stolz sein = proud??

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Hi All

Just had an interesting discussion with my German who was telling me that using the word 'stolz' in German is more often than not seen as negative and somewhat egocentric. Like, if someone says they're 'proud of their children', the connotation is that they're claiming some recognition/glory by association.

 

However, after much back and forth, she conceded (never happens :lol:) that it could be a family thing because in her family nobody would use the word 'stolz' as a positive. They may say 'gut gemacht' instead for example. She grew up in an area where the Protestant church had tendrils everywhere, and to be proud was a terrible sin.

 

I was saying that in English (at least, the English I speak!), 'proud' can accommodate a feeling of happiness for someone based on the hard work that led to their achievement. It doesn't necessarily convey the idea that that person achieved because of something I did with them along the way. If I say I'm proud of my nephew for getting selected for the national football team in his age group, I'm acknowledging that he worked his tail off to get selected and I'm super happy for him.

 

She said this isn't how 'stolz' works in German. 

 

Can someone clarify this for me?

 

muchos Danke!

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German native speaker here, raised in a protestant (albeit not very religious) household in a protestant area in the South West: 

In my family and environment, it is absolutely normal to be proud of your children, spouse, relatives, pets, yourself if you/they have accomplished something great. And actually say: "Ich bin stolz auf dich." 

Or in general of sometime who did something they aspired to, worked hard for or that was hard for them. In the sense of being happy for their accomplishment and cheering them on /applauding. 

 

The only thing we (my family, friends etc.) would probably never say is that they are proud to be German. 

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I think you can use Stolz with your children. But only when addressing them directly and to tell them that " ich bin stolz auf dich". However, it doesn't seem to be appropriate if you use it to address adults or your own actions. To say to an adult " ich bin stolz auf dich" seems to be condescending. And to use it to describe your own achievements it would come across as boasting. So I guess I mostly agree with your wife😚

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Thanks for the responses so far..so, it seems a bit mixed? 

My wife's family is quite dour though - they're not prone to spontaneous displays of affection and they're very (VERY) Swabian in the 'nichts gesagt ist genug gelobt" sense.

Maybe it's her upbringing...

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My oldies are very clear that being stolz auf jemand (or worse, yourself) is a product of our dissolute modern society. 

 

I must confess to being somewhat uncertain of the whys and wherefores thereof, but they were unusually in agreement on the subject.

 

It is also something to be careful of in English - the company you are in and the matter at hand do make a difference to how it comes across.

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I´m a native speaker and in my mind you can only be proud of things you actually achieveed yourself and/or which you have merits for. I might e. g. say to my kids "you can be proud of yourself for ...". I might also be proud of having done something extraordinary. But I´d never be proud of something someone else did (like e. g. the German team winning the championship). The latter would seem stupid to me.

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3 hours ago, maxie said:

The only thing we (my family, friends etc.) would probably never say is that they are proud to be German. 

 

 

Thank you! It's been a very, very long time since I read something on TT that made me laugh out loud - you can be proud of yourself (in my non-German opinion ;-))

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3 hours ago, maxie said:

The only thing we (my family, friends etc.) would probably never say is that they are proud to be German. 

When you think about it, it would just be being proud of circumstance.

It's not like any of us actually put any work in to where we were born or (for the most part, some people had to apply for it) the nationality we carry.

 

There's a good comedy routine out there on that, well worth a watch.

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I only ever use 'proud' to chastise people. 

 

For example, suppose someone I am with is smoking a cigarette in a sofa showroom, and they drop the lit fag down the back of a sofa, and the showroom burns down, I would then say to them, "I hope your proud of yourself".  Probably followed by, "Run!".

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Here in the glorious Eifel, Stolz is just the same as pride. I feel the OP has missed the point that "pride" in English can be both positive and negative. Being proud of my son if he scores a goal is positive, but describing someone as being "a proud person" is not a compliment. The latter pride in both English and (at least Eifel) German is crossing into arrogance. Likewise, if someone is "too proud" to do something (for example, help tidy away), that would be negative in English or German.

Generally, if pride/Stolz is linked to an achievement  it would be positive, but even then (using the example of my son scoring a goal), if I went on and on about it, that could turn a positive pride/Stolz into a negative (crossing into arrogance/showing off). Even in English you can imagine the stress on "so" with: "That Dad's just SO proud of his son".

