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 Post subject: Deutsche Kultur
PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 5:59 am 
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We've been having some interesting discussions on German culture showing up more and more. Which is great! ^_^
I'm so thrilled about that, I thought why not make a whole thread for it then we'll have a "home" for discussions on culture, driving rules, foods, holidays, books, movies, just everything that makes Germany German 8) Or maybe better said Deutschland deutsch ;)

That being said, I'm going to move our recent discussion about "you are wrong" vs "that's not right" here to kick this off :D

***

A German friend on mine on LJ found something interesting on an English community and thought that this would be a really good thing to share with all those learning German as well as English.

In English, as those of us that speak it know, to say "You are wrong." to someone is pretty rude, and will probably put the person you are talking into a defensive mood. Especially if you are arguing with them. We might say, "that's wrong" or "that's not right", but not outright, "you are wrong."

Well in German, it's completely the other way around. Saying "you are wrong" {Du irrst dich} is perfectly fine. But saying "That's not right" {Das ist nicht wahr} is considered very rude. Almost like calling someone a liar, she says.

This is very good to remember, though I'm sure I'll be the first to forget :blush:

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 Post subject: Re: Deutsch für Anfänger
PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 7:13 am 
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This is very useful Onyx. Here in the Netherlands it's the same way as in Germany. I didn't know it's rude in english :oops: Good thing to remember :hug:

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 Post subject: Re: Deutsch für Anfänger
PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 2:36 pm 
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I had no idea. I've never really gotten into an argument with anyone in German {now that would be funny, me hacking up German to yell at someone :lol: }, but I would never have thought saying 'you're wrong' is more appropriate than 'that's not right' :shock:

I think it might go along with what some people were discussing on one of the German culture LJ communities . In Germany, they are pretty darn direct about things. They just say what they mean and don't really embellish. And English confuses alot of them because the English speaking countries tend to sugar coat our words a bit. Instead of saying, oh that's an ugly dress you're wearing! We might say, well it's nice, but it just doesn't really suit you well. :lol: We call it tact and Germans call it annoying :lol:

Where I am from, we are known for our tact and sweet talk. Well we used to be, now a days it's hard to really see the cultural differences between here and the rest of the country. But a long time ago young women would come here to learn how to speak and be sociable.
I had no idea that this softening of our words could be so confusing to other languages. It's not that we're not saying what we mean, it's just we're trying to say it with as little conflict as possible. At least, that's how I see it ;)

Thankfully it seems most people are pretty forgiving when they know someone isn't a native speaker of their language ^_^
It does makes me wonder how many other little things I've said incorrectly and no one corrected me :oops:

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 Post subject: Re: Deutsch für Anfänger
PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 3:45 pm 
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^ I never knew this. It just goes to show how important cultural differences are - and what a world of difference there is!
Thanks for posting this interesting tidbit :D

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 Post subject: Re: Deutsch für Anfänger
PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:28 am 
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^^
Hehe, we are not always that direct. Depends a bit on the situation.
If for example a co-worker shows up with a new bad haircut and asks me about it, I will try to say it as nice as possible, like "Oh, I have to get used to it. It's very different from the one you had before."
If a friend asks me, I usually come up with something snarky like "You want me to be polite or to tell you the truth?"
And if it is a very close friend who knows my wicked sense of humor it'll be "What happened? You look like a exploded couch."

Anyhoo, what about people from Great Britain? I have a co-worker from England and a co-worker from Wales and both of them can be extremely direct.

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 Post subject: Re: Deutsch für Anfänger
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:07 am 
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On LJ we were discussing an article that is similar to what my friend told me.
Let me dig up the link here ... Why Americans (Britons, Canadians) don't say what they mean. Actually that is a link to an English blog talking about the article which is actually in German here: Warum Amerikaner (Briten, Kanadier) nicht sagen, was sie meinen.
Whew! I'm linked out :lol:

When we were talking about it, many Germans disagreed with the article, but others said it was spot on. I wonder if it's a bit of a regional thing.
I was telling them that all the Germans I have met have not been so blunt and direct as this article makes them seem. They may not prattle on like I do { :oops: }, but they have all been very capable of saying something negative in a "nice" way, heh.
I have been more hurt/upset over the bluntness of people from America and Canada than I have been over any German speaking person. But that's not a fair scale, since I've spoken to alot more Americans and Canadians than I have Germans :doh:
Still, I found the article to be rather ... stereotypical. Then again it could be my protective nature toward my friends kicking in. :|

But I know that English speaking people can be ... painfully direct :roll: And as far as here goes, it is a regional thing :?

