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Tell me again, why do I need one of these things?

Americans and Shocking Experiences

Americans and Shocking Experiences

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callum and hugh
Hey!  At "work" today I was up to my nose in American cruise ship passengers which meant really good ticket sales (think my general "good" and double it) not including the ones I said "just give me a $5 bill and that's ok" and did off the ticketing system.  I did a lot of explaining and managed to really shock a German lady with my "wir haben ein Informationsblatt and auch ein Audiokomentar auf Deutsch."

Tragisch, gibt es ein Expectation dass das Volk hier kein Lust Fremdsprachen lernen hat.

(I hope to god I got that right or this will be really embarrassing.  I now need to work out how "we can play it (das Komentar) over the PA system".  I have once explained my entire workplace in German - to a very patient German schoolteacher - but, seriously, I don't think I could ever do it again.  I give German visitors enough of a shock already, especially when I tell them I left school (and my German classes) over ten years ago)

I did my explanatory talk so much that my brain turned into cheese come the afternoon session.  My explanation that "if the Romans had television, they would probably watch something like "Pimp My Villa" got laughs from everybody. Hell, they'd probably ask for more diamonte, gold plated everything and a zebra-skin rug.

ETA: my work collegue du jour did his usual amazing electrical/lighting work, I am surprised he hasn't fried himself.  His test rig (for his repaired lighting units) was a plug/flex split open and the ends of the +/- wires stripped back to copper .  Maybe it was right and well that the Local Council had sent one of their fire-extinguisher inspectors in this morning.  
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    Almost entirely correct!

    Tragisch, gibt es ein Expectation dass das Volk hier kein Lust Fremdsprachen lernen hat.

    => Tragisch, erwarten die Leute, dass die Leute hier keine Lust haben, Fremdsprachen zu lernen.

    expectation could be literally translated as "Erwartungshaltung", but using the verb sounds better. People can be translated as both Volk and Leute, but Volk means the "people" as in a governmental situation (a monarch has a Volk, in a democracy the Volk gets to elect etc.)

    And, yeah, kind of? The thing is, we Germans are quite aware that our language is stupidly hard, what with our case system and different positions of verb and detachable verb particles, it's all in shambles, so it's almost always a pleasant surprise to find someone who willingly subjects themselves to this when they could be learning French or Spanish. There's also a certain bias against anglophone people, although that's worse for the US than for GB.
    • argh... the "zu" I nearly put it in but wasn't sure. The mantra of "if in doubt, leave it out" is epic fail. Uh, the Volk was an entire nation collective thing basically British People rather than british people. Honestly, it seems like there is a rejection... hell, I can't really put it into words... collective disappointment, maybe... it's like a culture of not learning or bothering to learn or even just using a flipping phrase-book because you are nationally inherently convinced that you have Top Language and the onus of learning a language is on people who don't speak English to learn our Language...

      ...I don't know whether that makes sense, but we still have people like my boss who think if you say things Loudly and Clearly in Short Sentences people will magically understand. It is toe-curling. I think there is a legal requirement to teach languages until 16, but honestly, gcse German or gcse everything seems to be of the school-exchange/ how to buy a train ticket in french (we _really_ had an entire lesson based around that) and not anything useful or interesting or that you would actually say in a proper conversation "mein Hobby ist Football, hast du ein Hobby?"

      Finally, finally, finally somebody at the top of the educational tree has woken up and realised that perhaps if they made lessons more interesting (and got away from the flash-card oral exams - yes, seriously) and talked more about blogs and casual conversation, understanding what is said to you, then they might actually improve the general standard (and make employers happier) and deal with the national attitude problem.

      Hey, don't do German down as a language, it taught me more about grammar and punctuation than my English classes ever did (for starters, I know what object and subject mean and what a superlative is) and actually I like dumping verbs at the end of subordinate clauses. It is also more use than Latin, which might explain why I forgot the stuff my entire degree was (supposedly) about but I can tell you about why there are really big stone walls in the basement. (Romans)

      Also, I keep saying that I will enlarge my vocabulary - medieval rubbish pits could be quite useful. ;-)
      • p.s. I like compound nouns - you can make them up and impress teachers. On paper, anyway, when I try to say them I stutter in the middle.

        Edited at 2015-06-21 09:15 pm (UTC)
        • Ah, I see. If you mean the people, you'd rather just say "die Deutschen" or "die Amerikaner".

          I think a lot of it is also experiencing that basically everyone in the entire word learns English in school, so most people don't even try. It makes me sad. :(

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