On this trip I met an american who spoke German but with an american accent. I have been working in Germany for a few days every 6 weeks or so for nearly 2 years and in that time, as my being booked to return is decided from one visit to the next, not learnt more than a few words in German.
The germans are very accurate about pronounciations in the language unlike English which is tolerant of many accents including Liverpudlian, Australian, Scottish, Welsh, Irish not to mention the americans. I find it difficult to comprehend that the Germans have sections within Germany who are officially speaking German but who are not understood i.e. Bavaria. I was on a course which had 2 Bavarians as participants (officially communicating in and listening to the presentation in German). I was able to communicate with one of the Bavarians in a bit of English more than other Germans could in German.
I therefore use while teaching those few words I have and am constantly corrected due to the cultural difference of inacceptance.
It may well be positive for cultural identity to maintain high and accurate standard of language. This may have good grounds and merits and might be proven in the Wales experience where we have kids now communicating and learning in a language their parents do not know. This has in my opinion had a positive effect on cultural identity in wales.
The american I met had an interesting slant on the whole german pickiness for pronounciation. He said he, I beleive, had been their 18 years and was fluent but would always speak with an american accent. He had a friend who was Irish and spoke German with an Irish accent. This would not change. The Germans around him would have to accept this.
– I felt better.
I work predominatly with 5 trainers in Germany with differing degrees of English. I would never correct them unless it was something really wrong. I would see it as rude. One of them being completely fluent in English has asked me to correct if there is even small issues and on this trip I explained to another that someone would have epliepsy but be epileptic as I was asked if “having epileptic” was correct.
And so my view on this has changed. I will be doing my best and may not be quite right but support me – do not abuse me. All of us will have a better experience and I might progress better with the knowledge that my mistakes are worth making rather than feeling it is not worth trying.
I also want to improve my French and Mandarin……….
Funily enough I really dont mind being corrected in my French or Mandarin, I think it is because I know enough to need correction. Is this whole post me being picky rather than the Germans – perhaps. Or is it just that the first trainer I worked with here laughed at my pronounciation on a regular basis and I expect this of the others – Perhaps?