If you're at the customs counter at an airport, it's not at all ungrammatical to hear the customs agent ask "are you coming from Germany?"
There are often different ways to say pretty much the same thing, compare for example English “Are you from Germany” and “Are you German”.
In this case, there is a very slight difference: “Kommst du aus Deutschland” can either ask for somebody’s nationality or for the starting point of their journey (this second one is a bit less common unless you also add an adverb of time like gerade “at the moment”).
Insofar as the German sentence can mean either “Is Germany your native country” or “are/were you just on the way from Germany to this place”, yes. I just can’t think of a situation where I would use the English sentence you suggested. But if you’re a native speaker and find it acceptable, then go ahead and report it. Otherwise I would ask for a native speaker to confirm it.
Hope that helps.
Almost. We invert subject and verb, and the subject can consist of multiple words. So for example: “Der Mann kommt aus Deutschland.” (the man is from Germany) becomes: “Kommt der Mann aus Deutschland” because the subject is the whole phrase “der Mann”.
Actually English used to do it the same way (and in a way still does, though often obscured by auxiliaries): “Comest thou from Germany?” So if it helps you, think of the word order being a little bit like Shakespeare speaking :)
Basically yes, although I personally wouldn’t call it “inversion” in German. The pattern is:
(question word) – conjugated verb – subject – (rest)
So the pattern is the same as in English (with the exception that you never add anything like “do”). The reason I don’t particularly like the term “inversion” in German is because the subject can easily come after the verb even in declarative clauses:
“Morgen fahre ich nach Berlin.” (Tomorrow I’ll go to Berlin. Literally: Tomorrow go I to Berlin.)
This is because the conjugated verb always has to come in second position in declarative sentences. So if you pull something to the front (in this case heute “today”), the subject has to move behind the verb, so it can remain in second position.
In English, people sometimes form questions using the same word order as statements, but with a higher tone on the last syllable. So, I think "You come from Germany?" should also be correct.
This is often the word order used when the speaker is surprised or doubtful, written sometimes with !? or ?!. "You come from Germany!?" Frequently, it is a rhetorical question.
Yep, same in German:
- Kommst du aus Deutschland?(Are you from Germany/are you coming from Germany?)
- Du kommst aus Deutschland?! (You’re (coming) from Germany?! [I wouldn’t have guessed!])
So seeing as there is a much closer German equivalent to “You come from Germany”, I don’t think it should be accepted. But I agree that it’s debatable. You could go ahead and report it next time it comes up and see what the moderators think.
kommen is completely regular in the present tense, so you can simply use the endings shown in the lesson notes of the first two units under "Conjugating regular verbs" -- https://www.duolingo.com/skill/de/Basics-1 is for the first unit and https://www.duolingo.com/skill/de/The for the second one.
Please read the lesson notes before you start a new unit -- you'll need to visit the Duolingo website to do so as they're not available in the mobile apps, and you may need to do so from a computer as the website often behaves like the app when viewed on a small screen such as a smartphone's.
English verbs there is only one personal ending: the -s for when the subject is “he/she/it”. But in German each person has one:
- 1st singular: ich komme (I come)
- 2nd singular: du kommst (you (one person) come)
- 3rd singular: er/sie/es kommt (he/she/it comes)
- 1st plural: wir kommen (we come)
- 2nd plural: ihr kommt (you (several people) come)
- 3rd plural: sie kommen (they come)
The form for 1st and 2nd person plural (wir and sie) is almost always the same (the only counterexample I can think of is sein (to be) which is more irregular than other verbs in most languages). The forms for 3rd singular (er/sie/es) und 2nd plural (ihr) also is the same in present tense for a lot of verbs but far from all of them (and in past tense the two are always different), so I suggest you think of them as separate.
That originally meant something like "land of the people".
"Dutch" comes from the same origin as "Deutsch" (Gulliver's Travels still refers to "Low Dutch" (in the Netherlands) versus "High Dutch" (in Germany)).
Because that's not question word order in English -- it's statement word order just with a question mark at the end.
Statement word order with question intonation is usually used to signal surprise and to request confirmation that you heard correctly.
A neutral question, one asking for information, would be "Do you come from Germany?" with helping verb "do" first.
The German literally asks, "Do you come from Germany?"
But the more common way to ask this in English is probably "Are you from Germany?"
This is a case where the translation is not literal (word by word), but rather translates an entire expression to the culturally equivalent expression in the other language without regard to whether any individual part matches.
No - that's not the basic way to ask such a question in standard English. It should be "Do you come from Germany?" with do-support.
Using statement word order with a question intonation is special: it's used to request confirmation that you correctly heard something surprising, rather than asking for information in general.
It depends on the subject. It’s basically the same thing as the English rule that you have to add “-s” if the subject is a “he/she/it”, only in German there is an ending for every grammatical person:
- ich komm-e
- du komm-st
- er/sie/es komm-t
- wir komm-en
- ihr komm-t
- sie komm-en
People DO speak that way. It's the most prevalent way of asking where someone is from. "You from Germany?" could sound rude or harsh or just too informal.
The general rule is that statements have the verb in the second position, while yes/no questions have the verb in the first position (usually followed by the subject).
Your rule ("switching") only works if the subject is in the first position of the statement -- which is the default and most common word order, but not the only possibility.
If something else comes first, such as an adverb or an expression of time or an object, then your rule doesn't work.
For example: Heute lese ich ein Buch. "Today, I am reading a book." -- the question is not Heute ich lese ein Buch? but rather Lese ich heute ein Buch? "Am I reading a book today?".
It depends on the subject. Remember how in English you have to add an ending -(e)s whenever the subject is a third person (“he/she/it”)? In German all grammatical persons have their corresponding endings. So for instance komme goes with ich and kommst goes with du. For more detailed information please refer to more complete tables (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_conjugation for example).