Funny side of the German language

False friends, ridiculous grammar and never-ending nouns. German is by no means an easy language, but it has its funny side too, as we find out in this week’s episode of Meet the Germans.

YouTube comments:

“I love all the ‘thing’ words we have: Feuerzeug = fire thing (lighter) Fahrzeug = driving thing (vehicle) Spielzeug = play thing (toy) Werkzeug = craft/labour thing (tool) Or some of our animals: Nilpferd = nile horse (hippo) Nashorn = nose horn (rhino) Stachelschwein = spike pig (porcupine) Waschbär = wash bear (raccoon) Faultier = lazy animal (sloth) Schnabeltier = beak animal (platypus)”

“Yeah german gets a lot easier when you understand that most of these long words are just two short words connected.”

“I’m german and i got the impression that mostly negative things about the german language circulate the web, like it sounds rough, unfriendly, is difficult to learn and overly complicated. It’s really nice seeing it in a positive, funny and native way and i hope it helps foreigners to see it in a different light. We are and used to be famous for our writers and poets, so the language has to be fit for that kind of work and those people also benefitted the language in that regard. On the other hand we are famous for our engeneering and our scinetists so another major part of our language is logical, accurate and descriptive. Our language has multiple different layers which are often overlooked, quite understandably to be honest, and I think the german language is beautiful in its own, rough mantled way. :D”

Americans are Dumber? 

Spend any time in Germany, and perhaps in other countries, and you will hear directly or indirectly how poorly informed (aka dumb) Americans are.

Keep in mind, however, that Germans consider themselves to be intelligent. And they are. Many of them consider themselves to be more intelligent than Americans. And they are. On average.

Mean

An uncut scene from Bridesmaids where Kristen Wiig and the teenager argue in the jewelry store. This is improv at its best! Who says Americans can get in each other’s face?

YouTube comments:

“This girl was only 14 when she held her own with a professional comedian for 10 minutes.”

“Kristen Wiig is an absolute improv genius and not afraid to set herself up as the punching bag for the little girl.”

“They clearly were having way too much fun with this scene. Mia starts to smile too much because it’s such a joy to go so unhinged on somebody. The director probably said to go in there and completely go off on her but don’t overlap lines so we can edit. The editors probably had too much fun with this scene too. Can you blame any of them?”

“Props to Kristen but that girl annihilated her.”

80% self-censor

7 April 2022. New York Times:

“There is now little doubt that students frequently bite their tongues because they feel unsafe. A 2021 survey of more than 37,000 college students — by far the largest on free expression to date — found that more than 80 percent of students censor their own viewpoints at least some of the time, while roughly one in five students regularly do so. Meanwhile, only 40 percent of students say that they are comfortable openly disagreeing with their professors.”

Yes, hypersensitivity on American university campuses is well-known. What does this have to do with communication and feedback within American companies? Everything. Political correctness, like it or dislike it, has been a growing force in the United States for several decades.

German language aggressive?

An American woman in Germany: “This video was so fun to make! German gets made fun for sounding aggressive (but it’s not if you watch this video!), but little did we know, French had some unexpected funny moments too for sounding so short 🙂 Watch and see what I mean.”

YouTube comments:

“The German guy was so friendly and seemed so huggable! I really liked him. I’m learning German so I know sometimes there’s a stereotype about Germans being grumpy but I know it’s totally not true.”

“As a German I actually laughed at some German words for the first time. Because every time I watch comparison video they speak German way too aggressively but here the pronunciation is true to the original, which actually makes stuff like gums vs. Zahnfleisch funny to think about.”

Longer! Longer! Longer!

Christoph Waltz, an Austrian who often makes jokes about Germans in a rather gratuitous way, puts Jimmy Fallon to the test with a quiz on the definitions of long German words, like Bezirksschornsteinfegermeister.

YouTube comments:

“For non German speakers: The reason our words are so long is that you can basically string as many words as you want together and it would still count as long as it makes sense.”

“Can we just appreciate Waltz’s unwillingness to go along with Jimmy’s horrid fake laugh? He just stares at jimmy until he stops lol. An absolute icon.”

“You know you’re German when you don’t think the words are long at all.”