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  #121  
Old 18.11.2017, 17:10
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Re: Why are you leaving?

I have an 85 year old aunt who might prefer to be per Sie otherwise I can think of no one in my area, except perhaps one eccentric woman, who would be adverse to being on a per Du basis.

If you want to be on per Du basis, do it. You have the age and authority to do so.
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  #122  
Old 18.11.2017, 20:16
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Re: Why are you leaving?

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But I wonder if I might have offended some Swiss by seeming stand-offish in sticking to Sie? Might a Swiss person expect me to suggest per Du?
Dunno about expect, but when we get to the point when folk understand my Brit humour and laugh spontaneously, then it's Du-time for me. Partly because that is the point at which I might occasionally use the du form by mistake.
I am hardly likely to be on joking terms with any Head of any Geranium Committee so I'd not be slipping up there.

Personally I've only had the one person react negatively so perhaps all the others have just put on a brave face. Actually, it doesn't bother me too much these days.

I think Swiss very-oldies like to be able to choose though. That's the way they were brought up. I was at the AGM of a ski club many years ago and a youngster stood up and suggested we all agree to Du. None of the members was old, probably forty being the upper limit but frosty reception is putting it mildly. No glaciers melting there. Quite funny as a spectator to the incident.
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  #123  
Old 18.11.2017, 21:54
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Re: Why are you leaving?

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If I get invited to one more party where it's expected to make and bring the salad then just maybe ...
Oh! Is that not customary, where you've lived before?
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  #124  
Old 18.11.2017, 21:59
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Re: Why are you leaving?

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I have an 85 year old aunt who might prefer to be per Sie otherwise I can think of no one in my area, except perhaps one eccentric woman, who would be adverse to being on a per Du basis.
Where I grew up, you said "Sie" to anyone older, even to your parents
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  #125  
Old 19.11.2017, 10:39
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Re: Why are you leaving?

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Per Sie, per Du:

Jokey posts above aside, this has always felt like a minefield to me.

When we first arrived my German teacher drilled it into us that we were never, ever to suggest 'per Du' ourselves, as in addition to the usual rules of age and respect, we were foreigners (and thus of course of inferior rank ) so it couldn't correctly be our call. No, as foreigners, to avoid giving offence we were supposed to wait until we were offered 'per Du'.

And so I have done all my years here. I respond in the form the other person has used, and if I start a conversation it is with per Sie. Regardless of the age of the person.

But I wonder if I might have offended some Swiss by seeming stand-offish in sticking to Sie? Might a Swiss person expect me to suggest per Du?

It seems to be getting more complicated now that I am older. For instance, nowadays who should make the first move towards per Du - the younger Swiss (who of course outranks me ,or the grey haired old (ish!) Furriner?
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When we first arrived my German teacher drilled it into us that we were never, ever to suggest 'per Du' ourselves, as in addition to the usual rules of age and respect, we were foreigners (and thus of course of inferior rank ) so it couldn't correctly be our call. No, as foreigners, to avoid giving offence we were supposed to wait until we were offered 'per Du'.
I think older generations (I don't want to offend anyone here) think this way.

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as in addition to the usual rules of age and respect, we were foreigners (and thus of course of inferior rank so it couldn't correctly be our call.
Hehe, you can see that in a different shape even on EF. There is a bias I couldn't nail it for a long time, and won't discuss it on this topic.

Seriously, without a serious sense of humour (hehe) it's difficult. But you have it.

Per Sie, per Du, let it be, let them have their call. I prefer per Sie because of the verb, but if they want me to stick to per Sie they too have to use that form. The ultimate insult!

In all fairness, this thing doesn't bother me that much. I am used to these politeness pronouns, I've used them all my life. (the English language seemed like it misses something in the beginning....goodness, can't even remember when I started learning English, probably starting with the first movie subtitles I could read so it was before we started in school) But it's a way to tell if a relation has moved forward, true. And I agree it's a bit disappointing when it doesn't happen....not even after 20 years. Especially for an American, I guess.
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  #126  
Old 19.11.2017, 10:58
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Re: Why are you leaving?

