wahrnehmen and vernehmen

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by student7, Nov 14, 2006.

  1. student7 Senior Member

    I would like to ask you about the difference between 'wahrnehmen' and 'vernehmen'.
    I think both words have something in common.
    For example, both has something to do with 'to listen', but is there any difference between the two?
    Thank you.
  2. Jana337

    Jana337 Senior Member

    Wahrnehmen - to perceive, to notice
    Vernehmen - to interrogate someone

    I would add examples but I think it will be more productive to let you try. ;)

  3. student7 Senior Member

    Jana, thank you.
    One of my German dictionaries says that 'vernehmen' has a meaning of
    'to listen'. For instance, the dictionary uses 'vernehmt meinen Gesang' as an example. I've read in another dictionary that 'vernehmen' used to mean 'to listen', but it is not the case now. Is this correct? Do native German speakers use 'vernehmen' only for 'to interrogate'?
  4. Hutschi

    Hutschi Senior Member

    Hi, Student7,
    there are some additional meanings.

    regarding sound, "wahrnehmen" and "vernehmen" are synonyms. Mostly, you can exchhange them. Both have additional meanings.

    Wahrnehmen - 1. to perceive, to notice, this can be sound, warmth, wind and others, 2. Redewendung: "die Gelegenheit wahrnehmen" - seize an opportunity, take an opportunity eagerly
    Vernehmen - 1. to interrogate someone, 2. to perceive some sound


    Ich nehme (den) Schall wahr. (separable verb)
    Ich vernehme (den) Schall. (non-separable verb)

    If the intensity of the sound is low, "wahrnehmen" would be appropriate.
    If it comes suddenly, you can use "vernehmen" (Plötzlich vernahm er das Kreischen der Straßenbahn.)

    Another (partly) synonym is: "Hören". ("hören" already includes the reference to sound.)

    Ich höre die Klingel.
    Plötzlich vernahm er das Klingeln.
    Plötzlich nahm er einen Klingelton wahr.
  5. Kajjo

    Kajjo Senior Member

    As far as the synonymous meaning of "to perceive" is meant, the verb "wahrnehmen" is much more common than "vernehmen". The latter is more often used in its meaning "to interrogate".

  6. Hutschi

    Hutschi Senior Member

    Yes. This is true. But the context usually makes it clear, in case "vernehmen" is used.

    It is always something like "Er vernimmt ein Geräusch" or "Ich vernehme einen Ton". It requires an object - and the object makes it clear what is meant.

    "vernehmen" ("to interrogate") is synonym to "verhören". "Verhören" may have as additional meaning to perceive something wrong.

    "Ich habe den Verbrecher verhört" means "I interrogated the criminal".
    "Ich habe den Verbrecher vernommen" means "I interrogated the criminal".

    "Ich habe mich verhört" means "I did understand wrong, what I heared."
    "Ich habe einen Laut vernommen" means "I perceived a sound."

    Best regards

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