Tag Archives: German

5th meeting: Finnish – German

On the 28th of April Sofia and me had our 5th meeting online in Teams. Since it was just a couple of days before the 1st of May we first talked about German and Finnish traditions to celebrate the 1st of May. In Finland it‘s called Vappu and usually people (mostly students) celebrate in the night before and wear their graduation hats. On the next day, the actual 1st of May, many people have a picnic in a park and buy a vappu balloon. In Germany the 1st of May is called Tag der Arbeit which means day of labour, therefore it‘s a bank holiday to give the workers a rest on that day. In the night before people also celebrate, traditionally dancing around a Maibaum (=maytree, decorated tree).

After that we talked about work vocabulary in Finnish and German including words like salary/palkka/Gehalt as well as some sentences that can be useful in a job interview. In the picture you can see a mindmap that we created with the words!

French – German: roundup of our official meetings

This week we had a bit of a different meeting since it was our last official meeting, and I was already on a road trip back to Germany. I was able to show the others a bit of the beautiful Finnish landscape, where we decided to set camp for the night.

We had no special topic on our agenda for today and as it happens somewhat naturally lately, we got to the corona topic quite quickly. We talked about the different strategies in our countries. This was quite interesting for me because in a few weeks I would be back home in Germany again. But it was also interesting to see how some rules are handled differently in France.

We agreed that after COVID we want to make a meeting in person possible. I have been to some of the more southern parts of France, but there is still a lot left to see, and therefore I would really appreciate the opportunity. We have also created an Instagram group and hope to stay in touch that way. So, fingers crossed!

French – German: Stereotypes

Yesterday we had another meeting with our German-French group. We talked extensively about stereotypes and the German and French culture.

At the beginning Leonie wanted to know how we imagine a typical French person, Tim said that the first thing he thinks of is a man with a striped shirt, a beret and a baguette under his arm. To our disappointment, Leonie pointed out that at most a few girls wear them and then only in Paris. She said in general that many French stereotypes only apply to Paris rather than the rest of the country. Another cliché that came to mind was that French people don’t like to speak English – according to Leonie, it’s primarily not because they don’t like it, but that they can’t or have a hard time with the pronunciation. For Tim, the typical public demonstrations in France were another distinctive behavior that he associates with France. From the other French girls I met in Tampere, I learned that the French love tarte – whether sweet or savory, there is almost always a tarte. Also, Leonie has pointed out to us that if we are ever in France must necessarily try frogs or snails, as these are also typical French specialties – I think here I will have to pass, however.

For Leonie, a typical German is dressed in lederhosen and drinking beer. I think this image of Germans still persists worldwide. However, lederhosen are only typical clothing in southern Germany and are mainly worn in Bavaria at traditional festivals like Oktoberfest. Of course, we also got to the classic cultural points like punctuality for Germany and disorganization for French. We ended up with the working conditions; Leonie told us that the unstructuredness of the French comes from the fact that they are always stressed because they work six days a week. In Germany, on the other hand, they only work five days a week. However, in both countries the standard working time is 40 hours per week. Most of the clichés surrounding France come from the capital, Paris, and the behavior of the citizens there. In Germany, on the other hand, life and mentality in Berlin is very different from the rest of the country, even though it is the capital and the seat of government.

In the end we had a long discussion about different types of bread with some difficulties in understanding, that was very funny and led to lots of different photos of baguettes in our WhatsApp chat – but now we know that a baguette like we have in Germany is actually not a real baguette compared to the typical French baguette.

French – German: Stereotypes of our countries

Since Germany and France are so close together, there are a lot of stereotypes about each other. Therefore, we decided to talk about them this time and elaborate on what is at least partly true and what is just wrong.

We started by collecting all the stereotypes we could think of about the other country. Lisa and I described the stereotypical French person as a man with a striped shirt, a beret hat and a baguette. Leonie described the stereotypical German guy with leather pants and a plaid shirt, drinking a beer and eating a pretzel. What was fun for us is that both these stereotypes are only true for a certain region of the country. While the stereotypical German is mainly describing the Bavarian culture, the stereotypical French guy is more a description of a Parisian.

But there were also some stereotypes we had of France that were approved by Leonie. For example, the eating habits that seem weird to the German tongue, like frog legs and snails. Leonie explained to us that Frog legs are eaten quite rarely, while snails for her are more like a regular fancy celebration dinner. This was quite interesting to me.

