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"Sprichst du Deutsch?"

Translation:Do you speak German?

July 24, 2014

126 Comments


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

It would be best to teach "Sprechen Sie Deutsch" because that's the form you would actually use when inquiring on some random person's ability with German.


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

I agree with what you're saying, but you may be asking a friends child. Then the informal would be okay.


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

Yes but it should teach both forms early in the tree and put less emphasis on the Du forms almost exclusively throughout most of the lessons


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gwyn819591

Can we say 'du sprichst Deutsch?'


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

Only if you heard something surprising and you want to make sure that you heard correctly.

Much like "You speak German??!" in English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alexandre146678

Not as an interrogation question, but as a statement.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alexandre146678

Yes, you can say in German ( Du sprichst Deutsch)


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

Well, it depends on who you who ask...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DavidLandr12

Thanks for the reminder, i was still a child when i started hearing less of german, and more of english language.


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

That feel when you forget the Do.


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

Why forget?

"You speak German?" and "Do you speak German?" have the same meaning. In casual conversation I would never use "Do" unless it's tied to a negation "Do not", but normally I'd still use "don't".

I hardly ever use "Do". Maybe it's the part of the UK I am from?


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

Duolingo marks it as incorrect if you leave the "do" out though


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

I think DuoLingo is trying to teach you correct German rather than colloquial German.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ui4uYgXs

"You speak German?" and "Do you speak German?" are most certainly not equivalent in English. If you are trying to elicit whether or not someone speaks X, you ask "Do you speak X?" If perhaps you just found out someone speaks X, and you are surprised, you might reply "You speak X?" (Here, the "do" would be inappropriate.) If you are just trying to find out whether, say, someone speaks English and you ask "You speak English?" you are going to sound like someone speaking broken English to native speakers.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/res5468

Are you a native speaker? Because "you speak english" is definitely a way to ask someone if they speak english. Its rather informal and technically incorrect, but would be readily understood assuming the inflection is correct.


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

Too informal for this course.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WilliamAld10

Why is du after sprichst?


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

In German, as in English, you have to invert the order of the words to formulate a question. Unlike the English, in German there are no auxiliary verbs for every tense as in English. That is why the conjugated verb is in front of the subject.

You speak German - Du sprichst Deutsch

Do you speak German? - Sprichst du Deutsch?

Also in other times as simple past.

He ate here - Er aß hier

Did he eat here? - er hier?

The wird order may be a little tricky if you are not a native English speaker, try your best in learning as it is, and not comparing it to another languages.

Have a nice day :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hakim747

When the verb comes before the noun, it is a question. Can I conclude it as like this?


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

Not necessarily, down in the three you will find sentences where the word order is modified, because there is a rule that verb comes in second position, so you may find things like "Morgen essen wir auf dem Bett = Tomorrow we eat on the bed. You don't have to worry for it now, you'll learn them step by step. About your question, in this moment you can say that the sentence it is a question if there is a "?" sign or if the voice of the audio is raised at the end. The verb before the noun is a clue, but it not always indicates a question.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hakim747

In Ordnung. Vielen Danke. It is really helpful. :)


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

Wrong: "Vielen Danke." Right: "Vielen Dank."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hakim747

Okay. Thank you very much Kruvek. ^_^


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lgriffith89

so that's why i got it wrong


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/James919001

Do you speak german? vs You do speak German.

I feel the first example you give would be clearer if it included the do, as that is the word that changes order (even if do isnt normally said in the second one)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alexandre146678

The difference is in the questioning and affirmation of a question


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

Danke für deine Hilfe Marduksky. Ich kann ein bisschen Deutsch sprechen und du? Ich möchte ein Partner zu sprechen.


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

Its how things are worded in other languages. The Du stands for "you". Example (sorry bad spanish) : Yo hice la tarea, ayer. This translates to "Yesterday i did my homework" even though each word explained: Yo hice = I did, la tarea = the homework, ayer = yesterday.

Simply, some sentences can be said both ways. Sprichst du Deutsch is said "Can you speak german" or "Do you speak german". Its like asking in english "Do you speak English" or "You can speak English?". They both mean the same thing but it appears different to someone foreign.

