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"Können Sie bitte langsamer sprechen?"

Translation:Can you please speak more slowly?

January 15, 2017

23 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Milosh666

Isn't it "Can you please speak slower?" as well?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Raisinnoir

IMO you are right. "Can you please speak slower" indicates the person is speaking at too rapid a pace for you understand them. "langsamer" literally translated is "slower"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/az_p

langsamer literally translated is also "more slowly", since German doesn't modify adjectives like English does when using them as adverbs.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Raisinnoir

Yes, you are right. But a native English speaker would probably use "slower" since "more slowly" COULD, but not necessarily, be taken as an implied criticism. It's really six of one, half dozen of the other. Sometimes when I'm watching TV, a person will speak so fast that I'm tempted to say "speak more slowly; I can't understand what you're saying!"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Milosh666

Literally, it is langsam, langsamer = slow, slower. Making a comparative as "more/less + adjective/adverb" is possible in English, but not in German - it's gramatically incorrect. For that reason is always recommended to avoid translating German comparatives to English that way, because it may distort the meaning of whole sentence. That is exactly the problem in this case:

1) "Can you please speak slowly?" - OK in meaning, but missing a German comparative.

2) "Can you please speak MORE slowly?" - translates a comparative, but confuses the meaning: it's like the person already speaks slowly and is asked to speak at even slower pace.

3) "Can you please speak slower?" - is middle of the road thing: translates a comparative and does not distort the original meaning, although comes as somehow shady (but not incorrect?) with English grammar as slower is rather seen as an adjective than an adverb.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/az_p

It doesn't sound great to me... "slowly" is an adverb, but "slower" is usually used as an adjective. To describe an action (e.g. how someone speaks), you need an adverb. However, Merriam Webster dictionary mentions that there's a contentious history of "slow/slower" being used as an adverb - so perhaps it should be accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/john503633

Slower should definitely be accepted. It's extremely common in colloquial English and "more slowly" sounds too formal


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zirkul

That is incorrect. English adjectives and adverbs tend to have the same comparative degrees:
He is good, but I am better. Sleep well and feel better.
I walk slowly but he walks even slower.
https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/slow_2 - this entry is specifically for "slow" as an adverb.

While "more slowly" is indeed acceptable in this context, it should not be the only version acceptable here (it is now).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Milosh666

Yes, but German doesn't have a variation that separates adjective (slow) from adverb (slowly). Langsam is both the adjective and the adverb. The issue here is that langsamER is a comparative form of either adjective or the adverb.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/az_p

In this German sentence, langsamer is an adverb, not an adjective. Yes, langsamer is also an adjective, but not in this sentence.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JTTeske

"Can you please speak slower" is the common way of saying that in the midwest US. I don't care that much about what Merriam Webster says if my translation is the exact phrase that would be used by 99% of the people in the US.

It seems like there are multiple people at Duo deciding what is an allowable correct answer for both English to German and German to English, but they don't apply the same criteria. Sometimes a colloquial phrase is allowed but other times it's a strict grammatically correct translation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JTTeske

Just now in a different exercise I accidentally answered "...speak slower" and it was allowed! It said another answer is "... speak more slowly".

That change should be made with this exercise too.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/capnsol

That is colloquial English, but it's technically incorrect because "slower" isn't an adverb.


[deactivated user]

    My thoughts exactly when I was on a flight to Munich 2 months ago. The German pilot spoke so freaking fast on the intercom.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wsiev13

    more slowly is not a good English translation. The only people who speak English that would say More Slowly would be a child or someone who does not speak English very well. The correct English translation would be: Can you please speak slower? I see this has been stated below and again DUO refuses to listen to native English speakers.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChristineH580245

    what is wrong with "please can you speak more slowly?"


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/2GreyCats

    Absolutely nothing. It’s perfectly fine. Have a Lingot.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Richard168526

    If the "r" in German is silent, how can duo expect to ask us to write what we hear? Can anyone answer who has no previous study experience?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/2GreyCats

    Which “r” in the sentence are you referring to?

    Because German “r” is not silent… it’s not an English R, but it definitely is pronounced.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DickRoan1

    I can usually hear the "r" in the stories. But almost never in the lessons. It has to be the quality oh the speaker. I lived in Kassel 3 years and never had this problem.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/2GreyCats

    Hmmm. Well, there is no human “speaker” involved here— except for Gaelic and Latin and, I think, Navajo/Diné, Duolingo uses TTS software to produce the material we are listening to.

    So it may just be that the local people in and around Kassel (lovely town!) used a regional pronunciation that you’re now attuned to, which may sound different from the “accent” or pronunciation employed by the TTS.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pur__0_0__

    I answered this question by making the voice slow.

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