An interesting similarity we discovered is the difference between the capital cities from the rest of the country. Leonie told us that in her opinion, the Parisian lifestyle has more of a negative reputation. She described them as rushed people that complain a lot about everything. For Lisa and me, Berlin has more of a positive connotation. A lot of people around me went to Berlin for a few months for an internship. Berlin for us is more of an alternative and welcoming culture and is a relatively green and spacious city compared to the rest of Germany.

I really enjoyed this week’s session, and I feel like I have learned a lot about French culture and its similarities to Germany.

French – German: Music

After a smaller break in between our meetings, we finally managed to make another meeting happen! Inspired by other groups, we decided to also talk about music from artists from our country.

We started by asking each other what music we know from the other country. I was not surprised to hear 99 Luftbalons from Leonie. But I was surprised to hear O-Tannenbaum. Leonie said it was a part of her German lessons and is therefore quite known in France. From my side, the only French song that came into my mind right away was Alors on danse. Leonie helped us out with a classic French song called La vie en rose by Édith Piaf which is also quite famous from different movies.

After this, we continued with some famous music from our generation. Leonie started by showing us some rap music that she likes to listen to with her friends. Lisa and I were agreeing on the fact that there is a lot of German rap music, which we don’t like. But we could also agree that there is one Artist called Apache which has become quite famous in the last years and was more favoured by us as well. We also realized how little story there is in a lot of rap songs, which made it quite hard to translate the meaning of the song for each other.

After the rap songs I wanted to show something from a different genre and went with Pocahontas from AnnenMayKantereit. This Song has a happy feel to it although it is about a failed relationship. This song has also become quite popular in the last few years and even Leonie thinks she has already heard it somewhere.

For me this session was quite interesting because I think talking about music is something more personal and I liked hearing Lisas and Leonies opinion on it.

French – German: Listening to Music

Unfortunately, we could not meet now for some time. Therefore, it was all the happier that it finally worked out again today and we have seen or heard us once again.

Since we have already discussed many general topics and I have seen in the blog posts of others that they have listened to music, we have also decided to do so.

We listened to some different songs from various styles from France and Germany and tried to translate them.

Among others, Leonie showed us the song La vie en rose by Édith Piaf, which is known mainly from French films or films set in France. The song is about seeing life through rose-colored glasses. She also showed us two cool (pop) rap songs, Je m’en tape by OBOY and Toutes les couleurs by Ninho. As with the German rap songs, we had to realize that the lyrics in rap songs often don’t make sense. However, we liked the sound of the French rap songs much better than the common German ones.

We showed her Roller by Apache 207 a well-known German rap song, but it really makes no sense at all. We could only explain that it was about scooters.

We also let her hear Pocahontas by AnnenMayKantenreit. A song about a failed relationship, but it doesn’t sound as sad as the lyrics make it sound. Leonie even knew this song.

Of course, a typical German “Schlager” song could not be missing! We have chosen Atemlos by Helene Fischer, which is played especially at the Oktoberfest up and down.

Leonie showed us then finally Sous les sunlights des Tropiques by Gilbert Montagné what is a French hit song about dancing in the sun.

It was really very interesting to hear the French songs. I could imagine to include one or  other song of OBOY in my Spotify playlist, because I really liked the style of his song.

German-Chinese Meeting #10 Numbers, Weekdays, Months & Seasons

For our final meeting, we decided to talk about numbers, months and seasons and go back a little to teach each other more about the vocabulary than the culture of the respective language.

For numbers, we were really surprised how comparably easy it is since both ways are rather similar to also Engish or Finnish and I guess all of us were pretty good at even saying numbers in the thousands since you just “have to put the numbers from 1 to 10 together” in a certain way. However, there were a couple of interesting differences such as that you are supposed to pronounce the 0 in a number like 102 or that there is a formal and informal version of the number 2. Moreover, I thought it was interesting that Chinese people tend to put a comma after four digits rather than three digits as I am used to – however, in Germany we change dots and commata which is probably just as confusing.

I had to laugh a lot when talking about the Chinese months since they are called 1-month for january, 2-month for february, and so on with “yuè” being the Chinese word for month that just gets added after saying the respective number.

When talking about the seasons, I learned the hard way how important the correct pronounciation is in Chinese since the word for “spring” can also mean “stupid” when pronounced slightly incorrectly.

