"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.
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? - Aß 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 :)
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
"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?"
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 :)
"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.)
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.).
- 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)
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?".
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?!”
DEUTSCH in English too.
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".
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.
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.
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”).
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”
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.
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.
- 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)