A story illustrating something of the German character

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A story illustrating something of the German character

Post by stumpjumper » Tue 08 Dec, 2015 9:28 pm

A childless couple adopts a tiny German baby.

It soon becomes obvious that the baby doesn't talk. Various tests are done over the years, and the child always returns normal results, except that he doesn't talk.

The parents are mystified, then one day...

They gave the now five year old some dessert cake. The child ate a mouthful, and said

'Zis apfel strudel is a little tepid.'

The parents were amazed and overjoyed.

'Gottlieb!' they said, 'You can speak! Why have you never spoken before?'

'Because until now,' said Gottlieb, 'Everything has been satisfactory.'
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Re: A story illustrating something of the German character

Post by T-Modell » Tue 08 Dec, 2015 9:30 pm

:laughing6: :laughing6: :laughing6: ... I guess I should be offended :laughing5: :laughing5:
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Re: A story illustrating something of the German character

Post by Lance » Tue 08 Dec, 2015 9:35 pm

T-Modell wrote: I guess I should be offended
Therefore under section 18C of the racial discrimination act you are entitled to make a formal complaint. :laughing6: :laughing6:
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Re: A story illustrating something of the German character

Post by stumpjumper » Thu 10 Dec, 2015 12:29 am

: ) There's nothing offensive about it.

Two true stories:

I asked a new German business aquaintance and his wife to dinner.

'What time?' asked the guest.

I thought for a moment.

'Oh, 7.30, 8,' I said.

They arrived at 7.38.

'We thought you might be cooking a soufflé or something,' was the guest's tactful excuse.

(Now that story doesn't racially stereotype Germans either. The story would have been exactly the same had he been Dutch.)



Some years ago, I worked at a drawing board next to Gerhard, a very decent and pleasant bloke, but not someone noted for hilarity.

'May I borrow your German curve?' he asked.

'Sure,but don't you mean my French curve?' I replied, offering him the 'French curve' template I had on my desk.

'No,' he said, 'Your German curve. There it is,' and he picked up my ruler.

'Gerhard!' I said. 'You've made a joke!'

'Yes,' he said seriously. 'Do not think we Germans have no sense of humour.'

That was the only time I heard Gerhard say anything funny, but I suspect he saw a lot of humour in life.
Last edited by stumpjumper on Thu 10 Dec, 2015 12:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A story illustrating something of the German character

Post by T-Modell » Thu 10 Dec, 2015 12:35 am

stumpjumper wrote:: ) There's nothing offensive about it.

Two true stories:

I asked a new German business aquaintance and his wife to dinner.

'What time?' asked the guest.

I thought for a moment.

'Oh, 7.30, 8,' I said.

They arrived at 7.38.

'We thought you might be cooking a soufflé or something,' was the guest's tactful excuse.

....
OK time to fight back :laughing6: :laughing6:

New Years Eve 1996, Hong Kong. We asked our new English friends to come over to dinner. The kids were little, so we wanted to start earlier. He suggested "half seven" ... fine.

So my then wife and me worked our asses off to be ready on time. 18:30, no one there. 18:45 still nobody, neck swelling. 19:00 nobody, first medium mild curses. 19:15 I got louder, bluudy frigging pommies! ... 19:30 the door bell rang. Not even a word of excuse ...

That's how I learned, that "half seven" in English is something different than "halb sieben" in German :laughing5:

Thomas

P. S.: To this day, we're still good friends!
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Re: A story illustrating something of the German character

Post by stumpjumper » Thu 10 Dec, 2015 12:46 am

I made the same mistake in Klagenfurt, after translating the words not the phrase into English. I made another faux pas there, too. My hosts played some Mozart after dinner.

'Do you recognise the music?' they asked.

'Yes,' I said, adding to be polite and sociable, 'I like most German music.'

I do, too, but I have never forgotten the reaction to that comment, and that Mozart was Austrian.

I like Germans and Germany very much, by the way. :occasion5:
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Re: A story illustrating something of the German character

Post by T-Modell » Thu 10 Dec, 2015 12:49 am

Reminds me of the biggest Austrian achievement ever ....




That the whole world believes, Beethoven is Austrian and Hitler is German :laughing6:
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Re: A story illustrating something of the German character

Post by TheMadRacoon » Thu 10 Dec, 2015 10:04 am

Thomas, you didn't explain for the rest of us when is "half seven" in Germany? Surely not 3:30 ?
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Re: A story illustrating something of the German character

Post by Lance » Thu 10 Dec, 2015 7:00 pm

6.30. Half seven is half to seven.
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Re: A story illustrating something of the German character

Post by T-Modell » Thu 10 Dec, 2015 7:08 pm

We Germans are just logic, i. e. "half seven" means, the seventh hour is half done, so 06:30.

