Help with German, v. off-topic

Philip.Belben at pgen.com Philip.Belben at pgen.com
Wed Oct 25 12:44:08 EDT 2000





> Everything's o.k. with the "Where are you?" (not that I would have
> expected something else from this list :-)

Well, I'd add that the plural of "Wo bist du" is "Wo seit ihr"  (I think -
that's a form I don't think I have ever used!) = when your enquiring for a group
of people you know well.

> Just  a small correction to this What's your name?
>
>>Literally, "Was ist dein Name?" (familiar) ::. that should be "Wie ist
>>dein Name?"
>
>or "Was ist Ihren Name?" (formal). ::: and that's "Wie ist Ihr Name?"
>(without the "n") but that doesn't really matter, because
>
>>But commonly, you would ask "How are you called?" - "Wie heisst
>>du?" (familiar) or "Wie heissen Sie?" (formal)

Hmm.  It puzzled me for a bit how "Wie heisst du" could occur - whether you
would ever address as Du anyone whose name you didn't know!  I think this would
be an adult addressing a child, or two children or possibly teenagers.  Anyone
addressing an adult in this situation would definitely use Sie.

> BTW, the Sie und du (formal/informal) was very good described with
> "first-name-basis". (Only that with older people it takes much longer to
> come to a first name basis than in english speaking countries). Adults

A tale of this from the world of international commerce, where English is used a
lot.  Germans have been observed to be on first name terms _with each other_
when talking English, but still to revert to surnames and Sie when talking
German...

Have fun, anyway.

Philip.







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