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Thread: Sind Sie und Bist Du

  1. #1
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    Sind Sie und Bist Du

    Are both of these correct?

    For speaking to a stranger or a professional: Was sind Sie von Beruf?
    For speaking to a friend: Was bist Du von Beruf?

    Or, would I always use the former?

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    Both are correct. Yoe wouldn't use the first variant when adressing a friend. Usage of Du / Sie in German is basically the same as ты / вы in Russian(if my judgement of Russian usage is corret). But there is a tendency to addres people with "DU" in situations where you would have used "Sie" a few years ago.
    For example on the internent it is common practice to use "Du" toward anbody.
    When you use "Du" where you should have used "Sie" it may be something between embarassing and offending.
    The other way round it will not be offending but more ore less awkward.
    But if a foreigner has problems with this differences he can expect leniency.

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    Danke sch

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    Usually is "Du" written "du". But it's important to write "Sie" otherwise the reader could think it's "sie" (Plural).

  5. #5
    DDT
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    In the crowd I hung around with in Munich the locals thought it was dumb to use Sie after I had known them for all of a whole minute.
    Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to talk, think and act for myself. - Chief Joseph, Nez Perce

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    Quote Originally Posted by DDT
    In the crowd I hung around with in Munich the locals thought it was dumb to use Sie after I had known them for all of a whole minute.
    Hmm, really? I've always been taught that you always use Sie if you don't know the person really well.

  7. #7
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    children under 18 years dont say Sie to each other (in their freetime or at school).
    When adults meet in a disco or meet freinds from friends they like, they often say du to each other.

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    My friend says that 'du' is on the rise overall.

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    Quote Originally Posted by selters
    Quote Originally Posted by DDT
    In the crowd I hung around with in Munich the locals thought it was dumb to use Sie after I had known them for all of a whole minute.
    Hmm, really? I've always been taught that you always use Sie if you don't know the person really well.
    Yes, I was taught the same way but in my experience it did not hold true in the real world. I am not saying that there are no times to use Sie, though. Germans can tell when you are speaking to them in "school" taught German. It sounds funny to them.
    Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to talk, think and act for myself. - Chief Joseph, Nez Perce

  10. #10
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    Among teenagers and mainly in the internet you use "du", but when addressing colleagues you don't know well or strangers you use "Sie".

    If you keep the "Sie", then the person towards you has the chance to offer the "du".
    Џорџ Буш је ратни злочинац!

  11. #11
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    Most Western culture languages are outgrowing the formal address.Older generations and conservative people may have feelings of offence when you use the informal.But, the youth always use informal and think the formal sounds funny and over-gracious.Though, when a foreigner uses it, they know it's jst because they were taught to.Schools definetely do over-prep you on the formal side of things.Kind of scaring you into thinking it's more offensive than it really is.Though, I can't honestly say 'nobody' minds.Some people are formal anyway, even without the Sie vs du.I was weary at first with French (my 1st duel 'you' form language).But once I met a few Germans, French and Swedes, the 'formal boogie-man' disappeared.I would only use Sie if approaching a receptionist or formal situation like at an office-building.I'll occasionally play it safe by using Sie in first contact, if I'm unsure of the person's approachability.
    I use 'du' with German waiters/waitresses, and they don't bat an eyelid.They even strike up small talk on occassion, using 'du' back to me.Though in fairness, they're not in their own country when this happens.(I live in Australia).
    In French, I only use 'vous' (equivalent of German 'Sie') for set phrases like 'S'il vous plait' or for asking a favour like "Could you tell me how to find...?" or when the person seems a little conservative or stand-offish.So, use 'Sie' when asking a favour of someone, I'd say.I 'never' use the Swedish formal, 'Ni'.When I use French 'tu' and Swedish 'du'(German equivalent of 'du') to friendly people, even if they do correct me (rarely has happened), they're nice about it and don't seem to have taken it personally.I find that picking up on the approachability and friendliness of the individual to be the single best indicator of whether to use formal or not.Formal address is (apparently) closing in on extinction in everyday spoken Swedish.Perhaps the Germans aren't as relaxed as that.But, I'd doubt they're as formal as the French, either.Western cultures are pretty safe in this issue, as the class system has been rebelled against for quite some decades now.

  12. #12
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    think about it with english: do you speak formally to your friends? or do you speak formally to your elderlies and teachers and stuff. german is not all that different then english... you greet a stranger formally and superiors formally, you would generally greet a friend more casually. so, yes, greet strangers and professionals formally, and friends and peers casually, to answer your question

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