Forum Rocket German German Vocab Vocabulary unterhalten vs sprechen

Vocabulary unterhalten vs sprechen

sebongela

sebongela

Another question for the team. Can unterhalten and sprechen be used interchangeably?

Unterhalten to talk 

Sprechen to speak. 

I know that in English they can in many situations

Thanks once again 

Sebongela

sfpugh

sfpugh

Hi Sebongela

Since the tutor hasn't resonded, you may find this link helpful:

https://hinative.com/en-US/questions/17374365

Sich unterhalten : to converse, it involves two people with talking and listening.

Reden : to talk, can be used as above but it doesn't have to be a conversation.

Sprechen: to speak, can be used as above, but also so say you speak a language. I think it is also used when you are asking to speak to someone such as on the phone.

I also find this tricky, maybe the tutor will enlarge.

 

 

sebongela

sebongela

Hi sfpugh 

Thank you, will look at the link. Fallen behind in my learning, as took a break for a month. A trip from coast to coast and back across Canada. So have been revising before I move on. 

Sebongela

Julia-Rocket-German-Tutor

Julia-Rocket-German-Tutor

Hallo Sebongela und sfpugh!

 

This is a good question, Sebongela, and thanks for providing some good points sfpugh! 

The verb sich unterhalten is often translated to “to talk” but you can think of it as “to have a chat/conversation” which requires at least two people to actively participate in the conversation. 

“Ich unterhalte mich gerade mit Sabine.” - “I'm having a chat with Sabine at the moment."

The other verb sprechen means “to speak”, so this doesn't necessarily imply that there is another person or that the other person is an active participant in the coversation. 

“Ich spreche gerade mit Sabine.” - “I'm speaking to Sabine at the moment.” 

“Er spricht drei Sprachen.” - “He speaks three languages.”

“Sie spricht so leise. Ich kann sie nicht verstehen.” - “She speaks so quietly. I can't understand her.”

“Sie sprachen von ihrem letzten Urlaub in Italien.” - “They spoke about their last holiday in Italy.”

Both words can sometimes be used interchangeably depending on the situation, e.g. “Ich spreche/unterhalte mich gerade mit Sabine.” - “I'm speaking with Sabine at the moment.” as long as the other person is an active part of the conversation.  

Sich unterhalten is also often used when having a casual and enjoyable conversation with someone as opposed to sprechen which could be more formal depending on the context, e.g. “Sein Chef möchte ihn/mit ihm sprechen.” - “His boss wants to speak to him.” 

 

I hope this helps!

 

Tschüss,

Julia

 

 

 

sebongela

sebongela

Hi Julia 

Thank you. I appreciate your feedback as always.

You explain the finer points of the language well and at my level. The sentences put it into a real life perspective as well 

Vielen dank Sebongela

sfpugh

sfpugh

I wonder if Julia could say something about “reden”, it barely features in the course. I only found one instance “Über's Reisen reden”, although the noun “die Rede” does appear 3 times.

 

I have encountered “reden” quite a lot watching shows and reading so I think it is quite common.

Julia-Rocket-German-Tutor

Julia-Rocket-German-Tutor

Hi sfpugh, 

 

Of course I can - my apologies that I didn't include it in my previous reply. Reden and sprechen can be used interchangeably most of the time. They both essentially mean “to communicalte verbally”. There are some regional differences, for example people in Northern Germany tend to use sprechen more often whereas people in the South often prefer reden

There is also a very small difference between both words that sometimes gets overlooked. Sprechen has more to do with the skill of using your voice to produce words and sentences. Reden on the other hand is more about the actual content of what someone is saying. 

Children always learn to speak first before they can talk. They start with a few words by copying others and then move to learning how to communicate their own thoughts and ideas.

“Mein Kind fängt an zu sprechen.” - “My child is starting to speak.”

A Nachrichtensprecher “news achnor/newsreader” usually reads the news from a piece of paper or teleprompter so their job is more about reading a given text out loud compared to a Redner “speaker” who gives an individual and independent speech about a topic. 

“Mir hat seine Rede (über den Umweltschutz in Asien) sehr gefallen.” - "I really enjoyed his speech (about the environmental protection in Asia). 

Many bird enthusiasts teach their pet birds how to say a few words or sentences but because a bird would never learn the human language like us, it can only copy words but can't talk or communictate their own thoughts like a person, hence you would use sprechen and not reden here:

"Der Papagei kann sprechen." - “The parrot can speak.”

 

I hope this clears things up a bit!

 

Viele Grüße,

Julia

 

 

 

 

 

sfpugh

sfpugh

Thank you for the explanation Julia. My main contact with Germany is in Bavaria so perhaps that is why I encountered reden to much.

I liked the parrot ananlogy.

HugoM5

HugoM5

is correct the sentence.

Mochte Sie mit mir für eine Stunde reden?

sfpugh

sfpugh

I think you probably intended:

Möchten Sie mit mir für eine Stunde reden?

Would you like to talk to me for an hour?

HugoM5

HugoM5

Yes Sfpugh , that was my try. Thank your for your answer. I really apreciate your help.

 

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