Testimony. In Germany, speak frankly and be direct


Melita Cameron-Wood has many jobs: she is a journalist, audio producer, voice-over artist, English as a foreign language teacher and German-English translator. And she lived in Germany for four years. An expatriation that changed his way of communicating. She had studied German at university in the UK, “but nothing can really prepare you for the social norms of another country until you are completely immersed in its culture,” she explains. today in the pages of the Guardian.

Before living in this country, she never realized that, like most of her compatriots, she spent her time apologizing, and the sorrys were thrown around for no real reason. His roommates quickly pointed this out to him:

“In my new home, my British indirectness and random displays of occasional penitence caused confusion, and sometimes even mild annoyance.”
Lectured by her comrades on the “negative effects of apologizing all the time”, particularly on her self-esteem, she had to abandon this British mania.

According to Melita Cameron-Wood, “It’s no surprise that Germans favor direct communication: their language contains some of the most literal words on the planet. So, in Germany, politeness is equated with transparency, direct communication and reliability – not vague niceties or superficial remorse.” A piece of advice: if you are going to live in Germany, not only avoid saying “sorry” all the time, but also be careful not to use conditionals and evasive expressions. It will do you a lot of good, and maybe you can then say, like Melita Cameron-Wood: “I feel more authentic – and that’s thanks to the Germans.”

This article is originally published on .courrierinternational.com


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