Sunday, November 26, 2006

Culture through Conversation

Last night I increased my knowledge of German culture. I also used my German language skills socialy with people other than Patrick for the first time. On that note, I learned that I can most easily understand German spoken by non-native speakers which makes a lot of sense as they tend to speak slower and pronounce the who words. The German language is such the words run together to make new words that often mean somethign similar to the words individualy but is not always a direct translation which can be really confusing when learning a language. I feel like the longest existing word must come be a German word. However, try as I may, I cannot think of a good example right now. So back to culture, file this entry under interpersonal relations. Germans, in general, respect one's personal space. For example, a Tunasian girl I met in class grabbed my hand in conversation to stress a point, a German would not do this with someone they just recently met, only a close friend. On the other hand, Germans have public saunas where they hang out naked in mixed company for recreation. Another huge cultural difference in interpersonal communications is dating. I have been told Germans don't date but since I've been here and spoken to others I think that needs to be amended slightly. Germans go on dates but mainly in the pursuit of a serious relationship and only after knowing each other for a decent amount of time. To go out and be approached by a person of the opposite sex and given a phone number will not happen here. In fact, the concept of a getting a number is completely foreign here. Another point of variation occurs ont he dance floor. I've been to one Disko (think club) here and I had to laugh when I saw the dancing. Students, people about my age, were dancing like my parents generation would dance and to a random array of music. I said they danced like old people and was told this was a display of normal dancing! Germans are intrigued by "grinding" which I find funny. In London, dancing looked much like it does in American and boys gave you their number w/o hesitation so I know this is not a general EU thing but it is a good illustration of the differences between Germans and Americans and I would imagine other cultures. Germans are a special breed :)

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