Im sorry if my examples were bad, im sort of tired and my English, while better than german and spanish, sucks compared to my native.


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

Its kind of like spanish...but honestly idek why and i took spanish for years


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/judea95

So why isn't "You speak German?" correct? Because that's what I would say. It still means the same thing and makes sense


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MercedesNu5

I'm not entirely sure but that's more slang-ish so maybe that's why? If not then report it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ploughman82

If you think about it in English (don't know if you're a native speaker or not) "Do you speak German?" and "You speak German?" do technically mean the same thing, but they express two different moods/ideas. The former--"Do you speak German?"--is a simple question. But if you use the latter--"You speak German?"--that would suggest you were surprised to discover that the person speaks German.


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

As stated previously, "You speak german" is slang in a sense. You wouldnt ask someone "du sprichst deutsch?" Or ask someone in Spanish "Tú habla?".

You, however, will learn some german slang if you visit for awhile and have some conversations


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

In Spanish, the only differences are usually the question marks, or intonation.
Hablas alemán = You speak German.
¿Hablas alemán? = Do you speak German?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cp113406

Just like in American Sign Language, it's "SPEAK-YOU GERMAN?" instead of "YOU SPEAK GERMAN" however, this is probably due to ASL being very French.


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

To me it seems like old english. Speaketh you german. Sprichst du Deutsch.


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

The correct King James English would be "Speakest thou German", which is even closer: -st ending for second person singular verb, and "thou" / "du" which are related through regular sound change.

(That's still early Modern English, of the Shakespeare or King James Bible era -- Old English would be a bit different still.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lynne852301

I just like that you know that! I had to memorize some Old English once, (Chaucer) so i totally agree it's different!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Melody746408

Speak you German? Sounds very old English or Shakespearian, but will be marked wrong.


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

Why do you use sprichts in sprichst du Deutsch mean, "Do you speak German?" but use sprechen in sprechen Sie Deutsch, meaning the same thing, just formal? Maybe I just need to learn to conjugate verbs better.


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

Yes, "Sprichst du Deutsch" is informal, and "Sprechen Sie Deutsch" is formal. Normally, you ask the latter, as you generally only use "du" with friends or people you know, and you probably already know if your friends and family can speak German or not.


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

Whats the diffrence from can you speak german and do you speak german?!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alin92491

Well, maybe i can speak german but i dont want to


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PuppyChow3

Uh, NO, we do not speak German, if we did we wouldn't be here to LEARN German, duh!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JustinKim0

Is this an irregular verb due to the changing of the "e" to an "i" in some forms of the conjugation?


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

Yes, I suppose so. There are a number of verbs which change "e" to "i" or "ie", and this is one of them.

  • ich spreche
  • du sprichst
  • er, sie, es spricht
  • wir sprechen
  • ihr sprecht
  • sie, Sie sprechen

The changes are only in the du and er, sie, es forms. Similarly with sehen (du siehst) (see), lesen (du liest) "read", or geben (du gibst) (give), for example.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PinkASH585

where does the 'do' from 'do' you speak German come in?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lisa4duolingo

Don't know if you are still learning German, PinkASH585, but if you are (or for others who have the same question), I've copied and pasted an answer that I wrote in response to someone who asked a similar question in another lesson. I changed it up a bit to fit this lesson prompt here:

English sentences are constructed with what is called an "auxiliary" verb. The sentence

"Do you speak German?"

is an example of it. English has three main auxiliary verbs -- have, be, and do. They can be used to show tense, indicate passive voice, form a negative sentence, or, as in this case here, help formulate a question.

I highly recommend a book titled, "English Grammar for Students of English" by Cecile Zorach, but any type of book on this subject should be very helpful to any beginning student of German. If you do not want to buy the book and your library doesn't have a copy of something similar, you can also explore the web.

For more on this particular topic, the site at the link below will take you to a pretty good page on it.

Auxiliary Verbs "Be," "Do," "Have"

I realize you are here to learn German, but the more you know and understand your own language, the easier learning other languages will be. (Plus, this might be good for any doing the reverse course.)

Hope that was helpful.


