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Thread: Anyone speak German?

  1. #1

    Default Anyone speak German?

    Hello! Sorry if this is in the wrong place....

    So I'm in the process of learning German, I'd say I'm so-so at the moment, and I've been curious about something for a while. I was hoping someone here may be able to answer this for me.

    How would a gender-neutral person be referred to and speak about themselves auf deutsch?

    I'm curious because gender is so important in the formulation. It would break my heart if I ever offended someone by not knowing.


    Thanks for any help and insight!

  2. #2

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    Did you know we have special interest groups here? There is one for the German Language. Sometimes the groups aren't well monitored but at least there are some names of members you can talk to.

  3. #3

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    I can speak a little German and I know there is a large group of members from Germany.

    Off the top of my head I would say "das". That would be grammatically correct, but I am not sure if that is socially correct.

  4. #4

    Default

    A gender neutral person?

    That's quite hard to use to be honest. I mean you could, but it would sound awkward. And may even offend the person much more as it helps.

    You should know the basic problem lies in the language itself. It's the dominance of the generic masculine, which most people critize for this reason. So nouns with masculine gender (der). It is used to describe a man or a person unknown in the singular gender and sometimes a woman, a compound in the plural , but especially mixed and pure male groups.

    While we also have generic feminine words and generic neuter (most of diminutives), but the generic masculine predominates greatly in number and frequency.
    So we also got the gender inflection derived form - using the morpheme -in(nen) - which exists explicit to describe a woman or a group of them.


    Hence it's hard to be genderneutral. The most common way is to name both sides of the gender, i.e. for example in a formal letter you would "sehr geehrte Damen und Herren" (=Dir sears or medames), non formal as example you just make the gender visible, like Studenten und Studentinnen (= studends (male plural) and students (female plural). The only other way would be to work your way around it, with saying something like using the verb and changing this into the noun, in this case it would be Studierende (students/studying people namely).


    What should work very well however, in the case if you're talking to a person whether it's directly infront or indirect via a letter or something similar, is to use the formal appellation "Sie", a personal honorific pronoun. It's plural, while you can still use it to adress one person (while the conjungation for any verb is still plural however).

    About yourself as gender neutral... this should be no problem with using "Ich" and "mein" usually, if I'm not forgetting something. I mean my name is is basically the same in german and it's neutral in itself. If you come across something I'd say work your way around it. We got tons of synonyms and it's the language of poets and thinkers after all.
    Last edited by daLira; 22-Apr-2015 at 18:59. Reason: small addition

  5. #5

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    Hallo! Mein name ist Henry! Ich sprache ein wenig Deustch! Ich hat für vier Jähre Deutsch studieren, aber Ich has viele viele vergessen!!

    In other words, my German is really rusty!! I took 4 years in highschool/college but it's been a while!! But if you want someone to practice German, we can teach each other!

  6. #6

    Default

    As for the very first question : i do speak german as native language.
    Though I am confused about that gender neutral thing.
    Is it about the language or about certain issues?

  7. #7

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    The only German I've ever picked up is from the Ramenstein music that was blared on the school bus by other people in highschool. Before I got my car, anyway. All that stopped once I figured out how to drive, ha.

  8. #8

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    Thanks for all the replies!

    I do not personally identify as a gender neutral person, but I am an anthropologist so I like to look at such things.



    Quote Originally Posted by daLira View Post
    You should know the basic problem lies in the language itself. It's the dominance of the generic masculine, which most people critize for this reason. So nouns with masculine gender (der). It is used to describe a man or a person unknown in the singular gender and sometimes a woman, a compound in the plural , but especially mixed and pure male groups.

    While we also have generic feminine words and generic neuter (most of diminutives), but the generic masculine predominates greatly in number and frequency.
    So we also got the gender inflection derived form - using the morpheme -in(nen) - which exists explicit to describe a woman or a group of them.


    Hence it's hard to be genderneutral. The most common way is to name both sides of the gender, i.e. for example in a formal letter you would "sehr geehrte Damen und Herren" (=Dir sears or medames), non formal as example you just make the gender visible, like Studenten und Studentinnen (= studends (male plural) and students (female plural). The only other way would be to work your way around it, with saying something like using the verb and changing this into the noun, in this case it would be Studierende (students/studying people namely).
    See I was thinking along the same lines, but then I was wondering about das Mädchen. But then again das is used for the -chen ending if I'm not mistaken. And when referring to a group of mixed individuals, in my experience at least, generally only the masculine plural is used.

    I was assuming the formal "Sie" would be used, much like english, but I really wanted a more fluent person's opinion. Thank you

    - - - Updated - - -



    Quote Originally Posted by kik91 View Post
    Hallo! Mein name ist Henry! Ich sprache ein wenig Deustch! Ich hat für vier Jähre Deutsch studieren, aber Ich has viele viele vergessen!!

    In other words, my German is really rusty!! I took 4 years in highschool/college but it's been a while!! But if you want someone to practice German, we can teach each other!
    Hallo Henry! Ich kann etwas auch Deutsch. Ich lernte Deutsch für vier jahre im Gymnasium. Und jetzt, ich lerne Deutsch auf dem Uni. Sprechen Wir zusammen!

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by shhsecret View Post


    Hallo Henry! Ich kann etwas auch Deutsch. Ich lernte Deutsch für vier jahre im Gymnasium. Und jetzt, ich lerne Deutsch auf dem Uni. Sprechen Wir zusammen!
    Gut, sehr gut. Ich habe Es sagt, meine Deustch ist night viel gut. Aber ich die Sprache liebe und Ich möchte nochmal es studieren! Viel Glück mit deines Deutch unterricht und bitte für mein Gramatik probleme.

    Tchüss!

  10. #10

    Default

    Hallo, Wilkommen zu den Duetshische Sprachen! Meine grammatik is nicht so gut aber ich kan deutcsh gut gelesen.

    There aren't really any ways to be grammatically correct and "gender neutral" in the case that you put it. I really don't know of anyone who would be offended by you using correct grammar. "sie" would be used regardless when referring to "they" and if you were talking directly to a group of people you would use "ihr" to say "you all". If speaking directly to a person, usually a friend, you would say du; but if you do not know someone that well or are afraid of offending them you can use "Sie".

    Most people in Germany will no what you are talking about if you screw up the gender of the infinitive. I don't think somebody will want you dead if you accidentally say die Rathaus instead of das Rathaus.

    Hope I helped.

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