Germans still pretty assertive about their language inside Europe

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Et hotellrom består i utgangspunktet av et rom med seng, skap, et bord og en vaskeservant, men de fleste nyere hoteller har idag rom med tilstøtende privat bad. Andre bekvemmeligheter inkluderer ofte en telefon, en vekkerklokke, TV og etterhvert også internettforbindelse. I tillegg har mange hotellrom en minibar (som ofte inneholder et lite kjøleskap) med snacks- og drikkevarer, som man betaler for når man sjekker ut av hotellet.

I've written on a number of articles about how Germans seem to be pretty terrible at promoting their language by almost always switching to English whenever it's obvious that you're not German, even for people that are studying the language pretty hard but are still obviously not German. This can eventually lead to a weakening of a language as Germans begin to unconsciously create the impression that German is a language that only Germans use, that others shouldn't even try, and that German thus is just a local language that has no place in international settings.


It seems that this isn't always the case. There's a discussion here in Norwegian that began with the idea of an international language (the op suggested that Esperanto and Interlingua could both be viable candidates; no mention of any others), which naturally led into the more general discussion of languages overall, and one person working at a hotel wrote that German tourists are the worst in refusing to use English, sticking with German even when he tells them in English that he doesn't speak German.

Here's the gist of what he said: "I know Germans pretty well; I work at a hotel at the moment. It irritates me without end that they open with "sprechen si deutsch" (not sure if that's written right), and when I politely say "no" in English they continue to speak in German and go on about a "problem" they have, and then look at me like I'm dumb (I think that's what this part means) because I don't know what they're saying."

That person also goes on to mention that though most people seem to be able to get by in English these days, those that speak German, French and Spanish are the most likely to not know a word.

Reminds me of a conversation from Deutsch - Warum Nicht:
Frau: Guten Morgen. Ich möchte den Chef sprechen.

Andreas: Guten Morgen. Einen Moment bitte. (loud voice in the back) Frau Berger? Hanna, ist Frau Berger bei dir?

Hanna: Nein. Sie hatte Zahnschmerzen. Sie ist beim Zahnarzt.

Andreas: Tut mir leid. Die Chefin ist nicht da. Kann ich Ihnen vielleicht helfen?

Frau: Das hoffe ich. Die Dusche in meinem Zimmer ist kaputt.

Andreas: Entschuldigung, das haben wir nicht gemerkt.

Frau: Sie hat die ganze Nacht getropft. Und morgens war alles ganz naß.

Andreas: Ich gebe der Chefin Bescheid. Wir bringen das natürlich in Ordnung.

Frau: Das hoffe ich. Auf Wiedersehen.

Andreas: Auf Wiedersehen.

See, that's how you deal with a German tourist with a problem when you work at a hotel. Nice and easy.


Anonymous said...

Hi Dave!

At the beginning of the dialog, there's an error: It must be "den Chef", not "det Chef"!


Me said...

Ja, das war ein Typo. Danke!

Anonymous said...

Haha, I think we Germans are pretty famous for our "Meckern" (complaining, whining), especially as tourists. There are many people here who somehow expect everybody else to speak German, too, and can't handle it when they don't. I suppose it's a generational thing, though, as it seems to get better with younger people.

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