To say something "I am the Hans" in some languages would imply Hans is known, but not in person. One would say "I am the Hans from accounting, we've not met before but you'read my reports." Is this implication necessary in German, too?
That would be how you would use it formal language, yes, as in English.
But in informal language, especially in certain regions, the article is used with people's names even without such an implication.
I should probably not have mentioned it, but having said it, it's probably best to prepare to recognise that usage from native speakers ("Ich bin der Hans. Kennst du die Hannah? Weißt du, ob der Paul mitkommt? Ich muss das noch der Steffi sagen.") but not use it yourself until you're fluent enough to pick it up naturally and recognise when it's appropriate to use it. It is pretty informal, at least in my experience.
When introducing yourself in German with (for example) an American name, is it best to pronounce it the way you would in American English or the way a native German likely would?
It would be best to pronounce it the way you pronounce it. Although, some people, such as me, get obsessed with the language they are learning. My name is really spelled 'Nolah Leick' but I have gotten so obsessed with German I now spell it 'Nölah Leich'. It is really a matter of whatever you feel comfortable with.
I think it would be an awesome desktop feature if we could just toggle the options via the keyboard by typing the first letter of the next word or by using the arrow keys. It would be so much faster!
Is it ok to change the ch in Ich to a sh sound when in a sentence?
No. Kirche "church" and Kirsche "cherry" are two completely different words, for example.
Some people in Germany do speak like that (turning the Ich-Laut into a "sh" sound), but it's a regional accent and is not standard pronunciation.
The translation means "I am Hans", but in the notes, where there is "no continuous aspect"-- does that rule apply only to verbs?
Ex: In German, there's no continuous aspect, i.e. there are no separate forms for "I drink," and "I am drinking,." There is only one form: "Ich trinke." ("Ich bin trinke" and "Ich bin trinken" don't exist)
When is the irregular verb "Sein" (to be) supposed to be used, then?
sein is used, among other things,
- to say that one thing is the same thing as something else (Ich bin Hans = I am Hans)
- to describe the role that someone has (Mein Vater ist Arzt = My father is a doctor)
- to describe an object as being part of a larger group (Katzen sind Tiere = Cats are animals)
- to describe an object with an adjective (Wir sind müde = we are tired)
It's also used as an auxiliary verb (helping verb) to form the present perfect and pluperfect of some verbs (Er ist schon nach Hause gegangen = He has gone home already; literally: He is already to home gone).
In English, the continuous aspect is formed by "to be [verb]ing", where you conjugate the verb "to be". "I am Hans" is not in the continuous aspect. That would be "I am being Hans", which I'm sure sounds strange to you.
In the sentence "I am Hans", the verb "to be" is a copula, it links the two pieces together (couples them) to say that they're the same thing: "I and Hans are the same person".
Let me just say how much people love Frozen those Disney morons decided to make Frozen 2 like do they even know how much I hate Frozen and the song "Let it go" I thought Elsa would let her life go as if she would DIE IN A FIRE.
I know it's unusual. It's an out of fashion tradition that's treated as archaic of late. But it's a fair move! I should get extra credit. Let's not forget Georg III!
Different words (see mizinamo's answer), but both can (almost) equally be used to introduce yourself.
No, it's Hans. "Hans" and "John" may be etymologically related, but if a German named Hans came to your country, you would not call him John.
I would. Just the same as if I were in It'ly, they'd call me Giacomo. Guess there's two schools of thought on that.
Um, you can't just call someone something other than their actual name (unless they've specifically told you to call them that). "John" doesn't sound like "Hans," so Hans will have no idea why you're calling him that, or maybe no idea who you're even talking to.
I highly doubt most people in Italy would call you something other than your English name (or a slight modification, if they can't pronounce it) unless you've specifically told them to. Most people aren't aware of etymological name equivalents anyway, so I doubt many would even think of "Giacomo" in the first place.
perhaps you haven't been to it'ly. they've quite found of dropping the "h" off my name. let me explain to you how it will happen, ala max von sydow in three days of the condor, sooner or later your friend'll think he's funny and think he has the liberty to call me jimbo. that's when i strike......BAMB! with the johnny!! don't like being called johnny, where do you get off calling me jimbo?! if you don't know your name variations don't come crying to me when hans starts bullying you!
ich = I
heißen is a verb meaning something like "to have the name ...; to be called ...", so ich heiße Hans could be translated as "my name is Hans; I am called Hans; I have the name Hans". The ich means "I" and the heiße is the verb form that matches it, the "am called" or "have the name" part.