Hafen, Berlin-Tempelhof

Hafen, Berlin-Tempelhof

Operacandy.com, a blog run by singers and opera enthusiasts, recently published ten tips on social media etiquette for opera singers. The article advises to think twice before you post photos from or comments about your public performance to make sure you “do not upset friends or colleagues unintentionally.” The website and therefore the article on etiquette is written in English, but it gives us a chance to review the imperative in the German language. With an imperative we express a command, an order or, shall we say, a forceful recommendation.

One tip in Operacandy says, “Always ask the people in your photo for permission to post.”

When we want to form an imperative, we must put the verb in the first position of the sentence. We also have to change the verb, so that it is understood as an imperative.

With second person familiar (du) the verb appears as verb stem only, blunt and without ending.

The verb in the above mentioned tip is bitten (to ask for a favor or permission). To form the imperative we cut off the ending –en: bitt.

always = immer
people = die Leute
permission = die Erlaubnis
to post = here: veröffentlichen

We start the tip with the verb:

Bitt die Leute in deinem Foto immer um die Erlaubnis, es zu veröffentlichen.

Another advice by Operacandy says, “Thank everyone who came and saw you in your show.”

to thank = danken
everyone = jeden (here: jedem)
to come = kommen (perfect tense: sein + gekommen)
to see = sehen (perfect tense: haben + gesehen)
show = here: die Aufführung

Dank jedem, der zu deiner Aufführung gekommen ist und dich gesehen hat.

With second person formal (Sie), we have to add the pronoun Sie.

Bitten Sie die Leute …
Danken Sie jedem …
With the second person informal, plural (ihr = you all) we drop the personal pronoun again and add a –t to the verb stem.
Bittet die Leute …
Dankt jedem …

Of course, there are irregular verbs like essen or sprechen.

essen
Iss eine Banane! Essen Sie deutsches Brot!

sprechen
Sprich langsamer! Sprechen Sie klar.

The verb sein (to be) is most irregular.
First person singular, formal (du-people)
Sei still!

Second person formal (Sie-people).
Seien Sie nett.

First person plural, informal (ihr-people)
Seid heute nett!

After an argument with his music teacher, the young composer in the Strauss opera “Ariadne auf Naxos” asks in a conciliatory tone to be good again.

The aria is called, “Seien wir wieder gut!” The character introduces another level of imperative, directed at wir, the first person plural. The imperative with wir is less a command, more a suggestion.

Trinken wir einen Tee.

Der Artikel ist jetzt langweilig (boring). Singen wir jetzt.

You will find the ten tips on the social media etiquette for opera singers at www.operacandy.com/social-media-etiquette-for-opera-singers/

You can read more about the imperative and a linguistic analysis of the aria “Seien wir wieder gut” in my book “Ach ich fühl’s – German for Opera Singers in Three Acts: Studying, Speaking, Singing.” Lulu Press, 373 pages, ISBN: 978-1-312-46345-5

product_thumbnail More information about the book: click here.

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