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I'm trying to understand the subtle differences between the multitude of terms which mean "to splash" in water.

Specifically in regards to the following situations/sentences:

1) [baby in bathtub] "Splash, splash splash. You're splashing so hard, everyone's getting soaked!"

2) [kid at the beach] "Splash around for another 10 minutes, then we have to leave"

3) [kid at the swimming pool] "Stop splashing the other swimmers. Its annoying for them"

4) [kid on a muddy field] "Looks like fun splashing about in the mud" (I suspect this uses the verb matschen)

Are there differences in usage in the above scenarios?

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Here is how I would say this (or expect it being said) typically in everyday German in a private/family context:

1) [baby in bathtub] "Splash, splash splash. You're splashing so hard, everyone's getting soaked!"

Platsche, platsche, patsche [yes, no "l" here, for variation], du spritzt so toll, da werden ja alle ganz nass!

2) [kid at the beach] "Splash around for another 10 minutes, then we have to leave"

Na gut, plansch' noch zehn Minuten, aber dann müssen wir gehen.

3) [kid at the swimming pool] "Stop splashing the other swimmers. Its annoying for them"

Hör auf, die anderen anzuspritzen. Das mögen sie nicht.

4) [kid on a muddy field] "Looks like fun splashing about in the mud" (I suspect this uses the verb matschen)

Boah, das muss klasse sein, da rumzumatschen!

Context is crucial!

You should keep in mind that the difference sometimes might not only to be sought in proper semantics but also in the situation where the sentence is used. For example, your sentence Number 3, when not told to children but to other adults, in a swimming pool for polite elderly people would rather be:

Verzeihen Sie, möchten Sie ein bisschen weniger energische Bewegungen machen? Andere Schwimmer hier könnten sich gestört fühlen.

And your Number 4 would be, in a dialogue in a book from 1870:

Sapperlot! Was müsste es für ein Vergnügen sein, sich hier im Schlamme zu suhlen!

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C.G.'s 3) "Hör auf, die anderen anzuspritzen. Das mögen sie nicht." might evoke loud, very loud laughter. anspritzen can not only mean to splash water to / on someone, but also to cum / to jizz on someone. This, of course, C.G. would refuse to know. :-))

My recommendation for 3) is:

Hör auf mit dem Rumgespritze / mit der Rumspritzerei. Damit nervst du die Ander(e)n. / Du nervst die Ander(e)n.

His "Verzeihen Sie, * möchten Sie ein bisschen weniger energische Bewegungen machen?" is everything, but not idiomatic German. You'd better forget this one, too. :-))

Cheers!

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