Dictionary verb an verb *spere- sprechen ansprechen


to address, to bring up
(For issues or topics. They're the direct object then.)
How useful:
to approach, to start talking to someone (usually a stranger)
("jemanden ansprechen" - usually because you want or need something, like help or a date.)
How useful:
to appeal to, to be attractive to
("jemanden ansprechen" - this is mostly used for things that are appealing. Like the color of the curtains for instance. It sounds fairly unemotional.)
How useful:
to respond to
("ansprechen auf-Acc" - ONLY in a sense of systems or sensors reacting to some sort of excitement or input.)
How useful:


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German Prefix Verbs Explained - "ansprechen"

A fun look at the meaning of the prefix verb "ansprechen" and its various related words that range from being picky to eye candy.


ansprechen, die Ansprache, ansprechend, ansprechbar, sich angesprochen fühlen, anspruchsvoll

Word Family

Root: *spere-

The core idea of the root (according to English sources) was:


German sources have the meaning for focused on motion and describe it as

twitching with the foot, unrest

In German, it shifted toward a sense of tracking (by foot) and then kept going toward the sense of perceiving.

English doesn’t have many relatives – spur, spoor, spurn.
They haven’t shifted their meaning as much, so they’re still somewhat close to ankle or to a broad sense of twitching.

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