11:28 GMT11 July 2020
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    An investigation by the German newspaper Bild has revealed that German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is the friendliest member of the country's cabinet.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier wave as they attend a meeting of the German Federal Parliament, Bundestag, at the Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015
    © AP Photo / Wolfgang Kumm/dpa via AP
    German newspaper Bild has investigated which ministers in the German government are on personal terms with each other, and with German Chancellor Angela Merkel

    In contrast to English, in which speakers use the same pronoun for everyone they speak to, German has two forms of the second-person pronoun "you," which allow the speaker to distinguish between formal (Sie) and more friendly (du) relationships.

    According to Bild's investigation, the friendliest member of the cabinet is Minister for Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who is on "du" terms with ten other cabinet colleagues.

    However, Steinmeier, like other members of the SPD party, which has been in a coalition with Merkel's Christian Democratic Union and its Bavarian Christian Social Union sister party since 2013, is not on friendly terms with the Chancellor.

    "Cabi-'nice'…​only five ministers are allowed to call Merkel 'du'."

    Angela Merkel is "duzen," meaning "uses the du form," with just five members of the cabinet, all of whom are from her own party. 

    They are Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, Health Minister Hermann Grohe, Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt and German Chancellery Chief of Staff Peter Altmaier.

    The most formal, yet consistent, member of the cabinet is Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble, also from Merkel's CDU party. Bild reports that Schauble respectfully calls everybody "Sie," no matter what.


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