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

In English, nearly all verbs need "do" in order to form a negative or question sentence - that's just a grammar rule of English.

So when translating from German (which doesn't have this rule), you have to add it to make a proper English sentence.


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

It doesn't. Like there is no -ing in German as in English, there isn't a word for ours as in "they are coming" it's just "Sie kommen" if that makes sense lmao.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sallad2

Sprechen Means speak sprache Means language


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/esgerman12

language = Sprache. Nouns are capitalized in German.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nikkimorto2

The one thing i learned from my grandparents who grew up in Germany was to ask sprechen sie deutsch? So this threw ne off a bit learning this way


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

"Sprechen Sie deutsch?" would be the polite/formal version :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/joshy485

Which is the more casual form of saying it, sprechen sie Deutsch or Sprichst du Deutsch?


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

"Sprichst du Deutsch?" is informal.

"Sprechen Sie Deutsch?" is formal. (Note capital "S" for politeness -- that word is always capitalised when it refers to formal "you", as are derivative forms such as "Ihr" (your), "Ihnen" (to you) etc.)

There is also "Sprecht ihr Deutsch?" which is informal but used towards several people -- "Do y'all/you guys speak German?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jerry774566

how do you even pronounce sprichst?


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

I find "sprichst" to be a really tough word to pronounce...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ShreerangV1

Sprichst. I need help pronouncing that word! That word is killing my tongue cells, whatever they might be called.


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

Phonetically for an English speaker something like sprisht works.


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

How do I pronounce this?


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

So in German, do you not have a word that means "do" when asking a question?


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

No, you don't need a helping word to ask a question in German.

So like English "Are you happy? Will we be late? Must he go now? Can they help me?" etc. where questions are just formed by word order -- German does this for every verb.

There's no need to say "Do you be happy? Do we will be late? Does he must go now? Do they can help me?" And any attempt to do so in German would sound just as wrong as those examples :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jerry774566

if the verb is supposed to be in the second place, and "you" is a pronoun, and "speak" is a verb. Why is it sprichst du deutsch?

sorry, im just confused


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

"verb second" is true for statements and WH questions.

Commands and yes–no questions start with the verb.

This is a yes–no question, so it starts with the verb sprichst.

(Compare English: "You are happy." - statement, verb second; "Are you happy?" - yes–no question, verb first; "Why are you happy?" - WH question, verb second; "Be happy!" - command, verb first.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jerry774566

Thank you so much! this helps a lot


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jeremyarno4

Why is it of sprichst du destsch instead of du sprichst deustch?


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

Because it's a yes–no question, not a statement.

Statements have the verb in the second position, yes–question in the first position.

Compare English: "You are reading a book." (statement) / "Are you reading a book?" (yes–no question)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nita355185

I still confused why the meaning isnt "are you speaking german?


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

That's also a possible translation.


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

what is the format of making a german question?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Daniel3585

The verb always comes first when it is a question. It always comes second if it’s a statement.


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

The verb always comes first when it is a question. It always comes second if it’s a statement.

The verb always comes first in a yes–no question.

It comes second in a WH question (one that starts with question word or phrase such as "how many ..., who, what, why, how, in which way, etc.).

For example:

  • Sprichst du Deutsch? "Do you speak German?" (yes-no question: verb first)
  • Warum sprichst du Deutsch? "Why do you speak German?" (WH question: verb second)

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jeremy591179

This helps alot after figuring it out.

Wir/We - -en (kommen) Er/he/Sie/She - -t (kommt) I/ich - -e (komme) Du/you - -st (Sprichst)

Each way depending on the statement: we, i, you dependa on the ending statement no matter the word. Hope this you all better.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Melinda11881

You speak german? Should be an accepted response


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

It is not accepted as standard written English on this course, where questions asked in statement word order are considered surprise/confirmation questions (where you heard something surprising and want to confirm that you heard correctly: "Really? You speak English?"). German also uses statement word order for this kind of question: Wirklich? Du sprichst Englisch?

For neutral questions, German uses verb-first word order, and so does standard written English -- though in this case, the verb at the beginning is almost always the helping verb do which is used in questions and negative sentences.

