In this episode: A funny look in ~ the meaning of "man" and also how to use it. And a weird method native speakers use it an ext and more often, the is kind of coy and apologetic.

You are watching: How to say man in german


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“man” – hiding yourself

When i was learning French, ns came throughout a monster phenomenon. In spoken French, it’s kind of idiomatic to refer to we by making use of their version of a share person: “on”. So instead fo saying

“That’s Maria. We simply married.”

they say

“That’s Maria., One just gained married.”

That seemed prefer a really weird phrasing to me some 10 year ago. But it’s not as weird anymore, due to the fact that a comparable thing is keep going in German in ~ the moment. People use man once they in reality talk about themselves. And also to a particular degree, that’s naught new. Because that instance, it’s typical to use a generic human in contexts of questioning for permission.

Darf man hier rauchen?Is it permitted to smoke here?

The human of course wants to know if castle themselves have permission come smoke, but it’s common to ask because that the “general” rule. However, more and much more often ns stumble across this man when human being actually express their opinion…

“Also, warum genau fühlst du dich unfair behandelt?” “Naja, wenn man pünktlich zur Arbeit kommt, dann will certainly man doch, dass das anerkannt wird.” “*seufz… Millennials.”“So, why precisely do you feel treated unfairly?” “Well, if you display up to work-related on time, you naturally want that to it is in recognized.” “*sigh… Millennials.”

The speaker sort of hides a bit by making that sound favor they’re speak in general. And also it does sort of make sense in this example, due to the fact that I’d suspect that most employees would certainly agree. But take a look at the adhering to dialogue… (I’m using colors just to do it much more intuitive who is who, not for grammatical reasons)

Person A: “Du hast to be zu deinem date gesagt??!” Person B: “Ja, ja, ich weiß, es ist hart… aber ey, komm, wenn sie mit einem nach Hause kommt, dann denkt man natürlich, guy kann einen Schritt weitergehen. Und wenn man dann abgewiesen wird, wird man halt sauer, und dann sagt man halt schon mal Sachen, dice man nicht therefore meint.” Person A: “Alter, du musst dich entschuldigen.”Person A: “You stated WHAT to her date?” Person B: “Yeah, ns know, it’s harsh… but hey, come on, if she’s comes to your place through you, that course you think choose you have the right to escalate things. And if you gain rejected then, you get angry, and like… i don’t know, you can say things that you don’t mean that way.” Person A: “Dude, you have to apologize.”

Here, person B claimed something pretty poor to their date and they’re make the efforts to justify it. Yet instead the owning as much as it and say “I think that” and “I suppose that” they speak man, making that sound favor it’s a basic truth. Therefore basically, it’s no their fault. Everyone would have used one insult. It’s kind of the date’s fault. Now, of course it’s not really excellent on objective by human being who speak that way. Perhaps they’re simply used to it. But there is certainly an aspect of hiding you yourself to it. In English, human B is using you. Therefore they’re essentially putting human being A into the situation, hoping to make them empathize. I m sorry is still not as straight up as saying “I”. However I uncover the German man come be an ext cowardly. World are hiding behind a presumed generality, so they’re no that exposed to a potential counter. Germans have actually a propensity to carry out that. In fact, words halt is another tool for that, as few of you can remember from last years introduction calendar. Five man… the feels soooo long earlier already :).

Anyway, for this reason yeah… my an individual impression is the especially among millennials using man when you actually mean I is getting more and an ext common and also people even start utilizing it if they simply describe an event that castle were involved in. Favor this gem, I freshly heard in a Youtube documentary. Two people in their early on 20s were dating and when the guy was asked exactly how the day went, he had actually this come say:

“Ja ganz gut. Man hat sich gut unterhalten.”“Pretty good. We‘ve had good conversations.”

Come on, man!!! What the hell?!?! Why can you no make a straight statement around yourself? serious … let’s all simply speak her mind without all this shitty hedging and all the irony and also sarcasm come hide behind.

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Cool. For this reason that’s it for today, actually. This to be our look in ~ the an interpretation and usage of man and the two main takeaways are:

it’s the German generic person, English tends to use youit can ONLY it is in the subject. Every the remainder is done by (s)eine/n/m/…

If you desire to examine how lot you understood, you deserve to take the little quizz I have prepared. And if course, allow me recognize all your questions and thoughts in the comments. Especially around the last bit. Have actually you heard world using man? carry out you have a comparable phenomenon in your own language? I’m really curious come hear native all across the world… since I know for a truth that you guys come from all over. Therefore speak increase :)! Anyway, expect you appreciated it. Have a good time and see you next week.