"Вы говорите по-немецки?"

Translation:Do you speak German?

December 8, 2015

This discussion is locked.


wrote "Do you speak Germany?". brb, gonna jump off a мост.


Ich auch mein Freund!!!


How would you say "Are you speaking German?"?

I was marked incorrect, and I don't know whether to report it or not.


It is correct now


What is the etymology of немец- ? It seems like every language has it's own word for German/Germany.


According to Wiktionary, this word is related to English mumble and mute, meaning speaking incomprehensibly.



It's from the Russian немой, which does mean mute.


German, Deutsch, Alemán, Немецкий


Да, я немка.


How would you say "Are you speaking German?"
Possible context: I overhear two people talking, but do not recognise the language that they are speaking.

If I interrupted (politely, I hope!) with "Do you speak German?" that would imply that I did, and WANTED them to speak German, in order to understand them better.

  • 1187

I’d say "Вы по-немецки говорите?" – with an emphasis on "по-немецки". This word order would be more fitting in this context, although "Вы говорите по-немецки?" is still possible, too – the important thing is the intonational stress on "по-немецки".


Thanks, nice solution!

  • 1187

Yeah; absent of the distinction of two present tenses, Russian resorts to its favourite devices – changing word order and/or intonation. Another possibility that came to mind is adding "это": Это вы по-немецки говорите? (kind of "Is it German you’re speaking?") Here the intonational emphasis on "по-немецки" is also important, because if you put it on "вы", that would mean "Is it you who speaks German?"…


Thanks again. I have found the fact that Russian has only a single present tense to be its most confusing feature, in terms of how to convey distinctions of meaning that are clear in English.
It took me a long while to realise the differences in meaning conveyed by altering the sentence order in Latin; I must pay equivalent attention to their effect in Russian, it seems.


Why is немецкий incorrect? I saw the description about it being like an adverb, but I've never seen it like this in the wild :)


Can you write the whole sentence? You can use «немецкий» here if you apply it correclty.


Why "ты по-немецки говорите?" Is wrong?


Wrong verb conjugation. "Ты" uses "говоришь". "Говорите" is used with "Вы".


Ну да, я немец


Is it important to put - in Russian?


Yes, but Duolingo will likely accept your answer with a space.


what does ПО means?


Why German and Japan are called by different names in Russian language. Could anyone (possibly a native Russian speaker) please explain it in English?


Germany is still Германия, as in English (Germany). That country has a wide variety of names (some version of Alemania in the Romance languages, Deutschland in the native German, which becomes Tyskland in other Germanic languages, Germany/Germania in English and other languages from the Latin Germania, etc.). A lot of it has to do with the historic ties and who interacted with whom - remember, Germany wasn't even truly unified into a single nation as we might understand it until the 19th century. Historically there were many different Germanic tribes, and from there, and from certain geographic splits, you get the different names of the country. I only explain that since you said "German and Japan" (so I wasn't sure if you were talking about the country or the language/people).

The word немец (German man), немка (German woman), and adjective немецкий ("german") come from the Old Church Slavonic word for "foreigner" and the root is basically нем- (like in the adjective, немой - dumb [as in mute], though historically also just "incapable of speaking in an understandable language"). In olden times the word was used to describe many Germanic peoples such as Swedes, Norwegians and Danes, and for a time even included Scots, Brits, etc.

Япония is a little more straightforward - it comes from the West's "Japan" (presumably from the German "Japan" which sounds like "Yahpahn"). Where we got it from... well, there are some debates about that... Some say it comes from the native Japanese "Nippon/Nihon", or from Marco Polo's interpretation of certain Chinese words (though he never visited Japan himself), or from the Malaysian word...


And thinking that Germany is "Deutschland" in German and Japan is "Nihon" and "Nippon" in Japanese, it turnes out that almost all other countries name them differently. ;o)


Why was I marked incorrect for writing 'can you speak German', isn't it the same as 'do you speak German'?


Not exactly.

I think "Can you speak German?" as in "Are you able to speak German?" would require the verb уметь (which basically means, "to know how to").


In which cases is this 'по-' necessary?


What purpose does "по" serve?


Think of the Russian sentence as being more like "Do you speak in German" and the по is the "in".


This is formal "you". Shouldnt it be говоришь?


I use Android speech-to-text to repeat each line to practice pronunciation. Sometimes it gives "по-..." but other times it gives "по ...". I don't hear a difference in how i say it. Do these two sound different from each other?


@JeffGorak - If you're asking whether the hyphen changes the pronunciation, it does not.


Um... ja, ein Bisschen.

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