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I am a fairly young guy who really wishes to start a family, but it seems way more difficult to find a female partner here than in other countries.
I met both of my wives here, so not really a problem. The US was far more of a problem.

Tom
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  #127  
Old 19.11.2017, 17:35
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Re: Why are you leaving?

Well, I'm at home in this Sie and Du thing, which - according to my experience - has lost it's importance but that might just be my environment. The moment someone calls me Du I switch to it too. I can't remember doing the "official thing" about switching last (there used to be a weird ceremony for this, LOL).

But I also kept a handful of people on the Sie for decades now very strictly. Being the only one in the according circles. I also know that people noticed and wondered - but never directly asked - it's very obvious that I want to keep those people at a distance. And by keeping them on the Sie I don't need to have a "don't you try to get friendly with me just because I have to deal with you" discussion

I admit I kind of enjoy this subtle possibility in the German language.
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  #128  
Old 19.11.2017, 17:45
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Re: Why are you leaving?

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I admit I kind of enjoy this subtle possibility in the German language.
"Sie Arschloch!" makes all the difference at times...
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  #129  
Old 19.11.2017, 17:46
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Re: Why are you leaving?

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Well, I'm at home in this Sie and Du thing, which - according to my experience - has lost it's importance but that might just be my environment. The moment someone calls me Du I switch to it too. I can't remember doing the "official thing" about switching last (there used to be a weird ceremony for this, LOL).

But I also kept a handful of people on the Sie for decades now very strictly. Being the only one in the according circles. I also know that people noticed and wondered - but never directly asked - it's very obvious that I want to keep those people at a distance. And by keeping them on the Sie I don't need to have a "don't you try to get friendly with me just because I have to deal with you" discussion

I admit I kind of enjoy this subtle possibility in the German language.
It is not just German, but Spanish, French, Slavic languages do it too...etc.

I think I feel similarly, though I keep Vous for some people on purpose because of the age difference and me wanting to really show respect, even if they totuyer me, usually large age difference, rank and so. Comes from home, I think. People still use Vous for inlaws there, sometimes for their own parents.

I do have a bit of mixed feelings about it at times, I come across so many people every day that I need to keep the strict protocol with in public, so one grows immune. Then, the first day I taught I had a janitor scolding me...and at uni, the lunch lady keeps tutoyer me even though I am no longer the 20yr olds that share the lunch line with me I guess it is good to look young, but I do subconsciously wish for her to once, just once say Vous to me, lol I secretely believe that she would also give me a bigger schnitzel, with the Vous.
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  #130  
Old 19.11.2017, 17:49
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Re: Why are you leaving?

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But I also kept a handful of people on the Sie for decades now very strictly. Being the only one in the according circles. I also know that people noticed and wondered - but never directly asked - it's very obvious that I want to keep those people at a distance. And by keeping them on the Sie I don't need to have a "don't you try to get friendly with me just because I have to deal with you" discussion
So you would say that younger people today generally see using Sie as more about keeping distance rather than showing respect?


(A veritable minefield, I tells ya.)
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  #131  
Old 19.11.2017, 18:57
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Re: Why are you leaving?

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"Sie Arschloch!" makes all the difference at times...
I never, ever called anybody an arsehole - in any language. It is just not what I do.

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So you would say that younger people today generally see using Sie as more about keeping distance rather than showing respect?


(A veritable minefield, I tells ya.)
No, what made you conclude that?

I was talking about my use of it.
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  #132  
Old 19.11.2017, 19:11
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Re: Why are you leaving?

Pfft, I don't know what you're all complaining about. When I lived amongst the Nguabu people of Nambia, I had to master 34 different forms of the pronoun "you", as follows:

