In the majority of contexts, "Where does he swim?" refers to the location or body of water in which someone swims. "Where does he swim to" speaks of destination. However, if I was standing on the shore with a friend, watching a girl swim out into the middle of the lake, and my friend asked, "Where does she swim?" I would intuitively know he must be asking where is she swimming to, since it would be obvious she is in the lake and I would say, "To the other side" or "To a boat in the middle". Still, it would be better to ask, "Where is she swimming to?"
The question "where does he swim" only sound correct in English if you are asking about where someone swims on a regular basis. In English, you've got to use the word "to" somewhere in there "to where does he swim, drive, go" or "where does he swim/drive/go to" if you want to sound like a natural native speaker, for those of you perfecting your English.
“Doth.” “Dost” is the “thou” form ;)
Although I believe back then you wouldn’t actually have needed do-support. You probably could add it the same way you can say “he did swim” today – to stress the verb – but normally people would probably have said: Whither swimmeth he?
To me your translation would imply 'location' in English. "Where does he swim"? --> "He swims at the lake/pool/river/etc." I think I would use "wo" in this case.
I would interpret "wohin" as 'direction'. "Where is he swimming to?" --> "He is swimming to the dock/boat/the shore/etc."
The difference is subtle but I think it's there. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
Yes, in English it can, but that is because we allow it. Properly English requires a preposition before the question word to distinguish the request for destination (to where) vs. "at which location" (where). Someone could technically ask. "Where do you swim" and one is asking at which location, where as (as discussed) "To where do you swim" indicates one asks for a destination.
I’m pretty sure this is one of those weird rules that exist only for one reason: It isn’t allowed in Latin, so it shouldn’t be in our language either (not splitting infinitives is another of these). A preposition at the end is definitely permitted in English; it’s just not regarded as very elegant style because of that odd rule. Also, if it is left out the sentence becomes ambiguous: “Where is he swimming” can mean either the same as above, or it could mean “at what place is he swimming” (i.e. asking for a position rather than a direction, and this interpretation is not possible with German wohin). Nevertheless, “where is he swimming” should definitely be accepted as an answer.
That rule -- never end a sentence a preposition -- is now considered an outdated and inappropriate attempt to force English to conform to Latin. (I first heard it was wrong at the same time I learned it ever existed... sometime in mid 1970s. So this is one of those lies with long legs.)
so, in the tips & notes it says that you can both pied-pipe the preposition: ‘Wohin schwimmt er?’ and leave it in-situ: ‘Wo schwimmt er hin?’ Is ‘Wohin schwimmt er?’ considered formal/prescriptive (like the English ‘To where is he swimming?’ while ‘Wo schwimmt er hin?’ would be more informal (like the English ‘Where is he swimming to?’ ? or are they both accepted in both formal/prescriptive and casual situations?
It has nothing to do with formality. Wo is asking about a location where something happens, whereas wohin is asking for a destination. So if you’re asking Wo schwimmt er, possible answers could be im See “in the lake” or im Schwimmbad “at the swimming pool”. If you’re asking Wohin schwimmt er, possible answers would be zur Insel “to the island” or ans andere Ufer “to the other side”.
If you’re asking about the destination, the -hin is obligatory.
This will probably become more clear when we learn hin vs her. Wohin is a contraction of where and forth (basically). The hin relates to motion or direction away from the speaker. So for now, in our beginning stages of German, it might be easier to ask yourself if you want to know where something is (Wo) or where it's going (Wohin).
Ihr should sound more like "ear" and Er should sound more like "air". www.forvo.com is a great website for hearing native speakers saying different words. I've posted links below where you can hear Ihr and Er.
Now, this might not be as distinguishable when said by a computerized voice, and as a result you're might still find yourself losing some hearts.
Splodgeit03 has the right of it. I scrolled down before echoing the answer, but the distinction would be made in English by the use of "is". "Where does she swim?" would mean what location does shw swim usually. "Where is she swimming?" would very clearly inquire her destination.
“Where did he swim to” would need the verb “to swim” to be in past tense, just like you do in the normal positive clause in English: “He swam to the island” (in the question the past tense is transferred to the auxiliary “do” in English, but in German we don’t have that, so the past tense stays on the main verb): Wohin schwamm er? Or actually, because simple past tense is very rare in colloquial German, what you more likely get is perfect tense: Wohin ist er geschwommen? (literally “where to is he swum”)
As you can see, just like English “to swim”, German schwimmen is irregular and changes its stem vowel in the past and participle forms.