What are you looking at?

Bugatti

Senior Member
Russian (Moscow)
Hello! How would you say "What are you looking at" in informal German?
My attempt: Was betrachten Sie?
Thanks! :)
 
  • Sowka

    Forera und Moderatorin
    German, Northern Germany
    Hello :)

    Hello! How would you say "What are you looking at" in informal German?
    My attempt: Was betrachten Sie?
    Thanks! :)

    Your sentence is correct; however, the other suggestions are much more common.

    The verb betrachten is mainly used in contexts of careful, thoughtful perception of something, for example:
    Ich betrachte den Sonnenuntergang.
     
    Last edited:

    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    Is there a difference between etwas anschauen and sich etwas anschauen? I think so, but it's just a nuance that I can't put my finger on.

    jemanden or etwas ansehen/anschauen/angucken emphasizes the act of looking:
    "Er hat sie kurz angesehen." -> He looked at her briefly.

    sich jemanden or etwas ansehen/anschauen/angucken expresses more of 'visually studying or exploring someone/something':
    "Er hat sie sich genau angesehen." -> He checked her out [from head to toe].
     

    Foobeloo

    New Member
    German
    It depends on context and meaning. With a hostile undertone and in a (very) informal style the shortened 'was guckst Du?' would be a common phrase
     

    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    It depends on context and meaning. With a hostile undertone and in a (very) informal style the shortened 'was guckst Du?' would be a common phrase
    Sorry to say, but that sounds way too soft and friendly for the scenario I'm picturing!

    Scenario: (which actually happened some time ago on a Munich subway car)
    A fairly pretty girl in her twenties boards the train on an unsteady foot; obviously pissed and pissed off, some time past 10pm. People start looking as usual, but one guy more than others.
    The girl yells at him (in English) a very hostile: What the fuck are you looking at?

    Had she used standard Munich everyday language, she'd probably have yelled: "Was schaust'n so blöd?" (Was schaust du denn so blöd)
     

    Foobeloo

    New Member
    German
    That's really interesting, because to my ears it's the opposite. Where I grew up (Frankfurt area) 'was guckst Du?' was a stereotypical prelude for physical violence (going along well with 'auf's Maul, oder was?'). 'Blöd' to me sounds way too weak for that type of scenario. But context and tone matter a lot in either case.

    Also, i think there is a geographical difference regarding the usage of verbs for looking. 'Schauen' is standard in the south, but sounds quite formal to northern ears (at least for spoken language). At the same time 'gucken' is standard in the north, but may sound diminutive to southern ears (I guess?).

    To convey the aggression of someone yelling 'what the fuck are you looking at?', I would probably go for something like 'was guckst Du, Arschloch?'
     

    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    :thumbsup: No doubt, there exist regional differences when it comes to exchanging such late night "pleasantries". It's usually non-verbal signals that allow you to identify the gravity of the situation and not the specific words used.
    Anyways, it's not something a language student should learn proactively. These kind of expressions need to be acquired over time. We native speakers did the same - it's not school that teaches this kind of communication, life does that. :)
     
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