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38 votes

Is Gandalf really on 'du' terms with the Balrog? (Odd 'duzen' example)

Others have already given good answers, but I thought I'd elaborate a bit more on the difference of "Du" vs "Sie". The thing is - "Sie" is used when trying to show ...
Vilx-'s user avatar
  • 481
27 votes
Accepted

What would be the way to say "just saying" in German? (Not the literal translation)

I would translate it as (Nur) Ums mal zu erwähnen. / Ums mal erwähnt zu haben. or Wills nur mal gesagt haben. or Falls ihrs noch nicht wusstet. / Nur damit ihrs wisst. But to be honest I ...
mtwde's user avatar
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27 votes
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Is Gandalf really on 'du' terms with the Balrog? (Odd 'duzen' example)

In a fantasy setting it is quite uncommon to use Sie. You would use du or the pluralis majestatis form Ihr So the question would rather be, why is Gandalf saying Du kannst nicht vorbei! instead of ...
infinitezero's user avatar
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21 votes

What would be the way to say "just saying" in German? (Not the literal translation)

Kann man fast wörtlich übersetzen: Ich sag's nur. Wie πάντα ῥεῖ anmerkt in vielen Variationen denkbar: Ich sag's ja nur. Ich sag's nur mal. Ich erwähn's nur. Wollt ich (ja) nur mal gesagt (...
user unknown's user avatar
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19 votes

Should I use the "Sie" form or the "du" form for a thank you note to a customer?

The usual way of talking to people you don't personally know in any kind of business relationship would be "Sie". Even on eBay, eBay classifieds, other Craiglist-like marketplaces, or on ...
HalvarF's user avatar
  • 27.5k
19 votes

is German becoming more informal?

It is not a southern-German thing. Based on personal experience, I can safely say that German has become more informal in the last 20 years. Using Du has become more common, in a way that it feels ...
Jonathan Herrera's user avatar
17 votes

Is Gandalf really on 'du' terms with the Balrog? (Odd 'duzen' example)

In the German translation of Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" one does nowhere find the modern polite form Sie, but the old-fashioned Ihr. Why is that? I think the use of Ihr wants to ...
Paul Frost's user avatar
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15 votes

What would be the way to say "just saying" in German? (Not the literal translation)

just saying is a filling phrase which does not have a close correspondent in German In most cases, just saying is a filling phrase and could well be omitted without hurting the meaning. However, just ...
Jonathan Herrera's user avatar
12 votes
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Leaving out pronouns in informal conversation

A number of languages allow omitting pronouns (even) in formal speech and writing. Spanish is one of them, although the pattern is restricted to subject pronouns. German, like English, is generally "...
john-hen's user avatar
  • 389
12 votes

Should I use the "Sie" form or the "du" form for a thank you note to a customer?

Adding to HalvarF's fine answer: It might be worth to consider which of the options creates the least negative effect: addressing customers that are fine with "Du" as "Sie" will ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
  • 338
10 votes

How to say: 'to you, too' or 'you as well'

I usually respond to: "Schönes Wochenende!" with "Gleichfalls!" or "Ihnen/Dir auch!" or, less formal: "Auch so!" Of course, to be polite, you could start the response with a "Danke!".
Rudy Velthuis's user avatar
9 votes

Is Gandalf really on 'du' terms with the Balrog? (Odd 'duzen' example)

tl;dr: The typical textbook statement "Du is for friends and family" is only a half-truth which applies to typical everyday situations. Originally it is simply the direct and unadorned form ...
Peter - Reinstate Monica's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

What does the word "Blob" mean, used in German anno 2016? And what's its etymology?

Seemingly nonsensical talk is sometimes called Geblubber in German. This most probably derives from the sound bubbles make when emerging from the water - it is a sound that is annoying enough to be ...
Thorsten Dittmar's user avatar
8 votes

Should I use the "Sie" form or the "du" form for a thank you note to a customer?

This entirely depends on your target group. About 20 years ago, there would have been probably no discussion about this, and "Sie" would have been the way to go. However, nowadays it's way ...
infinitezero's user avatar
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8 votes
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is German becoming more informal?

