Franziska Schmidt, one of MLC’s honorary associates in German, has recently started writing a blog about English/German cultural differences, in which she highlights the importance of embracing not only the language of a nation, but its food, music and customs as well. Franziska’s blog is written in both German and English, so both English- and German-speaking readers have the chance to understand each other’s oddities. Here, Franziska gives us a taster of what her blog is about.
Having lived in Liverpool for nearly 14 months (note the German preciseness), I have been asked questions about Germans calling bread ‘toast’, about German sausages, and about German attitudes to queuing on several occasions. While teaching German courses for Continuing Education, more and more questions about German oddities arose, differences between German and English customs were discussed, and I realised that language learning is a lot more than just studying grammar and vocabulary.
When you move to a country, you usually know about some common stereotypes: British people love to talk about the weather; they drink black tea with milk; they are champions in queuing. On the other hand, Germans are direct and precise; they love bread and sausages; they lack politeness and the ability to partake in small talk.
Of course, nobody really wants to admit to being a stereotypical Brit or German. Yet, let’s be honest: stereotypes do not just appear out of thin air. Some of them can ring true.
Comparing my manners to British ones, wondering about how and why things are done differently here, and experiencing British life in all its facets not only improved my understanding of British culture, but my understanding of German culture as well. Yes – I am German. I am punctual, I miss German summers and winters, I plan my days very efficiently and I write text messages that read ‘Shall we meet at 2:25pm?’ and ‘I am on my way. Will be there in 7 minutes!’ And I am proud of it! By embracing English culture, I learned to embrace my own one. To truly understand a nation and to develop a feeling for the language, one needs to embrace its culture – that includes trying different foods, listening to the local radio station, talking to local people, and even adopting their behaviours.
For these reasons, I decided to start a blog about ‘Denglish’ oddities and culture in both English and German. Whether you are a Brit learning German, or a German living in the UK (and so you are missing baking with Vanillinzucker and Brezeln und richtige Brötchen for breakfast), or just an individual who is wondering about cultural understanding in general, please read my blog and comment and ask questions!
You will find a German perspective on English culture, German recipes, tips to improve your language, recommendations of German and British food, websites, TV series and more. My blog aims to help both English and German readers learn something about one another, to widen their understanding of other cultures, and to see and embrace the wonders of cultural difference.
You can read the blog at feelforlanguage.blogspot.co.uk.