Thus we expect "Do you speak German?".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Elena.Tr

what about Spricht ihr Deutsch? I am conufsed about sie, so far I don't remember learning it as a formal form of You...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Elena.Tr

ok Got the answer:

Singular - Familiar Sprichst du Deutsch? Du sprichst Deutsch.

Plural - Familiar Sprecht ihr Deutsch? Ihr sprecht Deutsch.

Sing. & Pl. - Formal Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Sie sprechen Deutsch.


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

Should we be learning sounds of vowels and consenants? It would help with learning new words


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

So what's the difference between the different forms of speak? Like, I know ones "Speaking" but it doesn't make sense to me, Entschuldigung


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

What about "Does she speak German?" Would that be "Sprichst sie Deutch?" or "Sprechen sie Deutch"?


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

“Spricht sie Deutsch?”

“Sprechen sie Deutsch” would be “do they speak German” (the verb form distinguishes between “she” and “they” even though the pronouns happen to sound the same).


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

"You do speak German?" was not accepted.

בס"ד


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

Yes, because that is a different question pattern – in fact syntactically speaking it is not a question at all but just a statement which is then called into question: ‘You do speak German’? (Compare how you can do the exact same intonation thing with an imperative clause as well: “What did you say? ‘Sit down!’?”)

To form “questions” like these are formed in German you do the exact same thing as in English: You take the ordinary declarative sentence and say it with a surprised/questioning intonation: “Du sprichst Deutsch?!”


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marta.dukat

DEUTSCH in English too.


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

DEUTSCH in English too.

No.

Many learners say "I am learning Deutsch" or (even worse) "I am learning Deutsche", but "Deutsch" is not an English word. They should be saying "I am learning German."

Much as in English you should say "I am flying from Moscow to Warsaw" and not "I am flying from Moskva to Warszawa" -- those places have English names and we use the English names when speaking English.

Similarly, the language that Germans call Deutsch has an English name as well -- and that's "German".


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

I thought I remembered in high school it was "sprechen sie deutsch?"

Speaketh you German?

Something like that


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

Both are correct. Sie is the polite/formal pronoun, du the plain one.

So you say sprichst du to people with whom you are very familiar or children, but sprechen Sie to people whom you need to show respect.


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

How do I say 'are you speaking German?'


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

The same way: Sprichst du Deutsch?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Fhrer614798

What is the difference between "sie , ihr and Du"?


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

What is the difference between "sie , ihr and Du"?

Use du when speaking to one person whom you know well (basically: that you're on first-name terms with) or to a child.

Use ihr when speaking to several people whom you know well, or to a group of children.

Use Sie in other cases -- where you do not know the person or people that you are speaking to well, so you use a formal/polite pronoun. Note that Sie is always capitalised (for politeness), in all of its forms. Like English "you", Sie can be used to one person or to several people at once.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EdwardCerv9

Is du an article? Does it mean in English "the German?" Would it be the neuter Das Deutch?


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

Du means “you” (talking to a single person whom you don’t need to address in a polite manner).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ted824044

From these lessons am I to understand Germans have abandoned the formal tense?


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

There is a formal pronoun, just like in French. They’re probably just want to make you’re familiar with the very basics before introducing formal speech.

And to be nitpicky about terminology: Formal speech has nothing to do with tense. Tense tells you when something happens. Formal speech is basically just special word for “you” which you use towards people towards whom you have to be polite (basically every adult unless you have a close personal relationship with them). And of course the verb forms that go with this formal pronoun.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rain0001

How do you remember German or Germany? Is German language? Is Germany country? I got lost. ジャーマンとジャーマニーを覚えようとしています。yが付くだけなのに 別の意味になり混乱しました。皆様はどのように覚えてますか?


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

Is German language? Is Germany country?

Yes.

People in Germany speak German. ドイツに住んでいる人はドイツ語を話します。


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

Which part of the German sentence requires "Do" in the English translation?

"You speak German?" - not accepted 10/15/19.


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

Hello, the sentence you give is valid in spoken colloquial English but it is not good English. "Do you speak English? ", "Do you like Football?", "Do you eat fish?" are grammatically correct and better ways of speaking and writing English.


