Fooling the natives

Still an Ami

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.

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German Language and Identity (auf Deutsch)

Darnell

Language is always a sticking point in the German immigration debate.  Many times politicians say immigrants need to learn better German, to fully integrate.  But not all foreigners are told this.  Entertainers, for example, seem to have a special status in German society, and imperfections are part of the charm.  This feature was produced in German for Westdeutscher Rundfunk.  Translation provided by Katie Ganzer.

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What is Classical Music worth to us?

Kbaq

My colleagues at WDR3 asked me to compare the cities of Cologne and Phoenix in terms of classical appreciation.  It is not an easy task, but this report attempts to make the comparison fair and accurately.  In short, Europeans are much more willing to pay for cultural activities through taxes, whereas American organizations hope the locals will pick up the tab.

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An American at Karneval

Smurf

When the clock hits 11:11 on the 11 of November, Cologne becomes a party city, and costumed party-goers lose nearly all inhibitions until they drop.  I ventured into the crowds and produced a short report with observations and musings from the belly of the beast.  One thing was clear…there was much I had never seen nor experienced before. The report was spontaneous and impromptu, though still hopefully understandable.

**Translation provided by Katie Ganzer.

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