Friday, 3 April 2009

Talking About You

When you learn about verbs in German you start with the infinitive. This is the part of the verb that you find in the dictionary and it means to do something, to play, to sing, to speak etc. In English we conjugate or change verbs depending on who is doing the action. So I speak but he speaks. It is the same in German and the verb does change. This means that you either learn by coming across the different personal pronouns, I, you, he, she, it, we or they, with the verb and you learn by practice. The more common way to learn is to find the patterns of language but there are regular and irregular verbs, and you simply have to learn the conjugations.

There is one big difference in German and that is there are four words for you, du, ihr, Sie and man. The word man is used when we would say 'one' but think it is too posh so we use 'you'. this means that it conjugates in the same manner as he or she or it. Man hat mir gesagt means one has told me, but we would normally say I was told. I will leave ihr for this blog because it is used when you are talking to a group. the big difference between German and English is when you are talking to someone, when do you use du and when do you use Sie? Well Sie is used for formal situations and du is used for people that you know. If people are saying du to you then use it back, but generally start with Sie for German speakers over 16. If you are in doubt and you would like to say du then you can always say wir können uns duzen? It is a good ice breaker, tells people that you can speak some German so they don’t just speak English, and it adds to your vocabulary, so learn this sentence.

Bis bald

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