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OT German V British Manners

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Very interesting, Widowmaker. Yes, I noticed a lot of what she is writing about.

But it's not all completely "chiseled in stone" that way.


She found (or verified) that Germans really don't do small talk, those little phrases

so familiar to the British about the weather or a person's general well-being, but which

she describes as "empty verbiage".

This is not totally true - we have that in Germany too. How are the kids? How's your granny?

The weather is supposed to get better; etc. Maybe we don't do it as much as the British and

Americans, that's true. But if you have a ride in a taxi, you often begin a conversation by talking

about the weather or such.


Saying things like "It's nice to meet you" are rarely meant the way they are said, she says.

"It's just words. It's simulating interesting in the other person."

From a German perspective, this is uncomfortably close to deceit.


This is often true, but again, not always. We also have such "pretended interest" by asking the

neighbour "Is your back a little better now?" or "It's nice to see you again!" But maybe we don't

do it so much.


Sometimes it's endearing, or at least the British think it is, as when this announcement was made

by British Airways pilot Eric Moody in 1982, after flying through a cloud of volcanic ash over Indonesia:

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four

engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get them going again. I trust you are

not in too much distress."


Very British, indeed! :grin:

I would prefer a British Captain in situations of distress - the way they would tell me would be almost

comforting the panicing soul.

I noticed, that my English friend's wife often said "I'm afraid I don't know that." And I was wondering

about that - why should she be afraid?


What about those sun-loungers - the seats by the pool, which German holidaymakers allegedly

grab at the crack of dawn?

"I think what you've got there is a clash of prototypical German efficiency with the prototypical

British sense of fair play," says Bousfield.


This is true, and it's a very bad habit of many Germans in holidays. Some seem to even get up earlier,

just to make sure they can place their towels on the chairs, and so occupy them first.

I really hate such behaviour!!! But you see - I'm German - and I would hate to do it.

Edited by Olham

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haha...fascinating insight Herr Olham!...I have to admit, merely chatting to you, and some other German Fellows here..I thought some of what was said in the article to be at best, slightly innacurate.


I really couldn't believe that German's never indulge in any 'small talk'.....it's, like you say...the most usual way of opening a conversation!


I have to point out, that the Brits are quite possibly TOO much into Small talk...and it gets a little boring...leaves me thinking "Why doesn't this person just spit it out..and say what he means!"

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Well, nobody's perfect, old chap - neither the British nor the Germans (not to speak of the French!) :grin:

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About the difference you could hear in a camping between a verbose: "Excuse me, neighbour, could you please turn down your radio, just a little, my wife couldn't sleep, she's got a terrible headache; the weather here doesn't suit her, too hot, she misses so much the banks of Thames and our healthy English fog; and the food the natives have here, oh Christ..." and a terse: "Die Radio ausmachen! Sofort!"

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Well, there is a ring of truth, Capitaine Vengeur. The Germans, I believe, are rather bad at making conversation,

and out of this social unability, may react pretty rude in such a case. Also, they are taught too much how to behave

correct, how not to behave etc. - and then they expect the same from everyone.

Our sordid ways to overcome the Teutonic rough in us often lead to new Teutonism, unintentionally.


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