As a little farewell for us three exchange students from Germany we organised a typical German dinner for the course. For the Abendbrot we found most of the ingredients at The German Deli, a shop with all our delicacy. In particular I enjoyed the proper bread again!


This exchange did not only teach me about the British but also about my own culture. What do people think about Germans? I found a nice book that I want to quote. Funnily I found myself in lots of the following points (which should be seen not too serious ;)):

  • The Germans are thought of as efficient, self-obsessed, arrogant and domineering – altogether too good at finance and manufacturing.
  • Germans do not know everything, they just know everything better.
  • They would like to be respected for their devotion to truth and honesty. They are surprised that this is sometimes taken as tactlessness, or worse.
  • Germans hate breaking rules, which can make life difficult because, as a rule, everything not expressly permitted is prohibited.
  • The Germans pride themselves on their efficiency, organization, discipline, cleanliness and punctuality.
  • No phrase warms the heart of a German like 'alles in Ordnung', meaning everything is all right, everything is as it should be.
  • What is yours must be clearly separated from what is mine; […] the true must at all costs be distinguished from the false.
  • As a nation, the Germans are racked with doubt and fight constantly to keep chaos at bay.
  • Perfectionism is a prime German characteristic which benefits their auto industry, but can be a trial at parties.
  • Frequently, the fun of being in a club is more to organize an acitivity than acutally carry it out.
  • One of the more depressing aspects of German life is that all Germans love to point out to you what you are doing wrong or what you are failing to do right.
  • [In office] Plenty of loud grunting and complaining lets everyone know that you are exerting yourself to the utmost in the cause of Gründlichkeit (thoroughness).

  • The Germans take their humour very seriously. It is not a joking matter.
  • To help you get a joke, Germans will gladly explain it to you.
  • Germans don't read for pleasure; they read in order to be intelligent – or at least to seem to be so.
  • A polite 'How are you?' is likely to be answered with a comprehensive, head-to-toe survey, taking in all the bodily systems and missing none of the major organs. If you don't want to know, you'd do well not to ask.

  • Words may be long and guttural, but there are no tricks to pronounciation – what you see is what you get.
  • German is a remarkably flexible language, and one in which new words are easy to make up. You simply take two, three, or pretty well any number of existing ones, and stick them alltogetherabitlikethis. This doesn't just make a nice new word, it introduces a whole new concept, perhaps explaining why the German psyche is so fearfully complicated. For instance, in a park the notice Astbruchgefahr registers in one swift glance that you are within the orbit of 'branch-dropping-off-danger'.
  • Unsurprisingly the German tongue has given rise to many ideas and notions contained in one word, which are unmatched in other languages: Realpolitik, Schadenfreude, Weltschmerz, Frömmelei, kleinkariert, Zeitgeist, Vergangenheitsbewältigung.

1 comment:

hurraderlenzistda said...

that is so true!
I found out so much about me and the German culture on exchange too :)