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

Which part of the German sentence requires "Do" in the English translation?

The fact that it's a yes-no question.

Standard written English requires the helping verb "do" for this, except for a handful of verbs.


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

I can't prnounce Sprichst properly.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kevin496801

What does it matter if I remember to say do or not?


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

What does it matter if I remember to say do or not?

"Do you speak German?" is standard English.

"You speak German?" is not. It's too colloquial for Duo.


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

The "Sprichst" is so hard to pronounce without it being a tongue twister to me as an English speaker


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mmng9
  • 1164

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

Why it didnt accept Do you talk German? talk and speak is same...


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

They are very similar but not quite the same. To simplify, “to speak” focuses on the act of uttering language itself, while “to talk” focuses more on the communication aspect. For example you can “speak nonsense” but not “*talk nonsense” because nonsense can’t communicate anything.

If you’re a native speaker and “to talk a language” is acceptable in your native dialect, then feel free to report it, but if so that’s a regionally limited thing. To most speakers it does not seem acceptable (indeed this is one of the major examples given for only “speak” being possible when you look up discussions on the differences between “speak” and “talk”).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fruitloops7

i don't understand why you don't start this statement with "du".


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

Because that’s how German forms yes-no questions: By putting the conjugated verb first.

Actually English does the same thing – at least sort of. As recently as Shakespeare’s people still did it the exact same way as German (and all other Germanic languages): “Thou speakest English” → “Speakest thou English”. But in Modern English you can only do that with a very limited set of verbs (e.g. to be: “He is a student” → “Is he a student?”), for all others you have to first insert an auxiliary “do” and then front that instead of the content verb: “You speak English” [→ “You do speak English”] → “Do you speak English”


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/YunfeiZhan3

What is the difference between Sprichst du Deutsch and Sprichst du auf Deutsch?


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

Do you speak German vs. do you speak/are you speaking in German. The former is talking about your language ability; the latter about your concrete language use (either at the moment or regularly in whatever situation we are talking about).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/YunfeiZhan3

Thanks for your reply! It helps!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Vl5n5

Why "are you speak German" is wrong?


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

Because that is not a correct English sentence I’m afraid. It has to be either “do you speak…” or “are you speaking…”.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BarshaAzam2

What's the proper way to pronounce it? It's just confusing, that's it.


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

How do you pronounce "deutsch" correctly because i continue to mess up


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

I’m afraid the “eu” diphthong doesn’t exist in English. “oy” as in “toy” comes close but it’s not exactly the same.

If you can read the International Phonetic Alphabet: [dɔʏ̯tʃ]. If you can’t, you can use the play button above (or Google Translate if you want a different voice for comparison) and try to imitate it by ear.


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

Ich spreche ein bisschen. Möchten sie Deutsch mit mir sprechen. Ich kann auch English sprechen. Meine Muttersprache ist Spanisch. Ich kann jemand mit mein Sprache helfen.


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

I'm finding it hard to pronounce "sprichst" - can anyone break it down?


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

why does it is sometimes - sprichst or sometimes sprechen? What's the reason behind the I and the e change?


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

What's the reason behind the I and the e change?

Presumably there some kind of historical reason behind it, but nowadays, it's simply something you have to memorise.

Some verbs change the vowel of the stem:

  • from e to i
  • from e to ie
  • from a to ä
  • from au to äu

Those that do this, do so only in the du form and in the er/sie/es form.

So you have er spricht but ihr sprecht, for example -- both the er form and the ihr form end in -t, but the er form has a vowel change for this word while the ihr form does not.

You can't tell by looking at a word whether it will do this vowel change, and very similar verbs exist where one changes and the other does not, so it's simply something you have to memorise.

Some examples:

  • geben: er gibt / leben: er lebt (give, live)
  • sehen: er sieht / gehen: er geht (see, walk)
  • tragen: er trägt / sagen: er sagt (carry/wear, say) -- note, er sägt exists but means "he saws", from sägen = to saw, to cut with a saw!
  • laufen: er läuft / kaufen: er kauft (walk/run, buy)
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