I had a meeting with a German Lehrerin and she asked me why I want to learn German, I wanted to say that "I like the German way of life, how focused they are, they care for work and how ethic they are today and helping others". Obviously I had no idea how to say it and the above sentence came out of my mouth and she said "Wirklich?".

It felt a bit awkward I must to say, so I have two questions.

  1. Is my response rascist in German point of view? In my country to say you love your culture and your people isn't rascist at all... different culture I guess. I didn't mean to offend her.

  2. How to fix it and say "I love German working ethics and how they treat other people today."

closed as primarily opinion-based by user unknown, äüö, Em1, Beta, Hubert Schölnast Jan 28 '17 at 11:58

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    You can translate "I like..." with "Ich mag...". I think "I love..." is a little bit to strong. That's noting with racism. – IQV Jan 27 '17 at 8:29
  • @IQV yes but my vocabulary isn't too strong so I forgot mag. But would sound better. Thanks. – Tony Tannous Jan 27 '17 at 8:30
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    Look up some definitions what racism is. Do you agree with one of them, then you can answer your question yourself. Do you want to debate different definitions, then it is off topic here. There is neither a common German point of view, what racism is, nor whether your opinion or feelings count as such or not. – user unknown Jan 27 '17 at 11:12
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    I assume she said something more than "Wirklich?"? As this alone would not indicate in the slightest that she thought your sentence was racist... – Gerhard Jan 27 '17 at 11:33
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    Maybe the "Wirklich?" was an expression of disbelief that you said "how ethic they are today" when, for all we know, the teacher might just have read an article about the latest Dieselgate findings or anything similar ;) – O. R. Mapper Jan 28 '17 at 11:09

Is my response rascist in German point of view ? In my country to say you love your culture and your people isn't rascsit at all... different culture I guess. I didn't mean to offend her.

No it's definitely not! Due to Germanys past, some people have problems to identify themselves with an idea of loving their country.
In Germany it's always a tightrope walk between being patriotic and sounding like a nazi. Especially because the right wing extremists use terms like you said for their propaganda.
But to say "Ich liebe die deutsche Kultur" is definitely okay!

How to fix it and say "I love German working ethics and how they treat other people today."

You could say something like:

Mir gefällt die Arbeitseinstellung der Deutschen und wie sie andere behandeln.

If you want to combine your two sentences you could go with something like that:

Ich liebe die deutsche Kultur und ihre Tugenden (virtues). Mir gefällt besonders die Arbeitseinstellung der Deutschen und wie sie andere behandeln.

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    Thanks! yes gefällt escaped from my mind as well. – Tony Tannous Jan 27 '17 at 9:29

Your question is hard to answer, it does not exist one real statement and it is very opinion based what is patriotic, racist or anything else. Also it is important to whom you speak. From a teacher I expect she understands that you are not a racist and that you want to say something nice and friendly. Personally I never would think this of a foreigner at a first glance. However I want to give some small tips:

  1. Avoid the word "Volk", it is burden and was misused by many bad leaders.
  2. "to love" is strong translated in German and should not used like this, to like or to admire or to value suits better in this context.
  3. Even if complicated try to be more descriptive and not to simple. It is always a danger of misunderstanding if you use very generic words like the whole culture or a whole nation. Try to use an example for what you like especially.

Finally a more moderate saying of your sentence could be:

Ich bewundere die Deutsche Kultur und die Deutsche Art zu leben.

  • Thank you! I am not a foreigner as I don't live in Germany. I am learning German in my homeland, but I guess its still OK as I am not a German she won't think I meant something rascist. I will avoid using volk again. Didn't know its such complicated to be used. Danke Thomas! – Tony Tannous Jan 27 '17 at 9:50
  • I disagree with your second point. It is okay to say "Ich liebe X" even its just an activity/object or something else. I use this term often to describe awesome things. – Artery Jan 27 '17 at 9:50
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    @Artery: I think it is subtle, I think in English to love is used rather relaxed and more often, in German it is really only used when you have absolutely no criticism left, probably also in English. – Thomas Jan 27 '17 at 9:55
  • All this nonsense about avoiding words. Is the problem with the ones who listen or the ones who speak? – Belzebu Jan 27 '17 at 13:25
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    @Belzebu Who listens. Its just an advice to use it carefully. This is a very sensitive topic in Germany. – Artery Jan 27 '17 at 17:33

Yeah try to avoid the word "Volk", it's very complicated how and when it's ok to use it in the context of Germany, mainly because the Nazis called everything they made "Volkssomething", like Volkswagen for example. Also watch out for grammar, it would be "ich liebe die deutsche Kultur und das deutsche Volk".

  • Why would volkswagen offend someone ? And thanks for Grammar correction. – Tony Tannous Jan 27 '17 at 9:38
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    No one would be, but indeed Volkswagen was heavily supported and build up by the Nazis. – Artery Jan 27 '17 at 10:12

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