Ngi: informal, to your spouse, lover, goat or dog
Ngru: informal, to a child or animal
Ngrgi: informal, to social inferior or plant
Hngrgi: informal, to someone from outside the tribe, a foreigner or inanimate object
Gnugru: formal, to your spouse, lover or goat, when initiating intercourse
Hakungru: formal, to your food prior to eating it
Grunugri: formal, to the sky
Haruku: formal, to your father in law or wife's brother
Gaharuku: formal, to your mother in law or wife's sister
Wahagruhu: formal, to your father in law or husband's brother
Wahagrihuku: formal, to your mother in law or husband's sister
Wahakirikiri: formal, to your parents
Wahakirikirikuru: formal, to your grandparents
Wakakirikirikurumahuru: formal, to your deceased ancestors
Wakakirikirikurumahurakiruku: formal, to the deceased ancestors of your spouse, lover, dog or goat
Iri: informal, to a friend
Iriku: informal, to a friend of a friend
Huzi: informal, to a younger sibling
Huzurru: informal, to an older sibling
Bakruku: formal, to a friend when meeting outside the village
Bakrukukiku: formal, to a friend of a friend when meeting outside the village
Jakkuhu: formal, to an older sibling when asking for a favour
Wubu: formal, to a female neighbour
Wuka: formal, to a male neighbour
Izwuku: informal, to a neighbour's dog or goat
Izwagga: informal, to a neighbour's animal or child
Izuwakuku: formal, to a neighbour's goat when initiating intercourse
Baru: obscene, to an accursed object
Barumaru: obscene, to an accursed dog or goat
Barumarumikkuku: obscene, to an accursed animal
Barawuri: obscene, to an accursed female neighbour
Baramuku: obscene, to an accursed male neighbour
Barawukuzuki: obscene, to an accursed dog or goat of a neighbour
Barazomizomizu: obscene, to an accursed goat of a neighbour when initiating intercourse.

Had I been a woman, of course, I would have had to have learnt an entirely different set of pronouns.

Du and Sie are a doddle in comparison.
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  #133  
Old 19.11.2017, 20:40
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Re: Why are you leaving?

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No, what made you conclude that?
Just my eternal confusion.

Combined with my eternal fear of committing a faux pas.
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  #134  
Old 19.11.2017, 20:40
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Re: Why are you leaving?

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Had I been a woman, of course, I would have had to have learnt an entirely different set of pronouns.
Reading back over this sentence, I don't think I dare ever complain that German grammar is too difficult...
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  #135  
Old 19.11.2017, 21:15
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Re: Why are you leaving?

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Per Sie, per Du:

Jokey posts above aside, this has always felt like a minefield to me.

When we first arrived my German teacher drilled it into us that we were never, ever to suggest 'per Du' ourselves, as in addition to the usual rules of age and respect, we were foreigners (and thus of course of inferior rank ) so it couldn't correctly be our call. No, as foreigners, to avoid giving offence we were supposed to wait until we were offered 'per Du'.

And so I have done all my years here. I respond in the form the other person has used, and if I start a conversation it is with per Sie. Regardless of the age of the person.

But I wonder if I might have offended some Swiss by seeming stand-offish in sticking to Sie? Might a Swiss person expect me to suggest per Du?

It seems to be getting more complicated now that I am older. For instance, nowadays who should make the first move towards per Du - the younger Swiss (who of course outranks me , or the grey haired old (ish!) Furriner?
Took me forever to get used to.

First stage was just being able to remember who was in which category (as if remembering names wasn't already difficult enough for me).

Then... trying to figure out who should be the initiator. I once asked my (then) wife why an elderly person we knew was per Du with her, but used Sie with me. "She's waiting for you to offer it" "Eh, she's way older than me, I've been waiting for her." "You have a degree, she wouldn't presume."
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  #136  
Old 20.11.2017, 08:25
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Re: Why are you leaving?

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It is not just German, but Spanish, French, Slavic languages do it too...etc.

I think I feel similarly, though I keep Vous for some people on purpose because of the age difference and me wanting to really show respect, even if they totuyer me, usually large age difference, rank and so. Comes from home, I think. People still use Vous for inlaws there, sometimes for their own parents.

I do have a bit of mixed feelings about it at times, I come across so many people every day that I need to keep the strict protocol with in public, so one grows immune. Then, the first day I taught I had a janitor scolding me...and at uni, the lunch lady keeps tutoyer me even though I am no longer the 20yr olds that share the lunch line with me I guess it is good to look young, but I do subconsciously wish for her to once, just once say Vous to me, lol I secretely believe that she would also give me a bigger schnitzel, with the Vous.
The whole per Sie thing makes me feel....old!
I'd rather have people "disrespect" me..

