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What is the meaning of 'Wie' in 'Wie Bitte?'. Its translation is 'Please?'

What is the meaning of 'Wie' in 'Wie Bitte?'. Its translation is 'Please?'

June 30, 2018



"Wie bitte?" is the German equivalent of "I beg your pardon" in specific situations, namely if you haven't understood something and want it to be repeated. Literally it would translate to "how please?" (so "wie" is "how"), but nobody would say so in English.


Wie Bitte is something you say for example, when you didn't heard what somebody said and you want them to repeat it. I really don't know any english equivalents though.


Yes, the untrustable Google Translate agrees with you! https://translate.google.com/#auto/en/Wie%20bitte%3F


As several people mentioned, the literal translation is "how, please?". In many languages, when you do not understand something and want someone to repeat themselves, instead of "what was that?" or "huh?" as you might say in English, they say "how?" (kind of like "how [did you mean]?" or "how [did you say]?"). It is the same in Hebrew, Arabic - and also German :)


It's really not a good idea to deconstruct phrases like this when you're learning a language. Learn them as a whole phrase. It's just confusing when you take them apart, and you wind up using them improperly.


I disagree. People think in different ways. Synthetic types prefer to learn whole phrases. While analytic types (such as me) need to analyse the sentence and deconstruct it to pieces and find out the meaning of every piece. This is much faster for me, because then I start to deeply understand the language and start to see structures in my head. Then I am able to make very long sentences without being lost in the middle. Most people are synthetic though.


But sometimes it's merely impossible to deconstruct a phrase, simply because the single words within the phrase on their own mean something completely different and then it becomes true what Klgregonis said: It's confusing more than it helps. But of course: Everyone learns a language in a different way, so just go ahead the way you feel is best for you :)

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