I fully agree with the very good answer by @JonathanHerrera, but I think a few more examples of situations, where Duzen has become the norm, may be helpful. If you want to have even more details, ...
Sebastian Riese's user avatar
7 votes

What does the expression: "Du kannst mich mal" mean?

It is a short version of Du kannst mich mal am Arsch lecken. Literally: You can lick me at my ass. In English you would say: Kiss my ass. Maybe interesting to know: In previous times, ...
Hubert Schölnast's user avatar
7 votes

Usage of the ur- prefix

The answer See https://www.dwds.de/wb/ur- which is very helpful, especially when you have a look on the etymology. You are right in stating that ur- is used to refer to the origin of something far ...
Jonathan Herrera's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

Informal plural imperative in guides/instructions

It does not seem unusual to me that a video game walkthrough on the internet is written in informal second person plural imperative. Going for singular would be fine, too. The difference is whether ...
Arno's user avatar
  • 709
6 votes

Woher kommt »Bis die Tage«?

Informell benutzt man (zumindest hier in Nordbaden, vielleicht auch anderswo) "die Tage" durchaus als adverbiale Zeitbestimmung, im Sinn von einem unbestimmten "in diesen Tagen" ...
HalvarF's user avatar
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6 votes

What does this mean: “Also es gibt in Berlin auch Museen, die ich mag. Und es gibt ja dich!“

In this context, "Und es gibt ja dich" is most probably a shortened form of "Und es gibt in Berlin ja dich." Note that he is mentioning things that are a motivation for him to ...
O. R. Mapper's user avatar
  • 8,842
5 votes

Leaving out pronouns in informal conversation

A recommended read on the topic is Vorfeld-Analepse bei Aussagen. It's rather long and difficult, but covers a lot of ground. Custom requires that I mention at least a few pertinent points. It's not ...
David Vogt's user avatar
  • 26.5k
5 votes

What would be an alternative of "poke" to German English speakers?

Although I fear that your usage of the English word to poke is at least, say, uncommon, I have to place a bit of a guess on what you might think this means in English -the best way for a close to ...
tofro's user avatar
  • 65.4k
5 votes

What does the word "Blob" mean, used in German anno 2016? And what's its etymology?

Blob doesn't mean anything in German. Thus no other meanings, and no etymology. With a lot of imagination, I could imagine it is a onomatopoeic expression featuring a goldfish in the glass, even if ...
tofro's user avatar
  • 65.4k
4 votes
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Usage of the ur- prefix

The only adjectives you want to prefix with ur- in formal conversation are "uralt" and "urplötzlich". Using "ur" to intensify other adjectives as in "urschön" is Viennese youth language. (And really ...
sgf's user avatar
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4 votes
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What interjections can be used at start of a sentence?

This is a very broad topic. To start with how you started your actual question ("So I'm a beginner..."): This rather impolite and careless style of speaking is popular in German as well, especially ...
Christian Geiselmann's user avatar
4 votes

Leaving out pronouns in informal conversation

This is very uncommon in German and I’m not even sure off the top of my head where it would be heard. While personal pronouns can be reduced a lot (the furthest would probably be Bavarian Wenn’st ...
Jan's user avatar
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4 votes
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"Shall we ... ?" as a polite-but-informal suggestion : wollen vs. sollen

Yes; they are both correct and quite similar. Neither is generally preferable, though "wollen" would be slightly more relaxed. "Sollen" would imply that there is need to meet in some way at some time (...
hajef's user avatar
  • 693
4 votes
Accepted

"Komm jetzt" vs "Komm schon"

"Komm' schon" would probably be the more fitting translation for "come on" for encouragement or prodding. "Komm' jetzt" is more like "Come now". An impatient ...
Henning Kockerbeck's user avatar
4 votes

What would be the way to say "just saying" in German? (Not the literal translation)

I don't really think, we have this figure. I mean, yes "ich mein ja nur" works pretty well as a translation, but it could be perceived as passive aggressive. If we're hungry and I want to suggest a ...
Uroc327's user avatar
  • 141
3 votes

What would be the way to say "just saying" in German? (Not the literal translation)

A phrase that I would use and I haven't seen in another answer yet is, "nur so nebenbei", literally "just as an aside."
Sebastian Redl's user avatar

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