Can somebody, on the basis of a few examples, explain to me the social norms for the use of "Schatz"? What degree of intimacy does this suggest? Can it be used just to people as a casual form of address, like the British "love" or does it suggets some special relationship? Can it sound vulgar otherwise?
  • sokol

    Senior Member
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    No, you wouldn't say 'Schatz' to someone who's not your man or wife or boy/girlfriend. Usually.

    There are exceptions, of course. Probably from mother to child 'Schatz' could be used (I wouldn't use it in this case, but I could imagine that other people might). Probably between two very good friends in an ironic way.

    The diminutive form which is widely used (in Austria this would be 'Schatzi' or 'Schatzl') indicates even more intimate relations.
    So my advice anyway would be: do not use 'Schatz' except to a lover, or else only if you are absolutely sure that the person being adressed as 'Schatzi' would not misunderstand you.

    And by the way, 'Schatz' would not sound vulgar. But if you say 'Schatzi' to a man who is not your 'Schatz' then he either might think you've got a crash on him, or that you're making fun of him (in a positive or a negative way, would depend), or else - that you're not a native speaker of German, if he's intelligent enough to make the connection.*) ;)

    And whatever may be usual anywhere else in the German speaking region I guess that even if it were the case that somewhere else 'Schatz' could be used more widely then most certainly it can't be used as universal as 'love' is used in English.

    *) On a sidenote: a few weeks ago they chatted on FM4, an Austrian radio station (partly English speaking), about the cantina of the station where some English native speakers work who address customers (so, foreigners basically, or colleagues anyway and no 'Schatzis'), as they are used to do in English, with - well, I'm not sure anymore if it was 'Schatz', but anyway this word or something similar. They commented on it and came to the conclusion that it is a very charming way to address foreigners. And yes, it could be thought of as charming if you see the connection (I wouldn't mind either, by the way) and as long as no misunderstandings are resulting.


    Senior Member
    If someone does you a huge favour, you may thank him or her by saying "Du bist ein (echter) Schatz!" without indicating or relating to intimacy - at least if women use the phrase (to either man or woman). Men may use it, too - but probably not towards another man.


    Senior Member
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    If someone does you a huge favour, you may thank him or her by saying "Du bist ein (echter) Schatz!" (...)

    Yes, that's correct of course - one of the (few) instances where you could use 'Schatzi' in another sense.

    But in this case it is not an appellation form like in "Schatz, bringst du mir bitte ...?". It is the appellation form that has this special connotation of partnership.


    Senior Member
    Hi, yesterday, I saw "Frühstück bei Tiffany" in a German dupped version, and Audrey Hepburn always said "Schatz" or "Schätzchen" to almost everybody, when she did not say the name. Either this was a question of translation, or there was a language change in the mean time.

    Today it is as stated in the other articles above.