Define integration in German Society

22 posts in this topic

Posted

I have chosen this topic to understand the role of German Language. Probably I am looking for following answers:-

What is the need of Language?

Do we believe Language is a necessity for integration within a culture?

If yes then how much knowledge of language is needed..Basic-intermediate or Expert and who will define this level?

Does it mean a person being almost expert of German is considered to be integrated more than a person with Intermediate or basic or absolutely no knowledge of language?

With my three years of living experience in South Germany ( considered as conservative Germany at least by northern Germans!), I still does not understand, the concept of Integration in German Society. Coming from south Asian background understanding almost seven languages and expert of five ( four of which comes from my native country), I never had pressure of learning a language to integrate with an society.

I found myself always surrounded by Germans and happily talking with them and always felt integrated in this society. Apparently I never learned German language, not because I didn't like to learn, just because I never needed it!!! But then suddenly some one mocked me up saying, if you don’t speak language you are not integrated in society. And that was the first time, I asked myself am I not integrated? At least I never had this feeling:: Then I had an encounter with another Asian living in Germany for more than 10 years, speaking perfect German and her words were “I never felt Integrated in German Society “. These words from Asian girl left me confused.

After having some introspection I tried to answer my own questions:!

What is the need of Language ?

Communication!!! No other need

Do we believe Language is a necessity for integration within a culture?

Language is Part of Culture ..Culture if not in Language.

If yes then how much knowledge of language is needed..Basic-intermediate or Expert and who will define this level?

My opinion is a simple NO!! Culture has to do with way of life not way of talking.

Does it mean a person being almost expert of German is considered to be integrated more than a person with Intermediate or basic or absolutely no knowledge of language?

NOT Applicable.

It’s a human behavior to be happy when someone talks your mother tongue, but that happiness should not become the criteria of acceptance of a person. As language has been does developed for communicating with others not accepting others. I completely agree with a stuation, where a person does not speak any language other than German and then expect a Ausländer to speak German. But fail to understand a person who speaks perfect the language spoken by Ausländer, but still expect that Ausländer to speak German . Deep down this expectation creates a feeling that if you don’t speak my language I don’t like you ( May be this meaning is too generalized but it is there!)

To conclude this, I would say there are only two reasons a person with learn a language:

One is that, You need that language!

And

Two is that, You are in love with that language!

Since for me none of the above two reason apply, I politely reject to learn of speak German Language.

Regards,

An Integrated Ausländer!

-17

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Posted

Anyone else bemused by the fact that, in spite of being a member of TT since the 9th of November 2011, this is the first, and so far only, contribution the OP has yet made to this community?

ToytownGermany

(dis)Integrating Users since 2002

:lol:

2B

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Posted

When I, a Scot, arrived in Germany to work in an entirely US English oriented working environment I had neither need of, nor love for, the German language. Partly for reasons of practicality (it was both more economical and efficient to be able to find my own choice of accommodation rather than rely on the use of a Makler) and partly for social reasons (albeit I liked every American I ever met, after a few months I had to acknowledge the fact that the cultural differences between the US and the UK were far greater to adjust to than those between any two European cultures) I started to learn the German language.

It's funny you should say this, because there is this fatuous if popular line of thought that there is something called an "Anglosphere", and UKians have something culturally and politically in common with USians/Canuckians/Aussies/Kiwis/SAians than the commie French. I take it that you don't agree?

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Posted

Oh, there are quite big cultural differences between the US and the UK. It's not just a bit of vocabulary and grammar, it's other things like sense of humour.

For example, I remember reading about a British guy who got married in the US to a US woman. His best man was British and when he gave a speech, he gave the usual British best man's speech which makes fun of the groom. The Americans were horrified. You just don't do that in the US, it seems. You're supposed to praise the groom, say what a great guy he is. Not denigrate him. Just one example.

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Posted

Oh, there are quite big cultural differences between the US and the UK.

In my experience (working in various international teams) the cultural differences between the US and the UK are greater than between DE & UK.

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Posted

I have only been over here a few months, but I have been accepted in the workplace because I attempt to speak german. Mainly Hello, good morning etc. More intergrated than an American Guy, who has been here a lot longer, who refuses to speak any german at all.

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Posted

Gosh. The OP's whole argument just seems so, well, impolite. It has always seemed to me that if you're living in a country then it's only good manners to make an attempt to learn at least the basics of the language.

