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  5. Der Verräter Question


Der Verräter Question

In Duolingo stories, part 1 of "Der Verräter" (set 5) uses euch and ihr. Has anyone done that story? There were a few instances that didn't make sense to me. Unfortunately, I didn't write down what the example was.

May 6, 2018



there's this: „Jemand hat gerade versucht, Euch zu töten, Bruder”, sagt Liesel. „Ist alles in Ordnung?!”

The Euch is polite speech to a king... a sort of "the royal we" in the opposite direction. (perhaps it's called the royal you) :)

  • 1619

npLam is right, it is the royal "We" ect. depending on context. The other examples are due to the cases.


The real question is why the king says: „Mir geht es gut”, and: „Aber ich will, dass....”

I'd have expected him to say: "Uns geht es gut" and "Aber wir wollen dass..."

But I'm no expert on King speech, I've only just got the hang of speaking to genies.


Other people have to use the polite forms (pluralis majestatis) when adressing the king. But the king is free to use them or not, at least when talking about hmself. The queen could feel indignant...


ah I see... :)


It appears that the king uses the first person singular (I, me, to me) consistently. In the examples you cite, he says: "Ich sehe, ... Ich muss gehen..." etc.

He only uses the "royal" plural for the second person (you, your, to you). So perhaps it's more a "royal y'all" than a "royal we." :)


So perhaps it's more a "royal y'all" than a "royal we." :)

I love that!


Well I started to think about it and suspected that the language was meant to sound archaic. So I dug a bit and found this in an entry on "Ihr" in en.wiktionary.org:

• The form Ihr (capitalized in writing) was formerly the polite second-person form for both singular and plural (compare French vous and Early Modern English you) and was used instead of contemporary Sie. Such usage still survives dialectally in some areas, and is encountered in historical contexts (e.g. fiction taking place in the distant past), but is otherwise rarely heard in standard German.

It turns out that the king uses "Ihr" as the polite form when he addresses his queen or his sister, but he uses "Sie" when he addresses his servants (the assistant, the cook). And the servants use a form of "Ihr" when they address the king.

For example:

The cook says to the king:
"Ich habe Eurer Assistentin ihr Frühstück gebracht"

And the king replies: "Und haben Sie sie danach noch einmal gesehen?"

So "Ihr" and "Sie" are used respectively as more polite/deferential and less polite/deferential forms of address to give the reader the sense of "days of yore."


JoyceA, thanks for that. Interesting. It's enough to make one a Parliamentarian!


Nichts zu danken! I'm just nerdy enough to find changes in pronominal meaning...um... exciting.


everything JoyceA wrote is correct. But I think you are putting much more thought into the analysis of this text then it's author used when creating it. I argue as a native German speaker, but without any academic background in German studies, according to my feeling for my mothers tongue: As I said earlier, the king is free to use Ich and mir and mich when referring to himself. He cannot be impolite or commit Lèse-majesté to himself. Doing so makes him sound a bit casual or easygoing within this context. "The form Ihr (capitalized in writing) was formerly the polite second-person form" is completely right. But in the epoch when this was in use, the king would not have addressed his cook as "Sie". He would have used either "du" or "er". "Und hast du sie danach noch einmal gesehen?" or "Und hat er sie danach noch einmal gesehen?" The first version sounds to me between benevolent and neutral while the version with "er" sounds a bit uppish (but maybe normal from the king's mouth).


Thanks for expanding on the topic and sharing your insights and instincts as a native speaker.


my thanks also.


and there's: „Liesel, ich muss gehen und mit meiner Frau sprechen. Ich sehe Euch heute Abend beim Abendessen.” Here the you is accusative.

I'll see you this evening...

I'm guessing "the royal you" extends to speaking to princesses.


and there's: Ich bin sehr glücklich, dass Ihr heute Morgen nicht verletzt wurdet. Here the you is nominative.

same thing. i'm very happy that you (royal you) weren't injured this morning. (the wurdet is passive and takes the Ihr form even for one person because it's royalty)


and:Wie geht es Euch, meine Liebe Here the you is dative. He says Euch to his wife instead of dir, or even Ihnen, because she's a queen.

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