5 Reasons Why Germans can’t speak English

dictionaryWhen I came to Canada, a lot of people didn’t even need to ask where I’m from after they heard me talking — they immediately knew I’m from Germany. One reason might be, that the English R doesn’t have a back bone, as I like to say, so that it’s hard for Germans to suddenly lose ours. However, we might also use English words in some weird ways because we’re simply used to them having a different meaning than they actually do.

I mean, every language borrows words from other languages. Just look how English helped itself from the German pallet: doppelgänger, zeitgeist, poltergeist or, probably the most popular one, kindergarten. But my English prof in Germany put it the right way when she said “They’re at least using loan words in the correct way” because, yeah… we don’t, as these 5 examples show.

1. Handy

I mean, we still use it to describe a handy thing but we’re actually talking about our cell phone. So if a German person runs towards you, totally distressed, asking “Have you seen my handy?!”, please don’t make it worse by answering “Your handy what?” Just call their cell.

2. Shooting

No worries, no one’s in danger even though this German girl might be extremely excited about the shooting she has later. There are no guns involved at all, only cameras — because she’s actually talking about a photo shoot.

3. Happy End

This one’s so close! When you leave the cinema after just watching this predictable rom-com, you might say “That story had such a nice happy ending!” but you might never say “That was such a nice happy end!” because, yeah, that would be pretty German of you. However, I’m pretty sure that you would still know what we’re trying to say, so it’s a debatable one.

4. Public Viewing

This one’s so wrong! And I bet you would never guess what we’re actually trying to say… again, there are no dead people involved. This expression was invented during the soccer world cup in Germany in 2006 where a lot of the games were shown as outdoor live screenings in public places. So, yeah, we’re technically viewing something in public — but it’s soccer instead of bodies.

5. Partner Look

I kind of like this one though. I mean, if you see your friend from afar in the same outfit that you are wearing, you might shout “Waaah, we’re matching!” at them but doesn’t “Partner look!” sound a bit cuter? Well, actually… the cutest phrase and my favourite one for that is still “Twinsies!”

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