"Кто может написать это слово по-немецки?"
Translation:Who can write this word in German?
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my russian roommates told me that you absolutely have to say написать here, that писать plainly doesn't work. I'm guessing though, that the purpose of написать is to show that it's just like, one word, and you're writing it down once, and that's it. using писать would be like saying "who can be writing this word?" or something among those matters.
really just came across to this conclusion by comparing it to говорить and сказать. I dunno if говорить doesn't work here at all, but if you compare it to english, you don't speak a word, you say a word. even though (according to the mates) you wouldn't say он говорит слово but он выговорит слово, if I understood right.
You use the perfective (написать) here instead of the imperfective (писать) because you are completing a specified action; i.e., writing this word in German, rather than just writing in general. Я пишу = I write (in general), or I'm writing (at this moment). Я напишу новый роман моим уважаемым читательям = I'm writing a new novel for my esteemed readers.
They have different aspects; verbal aspect in Slavic languages is a complicated topic.
Long story short, perfective verbs are used for single specific actions whereas imperfective verbs are used for everything else (ongoing, repeated, habitual actions or the name of the action in general).
In this particular sentence, it is the presence of "this word" that maked написать the natural choice (the speaker has a specific act in mind, with a word succesfully written as a result). On the other hand, in a sentence like "Who can write novels?" either could appear depending on what you mean.
This word = Это слово (meaning that the word is close to the speaker and the person he speaks to, for example, it is written on the blackboard or a person can read it in the book in his hands)
That word = То слово (meaning the word can be seen on a sign or something in a distance)
As a native Russian speaker I wouldn't recommend to translate this case as "THAT word".