Overall, I think it was a pleasure to meet my team mates and I learned a lot about the Chinese language and culture of which I apparently knew less about than expected and I hope that I could teach them a little about the German culture and langauge as well. I can really recommend Each-One-Teach-One – also for the aspect of getting to know new, nice people from all over the world!

German-Chinese Meeting #9 Household & Living Conditions

In this session we were talking about the look of a typical Chinese or German Household and the living conditions.

Since I am in Finland, I unfortunately could not show the way my parents’ house looks, however, I taught them that especially in villages it is not uncommon that three or sometimes even four generations live in one house. Therefore, our houses have a lot of floors. Additionally, I taught them about German house-related vocabulary such as chair, table, bathroom, living room or kitchen. For the latter, it was very interesting that in Chinese households parties take place in the dining room near the kitchen as my group mate told me. I guess this also stands true to some German households, however, in my family, when there are parties, we go to the living room and expand a table there so everyone can take a seat so the kitchen is out-of-sight because of the mess during and after cooking and the dishes afterwards.

Considering the lack of space in China as it is reported by the media (especially in cities), I was surprised that my group mate’s family even has a small garden/porch and a balcony which is common for me coming from a tiny village. Otherwise, I was surprised that the living style is rather similar.

Overall a very interesting session!

German-Chinese Meeting #8 Educational System

In today’s session, me and my team mates were talking about our respective educational system. I taught them about the process of going from kindergarten to university in Germany. They seemed especially surprised when I told them that there are three different types of schools one can go to after elemantary school that are all on different levels regarding their “difficulty”. E.g., you can finnish Main school (Hauptschule) in 4-5 years and start working but then you have the lowest degree possible and therefore only few options in jobs. However, when you attend high school (Gymansium) and make your Abitur, one can go to university but you will need 8-9 years to get to your final exam (Abitur). A High school’s schedule is also way more demanding and academic than a Main school’s schedule. Also, there are many special forms of schools and degrees in between these two “extrema” and they differ from state to state what surpised them as much as it surprises me even though I am German and went through that very system. However, the German schedules include a lot more breaks and puts probably less pressure on students than the Chinese system.

In Chinese High schools there are piles of bookes every students has to go through according to some pictures. Moreover, there are banners in class saying things along the lines of “when you study harder you will get a place at a good university [like Beijing]” to encourage the students to study more – I have never seen such banners or messages in German schools. A typical day in Chinese schools also includes dedicated nap-times, wearing uniforms and participating in some sports programme either just running or taking part in huge group dancing or gymnastics events with instructors. I knew about the high standards, the Chinese education system imposes on the students, however, I never really got why it is that demanding until today’s presentation: There is simply too much competition among students. With over 100 million students it makes sense that there need to be some (strict) measures to see who is worth going to a good university and who is not. Additionally, there are influences from the communist government being very demanding.

Overall, one of the most educating session I had with my Chinese peers and I am looking forward to the next one.

German-Chinese Meeting #7 Typical Leisure Activities

In our 7th meeting, we were sharing thoughts on typical Chinese or German leisure activities (if there was no pandemic).

Surprisingly, China’s and Germany’s youth are rather similar when it comes to leisure. In both cultures, we like to engage in activities that include meeting our friends, spending time with them or going to parties. Especially eating together or going to bars seem to be the most common Chinese leisure activities for young people. I was also surprised when they told me that having bubble tea is considered a leisure activity since it seems very specific. However, there are two major differences in typical leisure activities in Germany and in China:

  1. KTV/Karaoke has in Chinese culture a way higher status and is of way higher importance than in Germany. According to my team mates they go to Karaoke Bars regularly and consider it as a leisure activity some people even engage in in the afternoon sometimes as opposed to just in the evening as I would have expected it.
  2. Me and my friends try to spend as much time outside as possible. Whether it is going to a lake in summer, doing sports outside or especially going on hikes. For the latter, my team mates told me that it is almost no option for them when living in a major city in China because it simply does not have enough nature to offer in order to make it properly enjoyable.

All in all, however, the activities Chinese and German youth likes to engage in is rather similar as I would not have expected it. However, considering my past meetings with my team mates it seems like they have generally less leisure than we have in Germany due to their demanding educational system. This topic will be covered in our next meeting and I am really looking forward to it.