Why do people in German-dubbed Hollywood movies use the second-person plural so strangely?
October 9, 2011 1:03 PM Subscribe
Why do people in German dubs of American movies use the second-person plural form of the verb so strangely? They often use it in place of either the polite form or just the second-person singular, z.b. in the Pirates of the Caribbean
, the Commodore says to Will Turner (just Will Turner), "Ihr seid kein Seemann." What?
posted by colfax to Writing & Language (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Is this an attempt to split the difference between du and Sie? Not quite as intimate as du but not as respectful as Sie? Is this just a mistake made by Hollywood translators? An old-fashioned way of speaking? Now that I've started listening for it, I've been hearing it all over the place--not just in Pirates of the Caribbean. People will say things like, "Ich helfe euch" to the only other person in the room.
I would assume I was mishearing something, but Ihr seid... and euch are pretty distinctive sounding. Maybe it's worth noting that I know Ihr is the polite form of the possessive pronoun, so I'm not asking about those sorts of cases. Also, the times I've noticed it, it's always pretty clearly one person speaking to a single other person. So, what's going on? And do Germans ever use the second-person plural like that in real life?