I was watching the cartoon Muzzy In Gondoland when I came across this usage of "Wie geht es Ihnen" at the minute "1:16" :

-- Wie geht es Ihnen?

++ Ich bin Prinzessin Sylvia.

I thought that "Wie geht es Ihnen?" ment "How are you?" not "Who are you?". Can somebody explain this?

Also, when the princess said "Ich bin Prinzessin Sylvia." why she did not use the artikel "die"?

Should not she say that she is the princess Sylvia?

2 Answers 2


They are not answering the question. The king and queen both first use “Wie geht es Ihnen?” as a greeting, addressed at an invisible public or the viewer, and then introduce themselves with “Ich bin …”. Afterwards Princess Sylvia (no article in English either) introduces herself.

Using “Wie geht es Ihnen?” as a greeting without expecting any kind of answer is not actually usual in German. We can assume, however, that this fictional kingdom in a children’s TV show by the BBC is influenced by British customs.

  • 3
    The custom is common in the US as well, and causes much confusion for people from other countries. It's also confusing for Americans going abroad, as one might imagine.
    – RDBury
    Apr 12, 2022 at 18:49
  • 5
    This looks like a classic "false friend" mistranslation of "How do you do?" Quite unfortunate, given that this is a film specifically designed for teaching English as a second language and later translated to teach several other languages including German. Apr 13, 2022 at 0:45
  • @JörgWMittag, oh, I didn't know that it's originally in English, that explains it even better.
    – Carsten S
    Apr 13, 2022 at 7:00
  • 2
    @RDBury, I remember that I never knew how to react in the US when someone would enter a hotel elevator and say "how are you".
    – Carsten S
    Apr 13, 2022 at 7:07

To answer the "also" part, in Prinzessin Sylvia the Prinzessin is a title like "Mister" or "Professor". This is combined with Sylvia to form a proper name, and proper names usually do not require an article. The previous two people use König and Königin more like common nouns since they don't include their actual names. It works the same way in English.

For future reference, it's better to keep questions separate unless they are closely related. I don't think it matters that much in this case though.

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