Long-time readers of Anthonyganzer.com might remember a post from 2008, in which I was so proud to be able to use my beginner German skills to interact at a German food store in Phoenix. The victory in that day was not that I spoke German well, rather that I survived even a few sentences in a foreign language. I would go on to have proper training, and focus myself more fully on actually learning the language and not just phrases from a guide book, and as one’s skills progress so do one’s goals.
For a long time my goal has been to speak German well-enough so that a native speaker doesn’t immediately think I am a native English-speaker. A Northern German might think I am Bavarian, a Bavarian might think I am Austrian, and Austrian might think I am Swiss, a Swiss might think I am German. To me, it doesn’t matter how wrong the guess is, so long as the native German-speaker doesn’t say “American” or “British” when guessing where I am from. Why? Well, it is a badge of honor to speak well-enough to even superficially fool a native speaker, and I find interactions with people are a little less mired in stereotypes or assumptions when people don’t think you are from a superpower across the pond.
So when a line cook who prides himself on identifying accents was stumped, and his mouth dropped to the floor when I told him where I am from, my day became a lot better.