Besides culture and language so closely linked you miss out on a huge amount if you don't speak the language. For example, at the weekend I had a conversation about the difference between German Church Latin and English Church Latin in German. Now that wasn't essential to my life and it wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea*, but it was interesting and helped me to understand a bit more about the person I was talking to. That has to be a good thing, surely?

* Actually I'm not sure if I was more surprised by the fact that I held a fairly academic conversation in German or that I could actually dredge enough knowledge from my memory of my degree (thirty years ago) to say anything at all on the subject! :lol:

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Posted

I have only been over here a few months, but I have been accepted in the workplace because I attempt to speak german. Mainly Hello, good morning etc. More intergrated than an American Guy, who has been here a lot longer, who refuses to speak any german at all.

This is unfortunately not limited to an American vs British thing. I know Brits who have lived and worked here for 10 years and can barely order a beer. I think it is a phenomenon found in native English speakers but not limited to Americans or Brits but to a personality type that exists in both cultures.

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Posted

On that front, I have a terrible problem of being a pedant when it comes to grammar. If I can't say precisely what I mean, I often just don't want to say it, and I find it almost emotionally repellant to "murder" a language by *knowingly* making a minor grammatical error.

Now consider how hard it is to remember all the genders in German. Or whether a noun belongs in Deklination II (Mensch(en), Junge(n), ...).

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Posted

In my experience (working in various international teams) the cultural differences between the US and the UK are greater than between DE & UK.

I can't decide if one is bigger than the other... certainly it is easy to be "tricked" into thinking that the US and UK are closer than they really are due to lack of language barrier. However having spent time socialising with a group of americans when I first moved here, I came to realise that I felt as alienated being the only british person amongst them as I did being the only foreigner in a group of germans. I'd need to speak fluent german before I could judge exactly how different they are from the british.

I don't think failure to learn german is exclusively a native-english-speaker problem (e.g. see the OP)

I agree that learning the language is an essential part of the integration process (although not the only factor in being integrated). However, on an individual level, if I meet someone who is capable of speaking excellent english, I do find it uptight if they refuse to speak english or start preaching that I "must speak german" without knowing a) how long I've lived in germany B) how much time/money I have available for learning german c) how long I plan to stay in germany d) how much effort I am putting into learning german and e) how hard it is to learn german compared to some other european languages

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Posted

I think it is a phenomenon found in native English speakers but not limited to Americans or Brits but to a personality type that exists in both cultures.

I thought it was a lack of talent and/or laziness :).

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Posted

I have only been over here a few months, but I have been accepted in the workplace because I attempt to speak german. Mainly Hello, good morning etc. More intergrated than an American Guy, who has been here a lot longer, who refuses to speak any german at all.

But you know, this is a double edged sword. I have always been able to speak German pretty well almost from day 1, and what happens is that colleagues take it for granted, and after a while lots of stuff flies over your head because they speak as if you had been here for the last 30 years and are actually put off if you don't get something. So now I have purposefully switched back to english for anything important.

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Posted

I think it is a phenomenon found in native English speakers but not limited to Americans or Brits but to a personality type that exists in both cultures.

Whilst I can only speak as I find and have no peer-reviewd data to hand, I think a visit to the Costa Blanca in Spain may be instructive.

Many northern Europeans, including especially British, Dutch, Germans and Belgians, retire there and set up informal expatriate colonies. Brits generally seem the most hostile to learning Spanish - Belgians the best, possibly because they come from a country which is already multilingual.

As people become older and frailer, more seem to want to return to the UK, especially when their friends die and they're completely lost out there, have no support network in Spanish society and can't tell a Spanish doctor what's wrong with them.

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Posted

Oh, there are quite big cultural differences between the US and the UK. It's not just a bit of vocabulary and grammar, it's other things like sense of humour.

For example, I remember reading about a British guy who got married in the US to a US woman. His best man was British and when he gave a speech, he gave the usual British best man's speech which makes fun of the groom. The Americans were horrified. You just don't do that in the US, it seems. You're supposed to praise the groom, say what a great guy he is. Not denigrate him. Just one example.

Was this the speech, nina? :D

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=IhtHu_RgCu4

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Posted

LOL. No, John. I only read about this incidence.

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Posted

It gets worse, once you know how to speak German well they start expecting you to learn Bavarian...

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Posted

I thought it was a lack of talent and/or laziness .

Yeah, there's something in that.

The average English person's first significant contact with another language usually comes at age 11 being forced to learn French. Too late and, since it's compulsory and not chosen, mostly resented.

Most of the rest of Europe, and a lot of the rest of Britain, are at least exposed to other languages from the start.

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