Monday, October 10, 2011

Did you 'du' him?

[Context for non-German speakers: 'du' = informal 'you' & 'Sie' = formal 'you']

B said she Sie'd him, C said she used to Sie but has worked her way up to du'ing her in-laws, and I started off du'ing G's parents after checking with G first.

It's also pretty complicated in Japanese (honorific forms and all that, as in other Asian languages), but it's not so easy determining the appropriate uses of "you" in German either. I guess that's part of what makes things interesting, but I just love the flexibility of the English "you."


  1. This is B's dad. I think, I "duzt" her.? I usually "du" all people from English speaking countries, except sometimes people from England.
    We can try to synchronize, when we meet next time. Happy New Year.

  2. Hi, and thanks for your comment!
    I think that's a pretty good rule to go by. I have the most trouble when I suddenly have to speak in German with people I usually speak Japanese with (ie. I speak in Japanese to my parents' friends, but when we all speak in German when we're in German-speaking company).
    My default is Sie, just to be on the safe side, though it can sometimes be a bit awkward!
    Have a happy new year! :)