Using an article with a name

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gaer

Senior Member
US-English
To al but specifically to our "Muttersprachler(n)",

When would those of you who are native speakers use an article before a name?

Der Who, die Jana, der Ralf, der Gaer, etc.

Because it is a "feel", I stay away from using the articles, just to be on the safe side. Sometimes it just sounds informal, friendly, at least to me, other times it feels a bit TOO informal. As a foreigner I am very sensitive about using nuances I may not use entirely correctly. I would rather err on the formal side than take a chance and offend someone, even if the chance of doing so is almost zero.

Opinions?

Gaer
 
  • sohc4

    Senior Member
    Germany, German
    gaer said:
    To al but specifically to our "Muttersprachler(n)",

    When would those of you who are native speakers use an article before a name?

    Der Who, die Jana, der Ralf, der Gaer, etc.

    Because it is a "feel", I stay away from using the articles, just to be on the safe side. Sometimes it just sounds informal, friendly, at least to me, other times it feels a bit TOO informal. As a foreigner I am very sensitive about using nuances I may not use entirely correctly. I would rather err on the formal side than take a chance and offend someone, even if the chance of doing so is almost zero.

    Opinions?

    Gaer
    I would say it's a regional (dialect) issue. In the South, you hear names with articles, while in the north, names are used without article.

    Being born and raised in Munich, Bavaria, I usually use the article with a name.

    But, now that I think about it, it's also an informal thing, as is any dialect. In standard German, I would rather not use the article.

    Axl
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    sohc4 said:
    I would say it's a regional (dialect) issue. In the South, you hear names with articles, while in the north, names are used without article.

    Being born and raised in Munich, Bavaria, I usually use the article with a name.

    But, now that I think about it, it's also an informal thing, as is any dialect. In standard German, I would rather not use the article.

    Axl
    OK. I am aware that the article is used, but it did seem like an informal thing to me. My rule is: "When in doubt, don't." ;)

    Gaer
     

    elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    sohc4 said:
    I would say it's a regional (dialect) issue. In the South, you hear names with articles, while in the north, names are used without article.

    Being born and raised in Munich, Bavaria, I usually use the article with a name.

    But, now that I think about it, it's also an informal thing, as is any dialect. In standard German, I would rather not use the article.

    Axl
    Splended explanation! :D

    I just spoke to one of my German roommates about it today and she gave the EXACT same response. Basically, she said it boiled down to two factors:

    a) regional variation: in some regions it is simply more common, in others it is not

    b) formality: in formal, standard German it is not common; in informal situations it is more common. For example, she would not have used the article in reference to a professor.

    Basically, it has nothing to do with whether the person is around or not (the question that spurred interest in this issue).
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    elroy said:
    Splended explanation! :D
    I agree. :)
    Basically, it has nothing to do with whether the person is around or not (the question that spurred interest in this issue).
    I don't know anything about that. Here is what I can tell you. In textbooks for high school students, I saw the article used a lot along with informal address. (I had asked a high school student if I might get a series of the books he used, and I actually ended up with TWO series I found them very helpful, since I was learning entirely on my own.)

    The texbook used for college did not use the article. Or it seldom used it. It also concentrated on formal address.

    I found the college textbook far inferior to two for high school. The grammar explanations were much more confusing (although WHAT was being explained was the same), and it attempted to condense in one larger book what was presented in FOUR books, for high school. The idea, I assume, is that college students (who have less time and who are much older) learn much faster and need less information.

    I found this astounding. :) At any rate, on the basis of these textbooks and a great deal of reading I assumed that the use of the article is informal. As to whether it is used the same amount of less when someone is not around, I have no idea!

    Gaer
     
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