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 Post subject: Re: Deutsche Kultur
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:55 am 
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This is a pretty cool idea ^_^ I was looking around the net a few months ago on German Culture and came across "Flirting in Germany" :P It was actually really interesting to read how different the 'mating rituals' are there :rolling: Let's see if I can dig this one up.... Ahhh yes here we go.... Its called "Flirting with Fräuleins, Hunting for Herren" :P

http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,1 ... 12,00.html

I think its strange that flirting is such a serious thing.... I know here in America its quite playful and entertaining, but they make flirting in Germany sound painfully formal :P

This line cracks me up though "Under those cold exteriors is often a hot, seething mass of passion." :rolling:

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 Post subject: Re: Deutsche Kultur
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 12:16 pm 
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:rolling: :rolling: Steph you've made my day :D
“Germans have the unique ability to bore the pants off of you” when it comes to amour. Perhaps: In the native habitat of homo curiosus s exus (the common, cautious subspecies of the German man), things can take a little longer and are a bit more considered than in other countries.
I've never noticed in Germany :wink:
At least they bore the pants off, that's a start :rolling:

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 Post subject: Re: Deutsche Kultur
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:52 pm 
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both interesting articles. :) the one about social rules and oberflächlichkeit and stuff really reminds me of discussions with some german friends of my roommate's who had lived in the US for a few years.... I'd say they pretty much would agree with the whole article.

and the social rules thing is not just a problem between anglo-saxons and germans tho... I keep getting chided by indian friends for saying thank you and please too much. LOL! ("no, no! there should be no please and thank you in the friendship!!" and heaven help me get out of it if I accidentally say, "oh, well, it is just how I was raised..." because that brings us to, "wait, don't you really mean it then??" :P :rolling: ) ...and that's just the tip of the iceberg....

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 Post subject: Re: Deutsche Kultur
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 12:19 am 
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^ :lol:
And then it's like, well ... of course I mean it, but I ... but ... I ... oh I give up :lol:

Steph that article was just so funny! :rolling:
Meinemutterhatmichschonimmervorsolchentypengewarnt :rolling: It took me like 5 mins of staring at it to figure it out :lol:
It is an interesting thought ... how differently we flirt. Not something that I thought about, but really should have I suppose :blush:

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 Post subject: Re: Deutsche Kultur
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 11:00 am 
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To me the flirt article seemed a bit over the top. It's perfectly okay for a guy to come over and say "Hi" and start a conversation. But then I mostly hang out with goths, artists and other freaks and you know these people are loose. :rolling:

But I have to defend German flirting culture a little bit. It's not as boring as it sounds. :lol:
Even though it may seem like the people flirting are just talking boring stuff, a lot is in the innuendo. And that can be very exciting. You create a lot of tension when you're not too direct, which finally leads to, what the author of the article so aptly called a "hot seething mass of passion". :lol:
Okay, I can put that differently: after several hours of talking bull, while you constantly think dirty thoughts, you are so worked up, that the only thing that can release such an amount of tension is mating like a Clingon. :rolling:

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 Post subject: Re: Deutsche Kultur
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 5:27 pm 
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^ :rolling: :rolling: Love the clarification... and now you've peaked my interest. :P I want a German to hit on me!!! :rolling:

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 Post subject: Re: Deutsche Kultur
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:00 pm 
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:rolling: :rolling: :rolling:
Ok, please don't be mad at me ... but in order to piss off my husband, I used to tell him that German sounded like Klingon.
I was only joking, of course :oops: But it annoyed him to no end and you know when you're first married, annoyance is a sign of love :lol: :wink: He would get so mad at me and rant and rave and I'd just laugh! :lol:
Ahem, sorry ... :oops: The Klingon comment reminded me of that :oops:

I figured that flirting can't be *that* reserved in Germany, but the article was really funny :lol: I mean if it took that long to get to that "hot seething mass of passion" there would never be any German babies born :lol:

Flirting through innuendo is an art form when done correctly. Admittedly, I've been almost overtaken completely by someone that was far better at it than me ;) You toss in a cute accent and I'm completely defenseless :lol:

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Last edited by Onyx Wolf on Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Deutsche Kultur
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 2:45 am 
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Well, as a language, I find German is more specific towards context and in wording than English. English seems to have a large degree of words that are considered synonymous and have multiple uses. "Love", for example, is taken less seriously in English than the German equivalent (From what I've read and from what native speakers have told me). In English, we love everything - "I love that show/those shoes/this restaurant/etc..." In German, the use of "lieben" is more constrained.
I actually find it to be an appealing aspect of the language - it feels as though you are being more frank when you actually use "Bekannte(r)" rather than "Freund(in)" to describe a relationship with a person. In English, "acquaintance" seems to have an odd stigma to it and people might take offense if you refer to them as acquaintances rather than friends.

As for German flirting, well, I can't say I have any experience in flirting with Germans. The only German women I know are way too old or in relationships, so I have no idea how Germans act in those situations. I like to think I would not fare too badly out there, though, if that article has any truth to it. I'm not fond of how forward one sometimes has to be over here in order to flirt.


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 Post subject: Re: Deutsche Kultur
PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 1:15 am 
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^ I think sometimes you have to be obvious over here. But then again, if they don't get that you're flirting with them, they might not be the right one afterall ;)

I know we toss around 'love' alot, like you said, which makes me think of how we also toss around 'hate' as well. I haven't really seen alot of that in German either. I have to stop myself from saying it sometimes when I'm angry :|

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