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  5. "Arbeitet ihr in Berlin?"

"Arbeitet ihr in Berlin?"

Translation:Do you work in Berlin?

March 23, 2017

20 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JMBarrett52

I thought a capitalized "Ihr" meant you and a lower case "ihr" meant she.


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

No, that's not right.

ihr is one of the trickier words in German, and to understand what it means, you have to look at the case that it's in and whether it's before a noun or not.


(1) Nominative case:

(1.1) standing alone:

  • "you (informal plural)": Hans und David, wo seid ihr? "Hans and David, where are you?"
  • This one may optionally be capitalised in letters to show respect.
  • But not on Duo, because you aren't writing letters here.

(1.2) before a noun:

  • A possessive determiner for a masculine or neuter singular noun.

(1.2.1) lowercase:

  • "her": Julia ist weg aber ihr Teller ist noch da. "Julia is gone but her plate is still here."
  • "their": Hans und David sind weg aber ihr Teller ist noch da. "Hans and David are gone but their plate is still here." (i.e. the one plate that belongs to both of them together)

(1.2.2) uppercase:

  • "your" (something belong to one or more people that you address formally): Herr Müller, Ihr Teller ist noch da.. "Mr Müller, your plate is still there." / Frau Müller und Frau Schulze, Ihr Teller ist noch da. "Ms Müller and Ms Schulze, your plate is still there."

(2) Dative case:

(2.1) standing alone:

  • "(to) her": Ich gebe ihr ein Buch "I give her a book"

(2.2) before a noun:

  • (this does not happen)

(3) Accusative case

(3.1) standing alone

  • (this does not happen)

(3.2) before a noun:

  • A possessive determiner for a neuter singular noun.

(3.2.1) lowercase:

  • "her": Julia hat ihr Buch vergessen. "Julia has forgotten her book."
  • "their": Hans und David haben ihr Buch vergessen. "Hans and David have forgotten their book."

(3.2.2) uppercase:

  • "your" (something belong to one or more people that you address formally): Herr Müller, Sie haben Ihr Buch vergessen. "Mr Müller, you have forgotten your book." // Herr Müller und Frau Schulze, Sie haben Ihr Buch vergessen. "Mr Müller and Ms Schulze, you have forgotten your book."

Capitalised Ihr never means "you" on Duo. Lowercase ihr can mean all sorts of things on Duo, but (nearly?) never "she".

The many meanings of ihr is tied to the many meanings of sie (she; they; (capitalised:) you).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BillCarson4

@Philip: Fantastic response!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Naz594800

But the translation is "Do you work in Berlin?" ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nate896107

So in German, you can use the informal form of second person address, but then also capitalize the word to show respect? Seems like a contradiction, like they would just cancel each other out.


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

Eh?

No -- it's just that the possessive determiner corresponding to the polite pronoun Sie (i.e. Ihr, Ihre etc. depending on gender, number, and case of the noun) happens to look like the nominative of the informal second person plural personal pronoun (i.e. ihr) except for capitalisation.

It's not that we use informal "you" as a possessive, any more than in English we would say "you book".


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

er/ihr sound almost exactly alike with these narrators. Since there's no other context to differentiate in this example, this turn out to be more of a hearing test that a language exercise. Might I suggest using a different subject than you/he in these types of exercises? TYIA.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sea-mist

er sounds more like air.. and ihr sounds more like ear.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Clifford896649

Enunciate, Duo! Ihr sounds like dir.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hsl183

Why isn't it "Does she work in Berlin"?


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

Because ihr as a subject means "you" (referring to more than one person whom you know well).

"she" as a subject would be sie.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David750721

Why is it arbeitet and not arbeiten?


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

Why is it arbeitet and not arbeiten?

Because the subject is ihr. ihr takes verbs that end in -t.

-en would be for a subject of wir (we) or sie (they).


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

I have trouble with the names of cities and countries. Some of them seem to have 'der/das/die' in front of them and some don't.


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

I don't think any city names have der/die/das in front of them.

Nor do I think that there are countries that have das in front of them.

But countries whose names are grammatically masculine, feminine, or plural require the article: der Irak, die Schweiz, die Niederlande.

(English also has this with plurals -- it has to be "the United States, the Netherlands, the Philippines".)


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

Ihr works as plural formal as well or Sie is used for both singular and plural??


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

Sie is used for both singular and plural?

That's right.

ihr used to be the formal pronoun, but it hasn't been used like that for centuries -- you might come across it in historical dramas or the like, but in modern German, ihr is only informal (and plural).

Sie is the formal pronoun for both one person or multiple people.


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

If you don't know folk well enough to know where they work, is the informal you plural appropriate?


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

If you don't know folk well enough to know where they work, is the informal you plural appropriate?

It can be. Especially amoung young people in their 20s, it's common to transition to du/ihr fairly quickly after meeting them.

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