Die fliegt nach China (die vs sie; discussion in English)

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by sunsail, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. sunsail Senior Member

    de langue Turc

    Why is "Die" used instead of "Sie"?

    Person1: aber wen?
    Person2: karin
    Person1: Die fliegt nach China, um zu arbeiten.

  2. atcheque

    atcheque mod errant (Fr-En, français, čeština)

    Česko (2009)
    français, France

    Die (Karin). It's common in German to use the determiner (the) with names / as pronoun.
  3. Demiurg

    Demiurg Senior Member

  4. Gernot Back

    Gernot Back Senior Member

    Cologne, Germany
    German - Germany
    Die is not a determiner (article) here, though; it is the definite pronoun, which some grammarians consider as a special form of the demonstrative pronoun. Most of its forms [except for the dative plural and the genitive (singular and plural)] are identical with the definite article. The definite pronoun is used instead of the personal pronoun to distinguish the last one of several options mentioned before.
  5. Roy776

    Roy776 Senior Member

    Kraków, Poland
    German & AmE
    I wouldn't exactly call the usage of articles with names common. I, for one, find it absolutely annoying and childishly sounding if one says 'Die Karin', 'Der Alex', etc.. A friend of mine makes a habit out of it and it sounds to me, as if he were explaining something to a child. "Der Opa kann heute nicht mit dir spielen." (Gramps can't play with you today). But maybe that is just me. Though I think there are dialects in German that do use the articles almost all the time. I wouldn't know, I don't speak a dialect nor do I understand most of them.

    As for the usage of Die here, it is actually very common practice to use Der or Die in such cases to refer back to a person that has been mentioned before.
  6. atcheque

    atcheque mod errant (Fr-En, français, čeština)

    Česko (2009)
    français, France
    Tut mir leid und danke für die Erklärung:)
  7. Hutschi

    Hutschi Senior Member

    Considering style: "Die" is more clear, but some consider using "die" for a person as pejorative, especially in northern areas.

    In my feeling it is neutral, but I was often told: "Die steht im Stall und der steht daneben". (The cow is in the barn, and the oxen too)

    There is also a saying "Man zeigt nicht mit nacktem Finger auf angezogene Leute!"
    This shows that the demonstrative is not considered as neutral by many people, in doubt I'd avoid it.

    Neutral dialog;

    Person1: Aber wen?
    Person2: Karin
    Person1: Sie fliegt nach China, um zu arbeiten.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
  8. Arukami Senior Member

    Yes, I would try to avoid it. It is okay when you're talking colloquial about someone as shown in the example above, but especially when the person is around you should avoid "die" and stuff.
    My father always said "Die/der hat einen Namen" when someone started a sentece like this.
  9. Gernot Back

    Gernot Back Senior Member

    Cologne, Germany
    German - Germany
    Using the definite pronoun instead of the personal pronoun for persons in German is like pointing at them with fingers: Demonstrative (and definite) pronouns are used for both, discourse and object deixis. Many people feel that this kind of reference is disrespectful, when applied to humans, though.

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