"Please have a seat."
Translation:Bitte setz dich doch.
Have a look at this: http://duolingo.com/#/comment/122572
Doch is a modal particle which are really hard to translate and can have many different meanings, many of them being subjective or bound to someone's perception. In this case it gives the sentence a mandatory-like twist, yet emphasises a friendly tone. Sort of 'Sit down!' with a friendly, warm smile.
Thank you. I'm also pondering your longer explanation. I think I have the general idea, though I also suspect these are words I should avoid using myself until I really, really get it. Oder?
I think there are some minor and common words you might consider using if you actually spoke or wrote German. Overall, you will only learn them by context, in my humble opinion. But those I explained more in-depth should be easy to master, when you just heard or read them often enough. They are common enough for that, I guess, and their meaning seldom varies. Others are harder and mostly depend on the actual speaker, how they intone or stress those words in which context, subtext and modulation. Okay, I'm making it sound like magic now. You're a hard worker and I'm sure you will make it. A simple example: 'überhaupt', which is on the linked list, can be used cynically or sarcastically and express real surprise at the same time: Damit hätte ich ja überhaupt nicht gerechnet. - I didn't expect that at all. In English, one would probably distinguish the meaning ont he basis of the emphasis. In German, you have this additional helper. This doesn't prevent confusing, anyway. Sometimes you would be asked: What, are you serious now or just fooling around? And I think that's known in just any language. You get the idea.
Thanks. I think I do get the idea. Probably any language has such words; a native speaker doesn't think about them until called to account for them. English is loaded with them too. Some of them are overused; parents get annoyed at their teenagers for using them too often; voice coaches alert students to their unthinking use of them. So I'm wondering, does that happen among German speakers too, or is it a peculiarly U.S. thing?
That really depends on what kind of words you are talking about it. Is it those special youth-related expressions like overusing 'whatever', 'yolo' or 'bro'? Those exist in German, too, and they change every few years. 'geil' and 'Alter' were some of them in my youth. But words that make voice coaches cringe? I'm not sure about that. There are some trends that make me cringe. Like 'In 2012 haben wir unseren Umsatz gesteigert'. 'In 2012' isn't german but english. Here, you should only say '2012 haben...'. That's as much as I can tell you with certainty. Maybe christian (http://duolingo.com/#/christian) knows more on this end, according to his profile he's into linguistics.
On further thought, I think these are two categories of words in English, too, though there may be some overlap in English. I was thinking of people tossing in words that are not quite literally used--such as "like" ("That is like, so awful") or "say" when it's not simply a verb ("Say, do you know where the food is?"), but when I reached for more examples the analogy didn't hold. Some are slang; some are really vocalized pauses ("um," "eh"); some may be modal particles that a person uses too often--and it's that category, perfectly good words that are often overused, especially--as you point out--in youth culture, that I was thinking about. But I think I leaped too fast to the connection I suggested earlier. Thanks for the clarification.
Thank you. I started looking for more information on modal particles in English, and it looks like my first mistake was to assume that English also had modal particles. Hah! Turns out that no, it doesn't. Or probably not. Or in any case they're so rare and/or devious that one probably wouldn't catch them at it. Guess I'll take this one from the top. (Is there a parallel idiom in German for "take it from the top," as in "the top of the page/script"?)
I somehow have in my mind the phrase "Nehmen Sie Platz, bitte." but it was not accepted. Should this be accepted, or I remembered something wrong?
Is it common to use bitte and doch in the same sentence? Here, by using both, one would be trying to express polite firmness?