Thursday, 21 June 2012

Cultural misunderstandings......saying what we mean and meaning what we say!

I'm very aware that my German skills are not what they ought to be - to be honest I've not done much to improve them and really do need to get something proper organised by way of classes or tutoring.  Once the Wee Girlie goes to Kindergarten in August, I will after eight years have some 'me time' and some free time which I can commit to something such as German lessons, regular exercise and so on.

I know I misunderstand a lot of things - quite often because I'm a sentence or 2 behind when others are speaking and I never quite catch up - whilst I will often ask people to repeat things or use a different word, I do sometimes get the wrong end of the stick.  If I'm in a social situation with a group of people - rather than a one on one conversation - I have no hope as I get too easily distracted by what's being said around me.

So perhaps I do what a lot of expats do an have looked to the expat and English speaking community for a social scene, and I've been very lucky in finding a good group of like minded ladies and we have a fairly full social diary!!  Whilst we are predominantly English speakers, we do hail from all over the place and even in our native language there is space for misunderstanding.

I want to share this chart with you as I think it demonstrates so well what I'm trying (badly) to say here - that what we mean when we say something isn't always apparent to the other party and even when you're speaking in your mother tongue, wires can still be crossed!

It has apparently been a complete eye-opener to some of my American friends that us Brits speak in such an oblique way but I have to say the translations here are spot on!  Have a read and let me know what you think.....


  1. I LOVED this - made me really, really laugh - we are so rubbish at saying what we mean, and them exoecting others to understand.

  2. Hi Emma! This is spot on - I have to make sure my husband doesn't see this or he'll have me sussed out - especially the "oh by the way" comment!!