  

 

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20 minutes ago, dstanners said:

Here in the glorious Eifel, Stolz is just the same as pride. I feel the OP has missed the point that "pride" in English can be both positive and negative. Being proud of my son if he scores a goal is positive, but describing someone as being "a proud person" is not a compliment. The latter pride in both English and (at least Eifel) German is crossing into arrogance. Likewise, if someone is "too proud" to do something (for example, help tidy away), that would be negative in English or German.

Generally, if pride/Stolz is linked to an achievement  it would be positive, but even then (using the example of my son scoring a goal), if I went on and on about it, that could turn a positive pride/Stolz into a negative (crossing into arrogance/showing off). Even in English you can imagine the stress on "so" with: "That Dad's just SO proud of his son".

  

 

I like the word- hubris, for those whose pride has evolved into arrogance!

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50 minutes ago, hellfire99 said:

I only ever use 'proud' to chastise people. 

 

For example, suppose someone I am with is smoking a cigarette in a sofa showroom, and they drop the lit fag down the back of a sofa, and the showroom burns down, I would then say to them, "I hope your proud of yourself".  Probably followed by, "Run!".

You would say that?😂

I would be too proud to write YOUR instead of YOU‘RE!

You are outed!! That makes you under the age of forty! 
Old fogies of the world! Free ourselves from the young degenerates!😂😎

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3 hours ago, jeba said:

I´m a native speaker and in my mind you can only be proud of things you actually achieveed yourself and/or which you have merits for. I might e. g. say to my kids "you can be proud of yourself for ...". I might also be proud of having done something extraordinary. But I´d never be proud of something someone else did (like e. g. the German team winning the championship). The latter would seem stupid to me.

On a junket to the States one of the guys said he was proud to be American and proud of America, he must have noticed the slight strained look on my face because he asked if I were not proud to be German and proud of Germany. (Amma British by the way) So I told him that Germans are not prone to outbursts of patriotism as it is seen to be pathetically kitschy to proclaim "Ich bin stolz ein Deutscher zu sein!" I said that in my best 1940ties voice and he agreed that it did come over a tad chilling.

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46 minutes ago, slammer said:

So I told him that Germans are not prone to outbursts of patriotism

I don´t think it has to do with patriotism. I still feel more loyalty to Germany than any other country (I´d be annoyed if the EU was to be turned into a transfer union even if it meant that the Cypriot dirtroad to where I live was tarred) and while I´m not proud to be German (as this is nothing I can claim merits for) I´m still glad I´m German. There aren´t many countries I´d rather have been born and raised in.

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5 hours ago, RedMidge said:

I like the word- hubris, for those whose pride has evolved into arrogance!

Peacocks are proud - and rightly so!

And the Germans say „ stolz wie ein Spanier.“👍🏼
Not proud of my post, though! Sounds a bit silly!

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Germans speak about the German way.   

I have heard a guy while engaging in USA bashing claim that the German way is better because Germans do not say they they are proud, with no sense of irony.  🤪

 

As it has been explained to me, when the murderous Europeans migrated to the US or various other immigration countries, there was a concerted effort to artificially forge new common identities to keep former rivals from killing each other.   The idea was to subordinate old tribal impulses to the common identity.  "Proud to be American" was part of the verbiage to make the transition.  I have found people in South America to show or express national pride as well.  

 

Back when that started, there were actually people who left the old country for the new, I.e. they had actually done something rather than having been born into something.

 

Pretty simple but different from the experience of most Europeans and thus difficult for most to understand.

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Good points, balticus. I have never in my whole life met anyone who said they were ashamed to be from country A or B. Until I moved to Germany ( ok, I know the history- the H guy etc ). 
And I so often have tried to tell Germans ( and my partner is one ): „ there is ( or should not be ) no such thing as collective guilt. It is absurd. The sins of our fathers they say. 
I don‘t remember being there. I have my own sins ( fair enough!😂) but they are my sins...

 

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Just now, john g. said:

Good points, balticus. I have never in my whole life met anyone who said they were ashamed to be from country A or B. Until I moved to Germany ( ok, I know the history- the H guy etc )

 

John, mate, that's all changed.

 

A lot of the Brits on here self-loath, exhibit treacherous behavior, and generally bump their gums about the UK. 

 

They are also well known for using the British telly for free, retaining their British nationality (just in case mind), and are not adverse to popping back to the UK for free medical treatment. 

 

Yes, you know who you are! 

 

They bang on about being ashamed of the UK but refuse to cut their ties. 

 

It sound harsh, John, but it's true. 

 

And I tell you what, the BBC is shit these days! 

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