Kai-Oliver Geisler wrote:
> "Ich tu' mal das Fenster zumachen"
> or: "Tust Du heute noch die Wäsche abnehmen?"
McWhorter writes that "in many colloquial dialects of Germanic
languages, one can use 'do' in a way kind of like English's
He claims, however, that compared to English, this usage "is something
quite different", as follows:
1. "For one, German's version is optional. One might say 'Er tut das
screiben,' but the simple 'Er schreibt das' is also alive and well,
and in fact, much more usual."
2. "Then, most importantly, meaningless 'do' is meaningless, but
German's 'do' is meaningful. It is used when you want to emphasize
some part of the sentence." He goes on to illustrate this. Whether
or not this argument is accurate is up to you native speakers of
German dialects to determine.
3. "History of English specialists seem to suppose that it's just
that English merely drifted one step beyond German's 'do' -- making it
required instead of optional. But if that were so natural, so same-
old same-old, then surely it would have happened in some other
Germanic language sometime [...] surely some small dialect of
something somewhere -- some villagers in the northern reaches of
Sweden, some farmers down in some Dutch dell, some Yiddish speakers in
a shtetl -- somebody, somewhere would have come up with their own
meaningless 'do' just by virtue of shitte happening. But they haven't."