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Lesson Transcript

Hallo, ich heiße Laura! Hi everybody! I’m Laura.
Welcome to GermanPod101.com’s “Deutsch in 3 Minuten”. The fastest, easiest, and most fun way to learn German.
In the last lesson, we learned the most common forms of greetings in German. Do you remember them?
In this lesson we’re going to learn a very useful phrase: “Do you speak English?”
If you find yourself in a situation where you need assistance in English, this phrase can be a lifesaver. And because you’re asking it in German, you can be sure that everyone will understand what you’re saying, even if their answer is no.
Here's the informal way to say it.
Sprichst Du Englisch?
[slowly] Sprichst Du Englisch?
In German, verbs change depending on the pronoun that is used. Please notice the word “Du” in the middle of the sentence. Remember that this is the informal way to say “you?” The first word is the verb, sprichst, which means to speak. Because it is referring to “du,” it is conjugated to du sprichst.
If You ask a question in German, you change the the pronoun du and the verb sprichst from du sprichst to the interrogative form sprichst du. And you probably recognize “Englisch” to be “English.”
Sprichst du Englisch?
To learn how to properly conjugate verbs, like sprechen, please look at our Absolute Beginner series on GermanPod101.com. You can find very detailed grammar lessons and resources there!
We’re now going to make this sentence formal. First, we need to use the formal version of “you,” which is Sie. If we change the word for “you,” we will conjugate the verb differently. It becomes sprechen instead of sprichst like in the informal version. Everything else stays the same:
Sprechen Sie Englisch?
[slowly] Sprechen Sie Englisch?
Adding Entschuldigen Sie, "excuse-me", the sentence becomes even more polite:
Entschuldigen Sie, sprechen Sie Englisch?
[slowly] Entschuldigen Sie, sprechen Sie Englisch?
The responses you will receive could be one of these three:
Ja. "Yes."
[slowly] Ja.
Ein bischen. "A little."
[slowly] ein bischen.
Nein, ich spreche nicht Englisch. "No, I don’t speak English."
[slowly] Nein, ich spreche nicht Englisch.
Since this last one is a negative statement, we need to say nicht after the verb sprechen. Notice also that the verb, spreche is slightly different than sprechen. Remember, the verb changes depending on the pronoun used. We are now talking about ich, German for "I," Thus “I do not speak” is:
Ich spreche nicht.
Now it’s time for Laura’s Insights.
For those of you who are not only English speakers, you can obviously use this question with any language you need. German people study other European languages at school, so maybe you will get lucky! Just substitute Englisch with...
Italienisch for Italian.
Russisch for Russian.
Spanisch for Spanish.
Französisch for French.
In this lesson we mentioned the expression Entschuldigen Sie. But did you know that this could also be used as an apology? In the next lesson we will learn this and other ways to apologize in German. It’s never too late to show your good manners with German people!
I'll see you in our next Deutsch in 3 Minuten lesson.
Bis bald!

37 Comments

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GermanPod101.comVerified
Friday at 6:30 pm
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GermanPod101.comVerified
Thursday at 1:43 pm
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Hi Leire,


Thank you for posting. Nicely spotted!😉


They are different versions but meaning the same. And yes,

both are correct.


If you have any further questions, please let us know.


Kind regards,

Reinhard

Team GermanPod101.com

Leire
Monday at 2:11 am
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Hi!


What's the difference between the sentences "Ich spreche nicht Deutsch" and "Ich spreche kein Deutsch"?


Are both of them correct?

GermanPod101.comVerified
Monday at 8:31 am
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Hi RubyGirl,


LOL!👍


Thank you.


If you have any questions, please let us know.


Kind regards,

Reinhard

Team GermanPod101.com


RubyGirl
Wednesday at 3:01 am
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You mean 4 minutes 😄

GermanPod101.comVerified
Friday at 6:13 am
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Hello Maryn Lyn,


Thank you for your comment. That's a good point.

In general, you are absolutely right. If you don't know the person and the both of you haven't agreed on anything else you would use the formal patterns of speech.


Here are some exceptions:

- Kids always use "du" amongst each other.

- Adults address kids with "du" aswell.

- It's becoming more and more frequent that groups of people agree on using "du" not knowing each other at all.

The aim is to reduce interpersonal distance. Nowadays this trend can be recognized at workshops and events but also at steady work places with rather young teams.


I hope this helps you.


Sincerely,


Anne

Team GermanPod101.com

Maryn Lyn Hoefer
Tuesday at 9:22 pm
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Absolute Beginner here!


Question: If, as above, you have no idea whether the person you are speaking with speaks English, that suggests to me that you do not know this person at all (or you would have surely established long ago their familiarity with English). And, so, if you do not know this person at all, wouldn't that indicate that formal, as opposed to informal, patterns of speech are appropriate for use? Why then would "sprichst du" be used here instead of "sprechen Sie"? Is it the common pattern to use "informal" speech in such general situations? Thank you.

GermanPod101.comVerified
Saturday at 12:28 pm
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Hello Keith,


Thank you very much for posting! ??

So you grew up in a bilingual environment, which is very nice!

Please let me correct some small mistakes that I found:


"ja spreche ich Englisch" should be "ja ich spreche Englisch"

"aber Außerdem Spanisch, Spanisch Fließendes in Wort und Schrift auch so" should be "und außerdem spreche ich Spanisch, fließend in Wort und Schrift".


I hope this helps! Have a great day! ?


Sincerely,


Albert

Team GermanPod101.com

Keith McDowell
Sunday at 2:17 am
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Entschuldigen Sie, sprechen Sie Englisch Stimmt ja spreche ich Englisch. Englisch ist meine Mutterspreche,aber Außerdem Spanisch, Spanisch Fließendes in Wort und Schrift auch so.

GermanPod101.comVerified
Monday at 1:55 am
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Hello Lale,


Thanks for posting! That sounds amazing, I hope you will master German very soon! ?

Please let us know if you have any questions.


Kind regards,


Albert

Team GermanPod101.com

Lale
Sunday at 5:58 am
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Hallo!

Ich spreche Turkisch, Englisch und ein bisschen Spanisch. ❤️️