Questions tagged [culture]

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77
votes
14answers
9k views

How can a native English speaker know when it is appropriate to use the polite (Sie) or the familiar (Du)?

In a language such as English, where there are no "built-in" (so to say) polite and familiar forms, what are some simple tips or guidelines for when to use the polite or the familiar forms? Are there ...
36
votes
7answers
12k views

How offensive is Fachidiot?

I'm trying to understand how offensive the word Fachidiot is. Is the idiot bit just tongue in cheek or does it imply a lack of intelligence? Does it somehow imply the person is at least an expert in ...
32
votes
5answers
37k views

Do Germans count on fingers starting from the thumb? [closed]

I’ve watched the Inglourious Basterds movie. In the bar scene the English spy is ordering three beers and held his three fingers up and by this giving himself away. Is it true in the real life? When ...
25
votes
11answers
14k views

Is it okay to have an email address called “SS”?

One of our employees has a name like “Stephen Starr”. Since our company email addresses are based on initials, this means that his email address should be ss@example.com. Another of our employees say ...
16
votes
5answers
3k views

What to say after someone sneezes?

I've heard Germans saying: Gesundheit But in a movie, someone sneezes and someone else saying: Heuschnupfen? Is it polite? Is it colloquial? What else could I say when talking to someone and ...
15
votes
1answer
15k views

Why do German students knock on the desk? [closed]

When I was in Germany it was my first lecture and I was a little bit sleepy. Suddenly I woke up because all students were knocking on the desk, at first I thought there was a strike. But later I ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Can one say “Schönheit”/ “Bescheidenheit” instead of “Gesundheit”?

When somebody sneezes, we say "Gesundheit". Can this word be replaced by "Schönheit" or "Bescheidenheit"? One of my colleagues has suggested me these words. What do these words mean in this situation?...
13
votes
7answers
2k views

Which words or phrases should non-native speakers avoid to prevent unintentional offense?

When I studied German in the early 90s, we were taught that an unmarried woman is a Fräulein, but I recently learned that Fräulein is offensive. We aren't all ugly Americans, and I don't want to fall ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

How do German job ads specify both female and male role types?

I just saw an job ad on Stack-Overflow in German, and it said Software Entwickler/in Is the Entwickler/in referring to both genders of developers? And if so, do German job ads typically use ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

Does the concept of the Master Bedroom exist in German Language/Culture?

In German Culture, does the concept of a Master Bedroom, exist? In America, most houses have a master bedroom that is constructed differently than the others, and is usually identified as such on the ...
9
votes
4answers
452 views

Gibt es deutsche Mythen über (superlative) Eigenschaften der deutschen Sprache?

Viele Sprachen hegen und pflegen verschiedene Mythen oder angenommene „Fakten“ über sich selbst. Z.B. die bekannte angebliche Tatsache, dass in irgendeiner inuitischen Sprache, „Schnee“ mit einem ...
8
votes
1answer
248 views

Culture curiosity. Baloon with a wish

It is a question more about culture than German language. I live in Poland. Last week I found in my garden a balloon out of the gas. On the balloon there was a drawing of a girl saying Viel Spaß ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

What pronunciation is more influential, higher status or standard?

I was looking into different pronunciations, I saw there is a difference between regions within Germany and also with other German speaking countries, making me wonder which set of pronunciation rules ...
7
votes
1answer
190 views

Wie heißt der bayrische „Kochenball“?

Ich habe gehört, dass es einen traditionellen Ball in Bayern gibt. Er heißt etwa „Kochenball“ und wird am Morgen gefeiert. Die Geschichte ist, dass der Ball für die Diener war, weil sie abends keine ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Polite way of asking for a discount?

Suppose I want to buy something and I'm trading with a German person. I want to drop the price a bit. Is this usually done in German, and in what context? Is “Gibt es einen Rabatt?” a good way of ...
5
votes
5answers
8k views

What does “Knallerfrauen” mean?

Google translate doesn't seem to make sense with this word. I found this comedy show that I think It's hilarious, which its name is this word. What does "Knallerfrauen" mean?
5
votes
1answer
368 views

Why do translations of German books read so differently from other books?

I'm unsure whether my question is on-topic here, but it's about the German language, so I've decided to try. I am an undergraduate student from Japan who learns foreign languages and loves reading ...
5
votes
2answers
226 views

Pattern jokes in German culture?

I came across this website with a selection of (somewhat dark) jokes with this format: Alle Kinder ..., nur nicht [Name], [rhyming couplet] Is this format of joke common and comparable to knock knock ...
3
votes
4answers
625 views

Should a non native try to adapt his German when traveling to Austria?

Say a person that have learnt standard German (Hochdeutsch) as a foreign language travels to Austria as a tourist. Should one try to speak with an Austrian Accent, using Austrian dialect words, when ...
3
votes
1answer
132 views

Was ist der Düsseldorfer Radschläger?

I've heard a story about Düsseldorf and Düsseldorfer Radschläger was mentioned like the first assoсiation connected with this city. Is it some kind of local tradition or a person?
2
votes
1answer
374 views

Nod and Shake Head

I live in a place where there are a lot of cultural differences. So, I assume German may also have cultures or habit that may differ from mine and some that are the same. So, here are some questions ...
2
votes
1answer
203 views

What can I send a German widow as a mark of respect?

It's nearly a year since my Gastvater died - what can I send his widow as a mark of respect? I was thinking of an engraved pebble with the phrase gone but never forgotten or German equivalent. I'd ...
2
votes
1answer
124 views

Ist es unfreundlich “Du bist schlecht für Herz.” zu sagen?

Ich bin neu in Deutschland und ich habe eine Freundin. Sie hat sich schlecht gefühlt, als ich "Du bist so süß, schlecht für Herz :)" geschrieben habe, und wir haben uns entschieden eine Umfrage zu ...
1
vote
2answers
163 views

Phrases for robbery

I'd want to know how robbers announce an assault in Germany. For example, expressions like "this is a holdup/stick-up/robbery!", as well as "give me the money and no one gets hurt" and others.