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Rammstein's song "Du Hast" apparently means "You Hate", but "You Hate" in German is "Du Hasst". However, "Du Hast" means "You Have" in German. Is "Du Hast" supposed to mean "You Have" or "You Hate"? Is it intentionally spelled incorrectly?

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5 Answers 5

18

It's an intentional play on words.

When we hear the opening lyrics:

Du
Du hast
Du hast mich

It's unclear if they're saying "Du hast mich" ("You have me") or "Du hasst mich" ("You hate me").

It's not until the later text:

Du hast mich gefragt
Du hast mich gefragt
Du hast mich gefragt und ich hab nichts gesagt

That we actually get the real meaning: "You asked me and I said nothing."

So, actually, it's neither "You have me" nor "You hate me." Instead, it's a part of a past-tense construction. Literally, they are saying "You have asked me and I have said nothing."

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  • 3
    You just answered my question on German language meta :-)
    – Mawg
    Sep 12, 2018 at 11:58
  • 1
    @Mawg I love when the communities overlap like that!
    – Richard
    Sep 12, 2018 at 11:59
  • Me too. I check Area 51 from time to time, but didn't even know that this one existed. Expect to see me active ;-)
    – Mawg
    Sep 12, 2018 at 12:06
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A calqued translation:

Thou

Thou hast

Thou hast me

Thou hast me asked

Thou hast me asked and I have not said

See, English is a lot like German!

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I plugged this into a German to English translator and it says:

Du
Du hast
Du hast mich
Du hast mich gefragt
Du hast mich gefragt und ich hab nichts gesagt

equates to:

You...
You have...
You got me...
You asked me...
You asked me and I did not say anything...

Seems to me to be a clever play on words. At first it sounds like it's going to be a love song, and then it turns out to be more of a hate song (You're asking me and I'm just ignoring you).

Of course, then the rest of the song:

Willst du bis der tod euch scheidet
Treu ihr sein fьare alle tagen

Nein!  Nein!

translates to:

Will you until death do you part
Be faithful to her?

No!  No!
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Apart from the possible wordplay mentioned in the answer by @Richard, the song is titled Du Hast, not "hasst". "Du hast mich" should mostly likely just be translated as "you got me (stumped)". Later on it goes "You have asked me (a question) but I haven't answered."

The whole song is about a guy's reaction as his girlfriend has just proposed to him, possibly even of what goes on in his head while she is still waiting for his answer. Eventually it ends with the traditional words said by the priest during a wedding (until death do you part etc) followed by 'nein', no.

The official music video is on a similar theme about a woman waiting for her man to come out from a strange meeting that could perhaps be interpreted as some sort of surprise bachelor party(?) but it ends with the man walking away from the woman.

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I was asked to sing this song at a rock open mic that I do sound for. I lived in Germany from 92-04, my response was this:

“I actually think I could pull that off… and a chance to say why the song was written…and what happens to the royalties… Foster Kids get all the $$.

You asked me, I did not give you be an answer… You said you’d together till death so you part… NO

NO

All about the orphans… Not once is hate said in that song…most think it means You Hate… It is “you have””

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