – Jan Aug 22 '11 at 14:20
  • Good point actually. Didn't think of it as that. – Katharina Nickel Aug 22 '11 at 16:53
  • And what (if anything) is the difference between "immer noch" and the other two? – Tom Au Aug 23 '11 at 21:07
  • I would also be interested in some clarifiaction on Tom Au's last comment. If I am understanding the nuance correctly from the previous comments, "er liebt sie immer noch" would have a more positive connotation than "er liebt sie noch immer". Is that so? – Marty Green Aug 24 '11 at 11:16

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