Meanings

1.
to address, to bring up
(For issues or topics. They're the direct object then.)
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2.
to approach, to start talking to someone (usually a stranger)
("jemanden ansprechen" - usually because you want or need something, like help or a date.)
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3.
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.)
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4.
to respond to
("ansprechen auf-Acc" - ONLY in a sense of systems or sensors reacting to some sort of excitement or input.)
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My Articles

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.

Vocab:

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


Word Family

Root: *spere-

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

ankle

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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