Salz, eine Brezel und der Weg zum Bahnhof. Strategien des Bittens in Varietäten des Deutschen und im Serbischen

Elke Hentschel


This paper examines the verbal strategies used by speakers of German in Germany and Switzerland and speakers of Serbian in Serbia in order to voice a request. The participants in the
study were asked what they would say in the following three situations: Asking for the way to
the railway station in a strange city, asking their younger brother to pass the salt at the family
dinner table, and buying a pretzel at the local bakery. Subsequently, the use of downtoners
like 'please' or special particles was analysed, as well as the frequency of non-indicative verbal
modes (subjunctive or conditional), the occurrence an equivalent of excuse me at the beginning
of the request, and the use of greetings and address forms. The results show surprising
differences between the three groups.