If Germans struggle to understand your sarcasm, it probably has something to do with one of two things, or if your really lucky both of these things:
1. They are struggling to understand your English, meaning you may be speaking too fast for them. This is normal and there is nothing wrong with it.
2. They don’t know you and, especially if number one above applies, have no idea how to gauge your humor/seriousness. I know many Germans who can understand sarcasm and use it themselves very well.
7. Humour is usually at other people’s expense/at the expense of others.
No, you might think this, but it is probably just because you’re a culturally incompetent and self righteous asshole who possibly deserves a little ridicule, but just doesn’t realize what you are when you travel outside of the United States. At least you have taken the first step to broaden your horizons, but too bad your still judging the rest of the world according to your American standards. For more on this, see ‘Culture Shock’ or the ‘Dimensions of Culture Learning’, then feel free to write me nasty notes in the comments section.
The Germans that I have meant all have a sense of humor and are pretty darn funny. Their humor is usually on the drier side though, which might take some getting used to. Here I think the same two point rule applies from point number 6 above.
8. Can’t do fractions (because of the easy/simple/convenient metric system).
You know what, I have trouble doing fractions and math in general unless cooking or tipping for service is involved. So what, it hasn’t necessarily stopped me in the world. The US is one of the few countries that doesn’t use the metric system. I think this one says more about those who say it than those who this comment is supposed to be about.
9. Wearing designer glasses is viewed/counts as a sign of individuality.
This comment might be about jealousy. Germans look darn fine in a nice pair of ‘designer’ glasses and why shouldn’t they get these glasses, their health care is far cheaper than the health care most Americans have but cannot afford when they really need it. Furthermore, I was just thinking that everybody looks the same. I might as well be in America because individuality, at least in outward appearance has seemed to go the way of the dogs thanks, I guess in part, to the proliferation of the internet and American television being imported in Germany (and the rest of Europe, poor things – Europe doesn’t need to know about Jersey Shore or Tia Tequila, thanks MTV for helping give America a bad name. No wonder the rest of the world thinks we have no culture, we export crap television like Australia exports their crap beer (saving the good stuff for themselves).
10. Opinionated/Know-(it-)alls/Are always right. Yes, they are. Yes, they really are.
After two years of meeting and teaching Germans, the only people in Germany that I know like this are other Americans living here, and I am NOT kidding.
Stay tunes for the rest of the fifty coming soon…
As always I welcome your comments.