The Digital Shutterbug (aryx) wrote,
The Digital Shutterbug

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ich (I)
Du (you, singular personal -- for friends and children -- usually capitalized)
er, sie, es (he, she, it)

wir (we)
ihr (you, plural)
Sie (you, formal (sing. and pl.) -- for elders and strangers -- capitalized), sie (they -- lowercase)

You notice that 'sie' shows up three times? Do the Germans get confused? Nope, just as we don't get confused by the number of times we use 'you.' It's in the way the verbs are conjugated. English speakers aren't very good at conjugating verbs, because there's not much to conjugate in English. But a lot of other languages do. To conjugate a verb simply means to use a form of the verb that coincides with the person it matches. In English, there are only two forms, one for the he/she/it form, and the one that is used for all the others. I play versus he/she/it plays. We add an 's' to the he/she/it form.
In German, all verb infinitives end in 'en.' Spielen means "to play." In English, the infinitive form of a verb begins with 'to.' To sing, to dance, to hear, to speak, etc.
To conjugate verbs in German, you start by removing the 'en' and then add new endings, depending on which person the verb is conjugated for.
For common verbs:
the 'I' form adds an 'e'
the 'du' form adds 'est'
the 'er' form adds 'st'
the 'wir' form adds 'en'
the 'ihr' form adds 't'
the 'sie' (they) form adds 'en'

So Singen (to sing) becomes:
Ich singe (I sing)
Du singest (you sing)
Er singst (he sings)
Wir singen (we sing)
Ihr singt (you (pl.) sing)
Sie singen (they sing)

German has some irregular verbs as well, usually the corrosponding verbs that are irregular in English.
For example, to be:
I am
you are
he is
we are
they are
In German, the infinitive of 'to be' is sein, without the regular 'en' at the end.
The above, translated is:
Ich bin (I am)
Du bist (you are)
Er ist (he is)
Wir sind (we are)
Ihr sein (you are)
Sie sind (they are)

Quick pronunciation key
The german letter(s) sound like
V sounds like f
W sounds like v
A sounds like ah
E sounds like ay (as in hay)
S sounds like z
Z sounds like ts
U sounds like oo
IE sounds like ee
EI sounds like eye
CH sounds like a cat hissing (hhhh)
SCH sounds like sh
EU sounds like oy
ß sounds like ss (it is not a B)

Volkswagen is pronounced folksvagn (interesting that Volks = folks, and folks = people; how are your folks? and that Wagen is so similar to wagon, another word for car... peoples' car? hmmmm!)
Ich sounds like ihhhhhh, not ick!
and Nazi sounds like notsee

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