Rude receptionist at Doctor's office

115 posts in this topic

21 hours ago, innfield said:

With respect, I don't believe that is so. What English people (as in from the UK, not other English-speaking countries as such) don't like about speaking German is that they are afraid they'll be laughed at. I'm quite happy to speak German, and I've never had someone laugh yet. All they do is switch into English, and as I said before I think it's out of natural politeness.

 

Well either I've actually been told by Germans the reason they switched to English as soon as they found I was a native English speaker is because English speakers don't want to speak German, or I'm lying. I believe the former.

 

21 hours ago, warsteiner70 said:

 

And who says you have to switch to English if the German person switches to English?

 

The only way I could learn German was to be stubborn and continue speaking German even if the German person would switch to English as their English was better than my German. After a certain amount of time my German became better than their English so we conversed in German. Nowadays some people will switch to English as my German accent is awful but it doesn't really bother me as I know I am able to speak German when needed.

 

You have to be very confident, to refuse to speak English to someone who keeps trying to switch to English when your German is poor. Good that you managed to be stubborn, but it is beyond many many people.

 

My solution was to lie. I said most Irish people speak some Egnlish but I only spoke Irish, French, and was learning German. Many didn't believe me (duh!) but I just kept looking at them blankly and then saying "tut mir leid, ich verstehe kein Englisch". Most knew I was lying but had to give up eventually.

 

Being an English native has many advantages but it's brutal when trying to learn a language. They may think they are being polite.

But a boss who refuses to give any responsibility to a female employee because women are too nervous and emotional might think he's protecting women. It's still sexism.

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1 hour ago, MadAxeMurderer said:

Being an English native has many advantages but it's brutal when trying to learn a language. They may think they are being polite.

What stops you from saying you´d prefer to speak German?

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2 hours ago, jeba said:

What stops you from saying you´d prefer to speak German?

Why should one have to ask to speak German?  Last I heard this is a German speaking country.  

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4 hours ago, jeba said:

What stops you from saying you´d prefer to speak German?

  1. General embarrassment about the fact you're a beginner
  2. Feeling of guilt about pushing your poor language skills on someone else
  3. General inability to disagree.
  4. Feeling that since they're trying to help you have to go along with it.
  5. You say you would prefer to speak German, and they say they want to practice their english
  6. They just ignore you and keep on going in English

You don't have to feel personally impacted by any of those reasons to acknowledge they are obstacles to many people trying to learn a language.

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4 hours ago, jeba said:

What stops you from saying you´d prefer to speak German?

My German is good, not perfect, but pretty good. I still get Germans speaking English to me, even after I have asked them to speak German.  Sometimes they switch in the middle of a conversation and then you are left wondering 'why did you switch, did I say something wrong?'  I try and carry on in German, and this mostly works but it does require a certain bloody mindedness.  My colleagues mostly speak excellent English, so it makes me more self-conscious about my German.  However, I think it is partly that they just don't think Brits/Americans can speak German, even if you have started the conversation in German quite competently.  But also it can just be habit. 

 

In shops, if people hear me talking to my daughters in English they assume we can't speak German.  Actually, people assuming that I can't speak German leads to some interesting situations.  Sharing a table with some German women at the Hofbräukeller in Munich, they started criticising the fact that I was feeding my daughter fish fingers and saying what a terrible mother I was because of it.  I kept my mouth shut that time but was fuming.  Something similar happened once at a meeting I attended in Brussels.  The two Germans that I was sat next to, started talking about me in German, saying that I was talking nonsense, so I turned round and explained to them what I was trying to say.  The look on their faces was quite priceless.

 

When my children were very young (approx 3 years old), the Krippe staff wanted to practice their English on them.  I put a stop to that.  I only allowed one lady at the Krippe to speak English with them, a bilingual German-American.

 

I should just say, one time not long after I had first moved here, an American girl asked me directions in German.  I answered in English as it would have been weird to speak German.  She was so busy shouting at me 'why are you speaking English to me?' that she couldn't hear me explaining that I am British and walked off, still complaining.  

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25 minutes ago, sluzup said:

I was feeding my daughter fish fingers and saying what a terrible mother I was because of it.

 

Which were on a German menu in a German restaurant. That made me laugh!

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I usually just use the language the person uses with me (if it's English or German, I can do a funny yet insulting version of French though).

It's just on of things, if they start speaking English to me then I just go with it as it doesn't bother me that they assume (due to my surname) I may not speak German. My doctors do this all the time and they know I can speak German.

At work I couldn't say what language the last conversation was in. In meetings it can switch between various. I've been in meetings where we have had English, German formal (Sie stuff), German informal (du stuff), French and the odd word from the side Czech (or I assume it was, they were based in Prague). Gave me a headache.

 

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My German friends would say, "It's more important for us to speak English than it is for you to speak German".  Makes sense, but my German is childlike.

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2 hours ago, sluzup said:

My colleagues mostly speak excellent English, so it makes me more self-conscious about my German.  However, I think it is partly that they just don't think Brits/Americans can speak German, even if you have started the conversation in German quite competently.  But also it can just be habit. 

 Everybody has to speak English where I work, which they do more or less to the same quite good level - with a few people who are clearly much better than the rest. One thing I found somewhat frustrating is that many of them won't make any kind of allowance for you being a non-native speaker. Which is understandable as they probably only encounter two sitiuations - everyone is a German, or they speak English. If you don't quite get something then they switch to English, but I'd much rather they just spoke a bit slower and a bit less Schwäbisch-y.

 

The problem is is that I mostly work with English speakers abroad, and thanks to Corona have been working at home most this year. So little chance to practice. 

 

Back to the subject of receptionists - I had some fun the first time I went to the Facharzt with trying to explain why I was there. There was one receptionist who fancied herself English translator, but I understood her better when she spoke German. She came with me to the nurse so I could get a blood test, but as soon as the door was closed the two of them started gossiping and bitching about the other women in the office and ignoring me - which I didn't mind at all; was a good chance to listen. The nurse then said to her friend something like: "Sag ihm, eine Faust zu machen" - which I did without waiting for the translation, and at that moment she twigged that I could understand.

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50 minutes ago, catjones said:

My German friends would say, "It's more important for us to speak English than it is for you to speak German".  Makes sense, but my German is childlike.

“ My German is childlike.” 
What a charming comment! Love it!😂💋👍🏼

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6 hours ago, BethAnnBitt said:

Why should one have to ask to speak German?  Last I heard this is a German speaking country.  

Where did I say yiu should ask?

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8 minutes ago, jeba said:

Where did I say yiu should ask?

I didn't see you talk about "yiu" anywhere. Maybe I missed something. 😂

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Both English and German are my native languages. I normally make a point of speaking only German with my Philippine daughter-in-law, whose German is not always intelligible - mainly due to pronunciation mistakes and skipping endings. Conversations are slow despite her fast talking because I have to guess half the time and have to ask her to repeat what she said slowly. It can be quite frustrating. Grammar mistakes don't really count as they themselves don't hamper conversation. On the phone it's even worse. She needs advice in a difficult situation at the moment, and in such situations when I want to make sure that she has understood what I said - or if I want to make sure I have understood her - I switch to English as her English is better than her German. 

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On 02/12/2020, 11:20:47, jeba said:

What stops you from saying you´d prefer to speak German?

Nothing, except that they completely ignore you.

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