Welcome to the second instalment of my interpretation of the die Zeit article regarding what the Americans notice about the Germans. If you would like to read the first ten observations and my interpretations of them, please look here.
11. Security/safety first, avoid taking any kind of risk / just don’t take any risks.
The Germans seem to have insurance for everything and „Ordnung muss sein (Order must be)!‟ We get looks every time we cross an empty street without cars. The signs on the crosswalks say to ‘be the example’ for the young ones and do not cross against the red.
12. They ruin every film by using the same dubbed/dubbing voices (/voiceover artists for dubbing/to dub them) over and over again.
They know Brad Pitt, Sylvester Stallone, Matt Damon, and Sean Connery’s voice it’s just too bad they all happen to be dubbed by the same German voice actors. The same goes for the female stars too.
With a private student that I was struggling to inspire with the English, as he hated the language company homework. We began talking about films and he mentioned Fight Club, one of my favorite films. While it wasn’t exactly business English, I thought the film could be a good discussion starter in English. After my student watched the film in English, he was amazed at the actors actual voices.
13. At parties and other meet-ups people are hardly ever introduced to each/one another.
I’ m sorry, what? Is the host supposed to go around with every new arrival introducing them to everyone else already at the party. Yeah, they do that in the US, sure. WTH?
14. Restaurant bills are not simply split / divided by the number of people present. / People do not just split the bill when it is time to pay in a restaurant. Everyone pays for exactly what they had/ordered, (down) to the nearest cent.
Now they’re just being nitpicky. Sometimes this is funny but I don’t think it is necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I like this. Besides, if someone says they will treat, you actually don’t even see the bill come to the table (in my experience), I love it.
15. The art of conversation is largely unknown.
I have heard Germans be equated with coconuts and Americans to peaches. Here is a nice lesson plan explaining this analogy. Because of this difference, many Americans see Germans as not entirely understanding the art of conversation, while they often see Americans as being fake because of the way they can ‘talk to anybody’. In fact, Oh My God, My Wife is German has explained this best, so I will just refer to their blog. In fact, I couldn’t agree more about the following statement (plus it is pretty funny):
“However, get to know Frau Säddlebags and you would likely find beneath her gruff, coconut exterior lies a soft, sweet center; a combination of generosity and loyalty reserved for true friends and family members. You would also find a disgusting, milky white fluid high in saturated fat. (Oh My God, My Wife is German, 31.08.11)”
16. Germans consider their abrupt approach/manner (to be) honesty/(as) being honest(,) but to Americans this comes across as dreadfully/awfully aggressive.