https://www.duolingo.com/MariaHillDublin

Du und Sie. I am watching daredevil on Netflix.

I am watching daredevil on Netflix auf deutsch and have noticed that during roman Catholic confession the priest uses du and the confessor Sie. Sehr interessant. Does any of the native/ experienced german speakers know of other instances where two adults would use the different forms? For example if I was talking to a police officer I would expect us both to be polite?

3 years ago

2 Comments


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I think in that particular case, the priest tries to convey with the "du" the closeness to god, who regards us as their children, while the confessor addresses the priest as a person of respect. Outside of this situation, the priest will address the people in his parish with "Sie", too, unless the "du" is mutual (but then you say "du" to the priest in confession, too).
In other situations, you mosty have this discrepancy between adults and children. Two adults either call each other "Sie" or "du", depending on how close they are. If the formal address would be appropriate, but one of them still uses "du", it is seen as an insult. If you call a policeman "du" while he is perfectly formal, you may have to pay a fine. But many policemen or paramedics will just also resort to a friendly du when dealing with drunks for example, because it makes them more approachable. People usually have a feeling whether the "du" is meant as an insult or rather as an attempt to get familiar. If a punk on the street calls you "du", he doesn't want to insult you but wants to give you the feeling that you aren't strangers while he begs for money.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MariaHillDublin

Wow that's great and very useful. It's improtant to get these things as right as you can. When I was living in the UK I was constantly asking sales people etc to address me by my first name and not my title. They constantly went back to Ms and though I know they thought they were being polite in Ireland we would consider it very rude and I kept getting really annoyed at them. So it's very insightful to hear about different situations were du/Sie are meant to be friendly.

3 years ago
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