Cultural differences also refer to language issues.

What’s so German?

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This essay is one of an occasional series written by students who are new to Athens, Ohio.

Someone asked me a week ago: “Lauren, can you fake an American accent?” That felt weird to me, because I am trying my best to speak this language. Therefore, I thought that I would talk with an American accent somehow, even if you can still hear the German coming through. I don’t have a German accent on purpose.

The “th” might be my biggest opponent when it comes to pronunciation. The one asking the question above, didn’t mean to offend or even hurt me, but I found myself questioning my way of pronouncing words and it left me a little more insecure than before.

Lauren Ramoser

My look probably doesn’t tell you where I am from, but as soon as I start talking, my accent does. It also gives you the information, that I can speak another language fluently. And that is kind of cool, isn’t it?

I would say, this is something typically German. Wherever you go, you might meet Germans, as we love to travel. And believe me, we are trying so hard to learn other languages to show respect when we travel to foreign countries.

That is one stereotype I would like to promote, but there are other, more popular stereotypes I asked for. Ohio University has a close partnership with University of Leipzig in Germany. To celebrate the 25 years anniversary of this cooperation, professors and students made their way to OU a couple of weeks ago. I took my chance to talk to them about their stereotypes.

“I have learned a lesson a lesson from Germans on how to be a friend”, Bob Stewart, head of Scripp’s College said. “When Germans are your friend, they are your good friend, deep level friend. This friendship will last a great distance of time. Once you are friends with a German, they will be always your friend.”

This stereotype is a flattering one. And I would like to promote this one, too. Even if it also means some sort of pressure. German friends stay in touch and want updates. There are many more stereotypes, also about what Germans think about America in my feature for The OUtlet, that starts at 17:30 minutes.

There is only one stereotype about Germany, that I feel offended about: “Germans don’t have any humor.” I can clearly not laugh about this. But there are great jokes I can laugh about instead. The following one is my favorite and it gives you a taste of German humor. Better get something to drink, as it is quite dry.

How many Germans do you need to change a lightbulb? – One. We are efficient, and we don’t have any sense of humor.

Hilarious, isn’t it?