But to confuse you all, even inside Germany, some tribes use different time expressions. Here in the South you can say "viertel sieben" or "dreiviertel sieben" (quarter seven, three-quarter seven). It means 18:15 or 18:45. In the North nobody understands what you mean. For them 18:45 is "viertel vor sieben" (quarter to seven).

My wife had (and has) a lot of fun learning German :laughing6:
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Re: A story illustrating something of the German character

Post by Djenka018 » Sun 20 Dec, 2015 2:55 pm

T-Modell wrote:We Germans are just logic, i. e. "half seven" means, the seventh hour is half done, so 06:30.

But to confuse you all, even inside Germany, some tribes use different time expressions. Here in the South you can say "viertel sieben" or "dreiviertel sieben" (quarter seven, three-quarter seven). It means 18:15 or 18:45. In the North nobody understands what you mean. For them 18:45 is "viertel vor sieben" (quarter to seven).

My wife had (and has) a lot of fun learning German :laughing6:
Thomas
Not alone there, most of E and SE Europe will say "half-seven" for 18:30h but the pinnacle of oddness is saying "5 minutes to quarter to..." (and I am not joking).
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Re: A story illustrating something of the German character

Post by konrad » Sun 20 Dec, 2015 5:26 pm

and then there is the Female system of time measurement.

Q "How long will you be darling?"
A "Not long"
Q "How long is that"
A "Soon"
Q "Well I still don't know how long you will be"
A "In a while"
Q And that means"
"I TOLD you" . "What part of not long, soon or in a while don't you understand" :angry4: :angry4: :angry4:

On a serious side 7:30 is "seven thirty" 7:47 is "seven forty seven" etc
i.e. hour followed by the number of minutes elapsed from the commencement of that hour.
EU and UN have been sitting on their hands too long. :naughty: :naughty: :naughty:

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Re: A story illustrating something of the German character

Post by T-Modell » Sun 20 Dec, 2015 6:42 pm

konrad wrote:...
On a serious side 7:30 is "seven thirty" 7:47 is "seven forty seven" etc
i.e. hour followed by the number of minutes elapsed from the commencement of that hour.
EU and UN have been sitting on their hands too long. :naughty: :naughty: :naughty:
OK let's get German :laughing6: ... the 47 minutes aren't in the "7." hour, they are in the 8th hour of the day :laughing6:

... and to top that, in the English language you don't even know if it's 7 in the morning or 7 in the evening!

Hah :laughing6:
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Re: A story illustrating something of the German character

Post by Ivanerrol » Sun 20 Dec, 2015 9:22 pm

Half seven conundrum between German and English is not confined to those two countries.

Malaysia and Indonesia share a common language - Bahasa Melayu. (Although to be honest there are many subtle differences).

Malaysia uses a lot of English within there patois while Indonesians have a mix of some Chinese dialects and dutch technical words.

But the Euro Dutch traits have been ingrained into Indonesia while the English into Malaysia.

Stenga Tujuh in Indonesia means 6:30........ in Malaysia it generally means 7.30.
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Re: A story illustrating something of the German character

Post by T-Modell » Sun 03 Jan, 2016 12:40 am

Here's a good one ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgB0bi90geY

It's in German, but it's two mothers discussing how important it is to start bilingual already at early stages :laughing6: ... she firmly speaks only English to her daughter and chinese to the baby ...

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Re: A story illustrating something of the German character

Post by Pete49 » Sun 03 Jan, 2016 3:12 pm

That reminds me of how I spoke English when I first went to school here. I constructed the sentence in german then translated it to English as the mother did. (I was only 7 lol) now regretfully battle to speak german at all. I guess after 60 years here it happens.
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Re: A story illustrating something of the German character

Post by Bartman4800 » Tue 05 Jan, 2016 1:01 pm

Ah...the Germans and English....Don't mention the war :angry4:

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Re: A story illustrating something of the German character

Post by John Green » Tue 05 Jan, 2016 7:57 pm

That's how I learned, that "half seven" in English is something different than "halb sieben" in German :laughing5:

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Re: A story illustrating something of the German character

Post by T-Modell » Wed 06 Jan, 2016 2:44 am

Hi,

I've got another one for you guys, one I did when I went to Hong Kong in 1996. I had my school English and a bit of business course English. One of my first tasks was to find local people for commissioning. So I went to our local headquarters, to human resources. There was a really pretty young girl (around 25), I was married, two kids. So I went to her and said "We really have to make a date. You know, we have to talk about how we get people". I got that weird look from her and thought "what's her problem" ... so I repeated "we really have to have a date urgently" ...

Later I found out, that there are more words for the various "meetings" in the English language :laughing6: :laughing6:

Thomas
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