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  5. "Ich spiele die Mutter."


"Ich spiele die Mutter."

December 19, 2012



In British Engilsh it is a term we use; "playing mother". This happens when say someone brings an apple pie to the table during a meal and someone needs to serve it and so we say "are you playing mother?"


Or also when serving tea it could be used as for example, 'Shall I play mother?'. I really like this expression but apparently is becoming less and less known :(


What's that? Does it mean, in a comedy, acting the role of the mother?


Could be this or for example a single father explaining how he brings up his children.


make sense man..


I see it as this kind of thing - "I'm in a play, and playing the mother"


There is nothing wrong with the English sentence. Replace "the mother" with almost anything else, and any actor could spew forth this sentence while being interviewed before the release of a movie.

  • "What's your role in the new movie?"
  • "I play the mother/father/brother/teacher/villain/hero/sidekick/captain/coach/etc."

A child could utter it to his/her parents:

  • "What's your role in your school play?"
  • "I play the horse/donkey/tree/sun/pineapple/fish/tectonic plates/atom/etc."

Remove "the", and an athlete would say:

"I play left wing/nets/tender/center/defence/etc."

Putting aside the fact that all the sentences being put forth by Duolingo are simply to help you learn vocabulary and grammar, these so-called "nonsense" or "abstract" sentences are just as valuable in the learning experience as the mundane ones like "The apple is round". I'd argue that these sentences are actually more useful in some cases, especially in daily conversations or when watching television or movies.


Also, couldn't this be understood as e.g. a child is playing mother? :)


But does spielen have the meaning of acting a part as play does in English?


I have never heard this term in English in the 22.5 years I have lived.


I have heard it often enough in England, Ireland, and America, when referring to someone playing a role in a show, or when referring to someone acting as the mother in a game or real life situation.


Apparently it's a British English expression, so it doesn't matter how long, but rather where you've been living.


It isn't a British thing. If Carol Ann Susi told you that she is on "The Big Bang Theory", you'd probably say that you don't recognize her, followed by "Who do you play". She would reply "I play Howard's mother". If she was the only mother on the show, she would say "I play the mother."


  • "Hey, Chris Pine, what's your role in the new Star Trek movie?"
  • "I play the captain."


Manuel Neuer would say "I play nets" or "I play keeper" if asked what he does for a living.

The so-called "nonsense" sentences that you may encounter on Duolingo are examples of sentences you will encounter in daily life, whether in discussions, on T.V. or in songs.


Ah ok this sounds good. I just wasn't sure if you would use "spiele" here, since that's kind of a direct translation to english. I probably would have understood sooner if the verb for "to act" were used.


I have never heard this expression (in 22.5 years coincidentally) and I live in Britain.


I think...that not all sentences need to have a meaning, quite frankly I see a lot of them that make no sense, but that's not the point, the point is that you learn the words and their meanings. Maybe the setences will be more in the spirit of the language as the lessons get harder.


think of mothering as a verb


As an American the concept of "playing the mother" makes sense to me, easily understood. My question is whether "ich spele die Mutter." is an expression that Germans would use.


See my previous comment. It's not an idiom, but there's nothing odd about it.


This one took me a little while to understand! I interpret it as somebody 'playing mother' within a group of people who are not family - for example, often in a group of friends one person will be said to be the 'mother hen'


Just wondering if anyone else noticed that when hovering over the word Mutter the translations are mother, parent company, and nut. Nut? Is this in crazy person nut or like the kind of nuts people eat? How do you make sure you're not calling your mother a nut!?


I forgot about that kind of nut. Thanks! In America nut is sometimes used as slang for a crazy person. Thanks for clarifying.


i know that this page is helping us to learn another language, but i understand that in some place, people use this phrase, but it really has no sense at all if you dont know where it comes from

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