Questions tagged [culture]

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78 votes
14 answers
10k 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 ...
Glen Wheeler's user avatar
  • 2,752
35 votes
7 answers
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 ...
Pierre Pieyet's user avatar
34 votes
5 answers
45k 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 ...
optim1st's user avatar
  • 1,532
25 votes
11 answers
15k 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 [email protected]. Another of our employees say ...
Just_a_dane's user avatar
16 votes
5 answers
4k 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 ...
user avatar
15 votes
1 answer
16k 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 ...
Dragut's user avatar
  • 2,533
13 votes
4 answers
3k 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?...
Saar's user avatar
  • 631
13 votes
7 answers
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
3 answers
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 ...
Daniel Robinson's user avatar
12 votes
3 answers
2k 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 ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 1,065
11 votes
1 answer
2k 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 ...
Mike Vonn's user avatar
  • 213
10 votes
3 answers
2k views

Cultural context for "Abendland" and "Rettung" in this song lyric

What does "das Abendland und seine Rettung" really mean in this context? I'm listening to "Alice and Sarah" by The Broilers (fuill songtext on Genius). It is largely a song telling ...
Nathan Hinchey's user avatar
9 votes
4 answers
529 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 ...
Beta's user avatar
  • 4,777
8 votes
1 answer
266 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 ...
mpasko256's user avatar
  • 181
7 votes
3 answers
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 ...
michelpm's user avatar
  • 173
7 votes
1 answer
216 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 ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 16.6k
6 votes
5 answers
10k 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?
Karolinger's user avatar
5 votes
5 answers
3k 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 ...
AlexD's user avatar
  • 59
5 votes
3 answers
1k views

Could a translation error lead to squares to not be considered as rectangles?

I'm reading a certain set of kindergarten/lower primary maths textbooks that is written by North American authors for a European company. Whenever students are asked to identify the number of ...
BCLC's user avatar
  • 187
5 votes
2 answers
316 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 ...
Krish's user avatar
  • 205
3 votes
4 answers
1k 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 ...
talz's user avatar
  • 133
3 votes
1 answer
204 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?
optim1st's user avatar
  • 1,532
2 votes
1 answer
140 views

What can you say after introducing yourself?

In the US shaking hands and saying your name followed by “Nice to meet you” is more or less universal (correct me if I’m wrong). This turns out to be a really deep-rooted and important social custom ...
Julius Hamilton's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
877 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 ...
Logos's user avatar
  • 115
2 votes
1 answer
935 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 ...
Andi's user avatar
  • 31
2 votes
1 answer
143 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 ...
EralpB's user avatar
  • 123
1 vote
3 answers
323 views

Käse aber auch Wurst

Just came across that expression used as follows Das ist totaler Käse aber ist es auch Wurst. And wonder what does it mean when something is cheese and sausage at the same time.
Gonçalo Peres's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
221 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.
Kafka4PresidentNow's user avatar
1 vote
4 answers
333 views

Who is regarded as one of the world's leading experts on the German language?

Professor David Crystal is widely regarded as a leading expert on the English language who published numerous language books. He held and holds numerous public lectures on the English Language. Here ...
John Lamb's user avatar
  • 695
1 vote
2 answers
203 views

German equivalent of "... or ____, rather"?

My non-native speaker friend has suggested that I use "entschuldigung" less in correcting my misused words when I'm in the middle of a sentence. He says that someone in Germany told him to ...
Mayor of the Plattenbaus's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
169 views

What's with having chicken or potato salad in the living room?

I came across the following exchange: Q: Warum machst du denn die Party nicht bei dir zu Hause? A: Darum habe ich ja noch nie eine richtige Party gemacht ... unsere Wohnung ist viel zu klein. Und ...
KeN SmilePachI's user avatar
-1 votes
2 answers
146 views

"Kids These Days" [closed]

This is a question more about culture than language specifically but I hope it is still appropriate here. It's a common topic in current media commentary (in English) to complain about the problems ...
Mitch's user avatar
  • 192
-1 votes
1 answer
328 views

What is it, if not arrogance, that makes some germans answer many yes-or-no questions with "of course" (ja, klar)? [closed]

I know this is more a question about behaviour and cultural differences rather than about the german language but I still hope that it fits into this forum. If not please let me know and I will have ...
Carlos Camino's user avatar