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  • Betrifft

    What's that? Come again?

    Kommentar

    I attended a conference where one of the speakers was obviously a little hard of hearing. He said "What's that?" a lot when he didn't understand a particular question.
    Is it perfectably acceptable to say "What's that" rather than "I beg your pardon?". Is it considered slang and too informal?
    What about "Come again?"
    VerfasserMagnumTA27 Apr. 09, 14:02
    Kommentar
    it's not really slang, it's just casual speech.
    #1Verfasserdude27 Apr. 09, 14:16
    Kommentar
    "What's that?" is definitely politer than just "What?", and I would say that "Come again?" is somewhere between "What's that?" and "I beg your pardon" on the courtesy scale...
    #2Verfasser the kat (387522) 27 Apr. 09, 14:24
    Kommentar
    "Come again" means more like "could you repeat yourself"? or "would you say that again, please?"
    #3Verfasserdude27 Apr. 09, 14:26
    Kommentar
    Sure, dude, but that's what all of these phrases mean, isn't it? I didn't quite catch that, could you please repeat it?
    #4Verfasser the kat (387522) 27 Apr. 09, 14:27
    Kommentar
    Shouldn't it be "What was that?" instead of "What's that?"
    #5VerfasserAlpena27 Apr. 09, 14:29
    Kommentar
    @the kat: basically, yes, but keep in mind that "what's that?" could also be a request for clarification rather than a repeat. :-)

    @Alpena: true, but a lot of people will say the first rather than the latter.
    #6Verfasserdude27 Apr. 09, 14:37
    Kommentar
    sorry, I meant it the other way around. :-)
    #7Verfasserdude27 Apr. 09, 14:38
    Kommentar
    Eh? :D
    #8VerfasserAlpena27 Apr. 09, 14:41
    Kommentar
    I think "What's that?" in this context is the short form of "What's that you say?" Maybe it is in the present because we want the person to say it again.

    Come again is less polite than Wie bitte, more polite than "Was?".
    #9Verfasser Selkie (236097) 27 Apr. 09, 15:17
    Kommentar
    To me 'What's that' is somewhat more polite than 'Come again?', and both are somewhat more polite than just 'What?' or especially 'Huh?' But all of those leave something to be desired in a public setting such as a conference. Actually, for my taste, anything longer is better in any setting, e.g.,

    I beg your pardon?
    Sorry, could you repeat that?
    Could you say that again, please?


    I sometimes have the feeling that people who are hard of hearing slip into the habit of using the shortest form possible, whether it's polite or not. I don't know if they think we get tired of hearing the longer forms, or whether they just get tired of saying them and frustrated at having to ask people to repeat themselves. (My dad, for example, seems convinced that it's a conspiracy of everyone else to speak softer. (-; ) But it can certainly also get frustrating for the hearers.

    To me it would be better to address the problem once at greater length, e.g.: 'I'm afraid I'm having trouble catching what several of you are saying. Could I ask you all to speak up a good deal more?' Especially at a conference, where international accents might exacerbate the problem, that could be helpful. It might even spur someone to produce a second microphone for the questioners, or to station a relay person halfway to repeat questions as necessary.
    #10Verfasser hm -- us (236141) 27 Apr. 09, 20:52
    Kommentar
    deutsch mit "was?" nachzufragen ist schon recht unhöflich (das heisst "wie bitte"!!), unhöflicher jedenfalls als englisch "what's that?".

    Schon etwas irritierend für Deutsche, insbesondere weil "please" und "thank you" ja im sonstigen Sprachgebrauch viel grosszügiger verwendet werden als "bitte" und "danke". So habe ich es zumindest anfangs empfunden.
    #11Verfassermv28 Apr. 09, 14:00
    Kommentar
    Ist es denn gebräuchlich als Abkürzung für "I beg your pardon?" einfach nur "Pardon?" zu sagen?
    #12VerfasserlaleLu28 Apr. 09, 14:34
    Kommentar
    nur Pardon ist durchaus in der UK gebräuchlich - I beg your pardon finde ich etwas unüblich
    #13VerfasserMM UK28 Apr. 09, 14:43
    Kommentar
    I beg your pardon in the States is generally used like "Ich habe mich wohl verhört" or "Ich höre wohl nicht richtig" when someone says somthing obnoxious.
    #14Verfasser Selkie (236097) 28 Apr. 09, 15:07
     
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