But I guess it's time to get used to that, I'm not in my 20s anymore. Apart from obvious situations when people are not supposed to get too familiar, I don't mind the per Du thing.

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Just my eternal confusion.

Combined with my eternal fear of committing a faux pas.
It's pretty simple: everybody you have just a random, professional, distant relation with. Everybody you meet for the first time - old, young, superior or inferior in rank...lol, that makes me laugh. Normally, respect and politeness is applied "even" to your "inferiors". I had a teacher in primary school who used per Sie with all of us, even though we were just 12 year olds, he was really old school.

Also, IMHO - per Sie doesn't always substantiate "distance". I am very affectionate with some people I used to "per Sie" all my life. In some cultures it doesn't feel appropriate to use "Du" when addressing someone older....even if they are your family.

Meloncollie, I think as long as they are per Sie with inferiors like us, foreigners, it's OK. It really is. It's worse to be told to go back to wherever you came from*....

*I know people who experienced much more unpleasant situations than the strategic per Sie. It made me appreciate my luck tbh.

Last edited by greenmount; 20.11.2017 at 09:09.
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  #137  
Old 20.11.2017, 09:30
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Re: Why are you leaving?

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I had a teacher in primary school who used per Sie with all of us, even though we were just 12 year olds, he was really old school.
Are you sure?

"Traditionally" (20-30 years ago or more), Swiss teachers called the pupils by their first name and "Du" whereas the pupils had to call the teachers by their family name and "Sie". This both created and demonstrated the hierarchy.

During my school days this applied to the gymi as well (I guess it no longer does). However after doing the Matura test it was common (at our Gymnasium) for the teachers to offer "Du" (lessons would continue for a month or two) in an expression of equal footing both WRT age and academic achievement.

Your teacher kind of did likewise. Since mutual "Du" was out of the question s/he used the mutual "Sie" as a sign of respect. That seems quite the contrary of old school.
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  #138  
Old 20.11.2017, 10:16
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Re: Why are you leaving?

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Are you sure?

"Traditionally" (20-30 years ago or more), Swiss teachers called the pupils by their first name and "Du" whereas the pupils had to call the teachers by their family name and "Sie". This both created and demonstrated the hierarchy.

During my school days this applied to the gymi as well (I guess it no longer does). However after doing the Matura test it was common (at our Gymnasium) for the teachers to offer "Du" (lessons would continue for a month or two) in an expression of equal footing both WRT age and academic achievement.

Your teacher kind of did likewise. Since mutual "Du" was out of the question s/he used the mutual "Sie" as a sign of respect. That seems quite the contrary of old school.
Maybe you're right, but in that case I do believe that his manners (in general) came from a life philosophy associated with a different era (met many people like him and they in common some particularities). However, it is not unusual to be treated like an adult in high school/gymnasium, not to mention college or university. The hierarchy is still there, children, youths know it (instinctually? Or because it is actually earned). As you said, per Sie only shows mutual respect.
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Old 20.11.2017, 11:04
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Re: Why are you leaving?

I teach teenagers in a public school and the rule is to call them by their first name but use the "Sie" form with ALL of them. The students call me by my surname.

Every once in a while, a hipster teacher will let ignore the rules and allow a "du" culture in their classroom. Cool as it is to some students, it's unfair to the other teachers and goes against school policy.
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Old 20.11.2017, 11:49
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Re: Why are you leaving?

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I teach teenagers in a public school and the rule is to call them by their first name but use the "Sie" form with ALL of them. The students call me by my surname.

Every once in a while, a hipster teacher will let ignore the rules and allow a "du" culture in their classroom. Cool as it is to some students, it's unfair to the other teachers and goes against school policy.
I guess every school makes its own rules in regards with per Sie and per Du when addressing students. I know some schools here which are exactly like what Urs Max described.

I think the hipster teacher is aware of the fact that his personal policy will get on the other teaching staff's nerves, I think it's done somehow deliberately, not only for educational purposes. He might want to have a go at other "policies"..
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