Monday, March 03, 2008

German. Useful after all.


We spent the weekend in Greece. And as most people know, they speak Greek there. And English is the second language. So what good is German? Actually, it's more useful than you would think. Imagine:

1. Two guys come up to you while you are waiting at the port for a ferry. They want money from you and tell you a sad story in English about how they are soldiers. They ask where you are from. You say "Schweiz". Then they ask, "but do you speak English?" You shake your head and say, "Ich verstehe nicht. Ich spreche Deutsch." They say, "50 cents?" You shrug your shoulders like you don't understand and say "Nein." They give up and move on looking confused.

2. You are sitting on a bench enjoying the 70 degree day in a park in Athens. See picture above for where you could be sitting. Two women approach you and say something in Greek. You stare back at them like they are crazy. But they can't tell you think they're crazy because you're wearing sunglasses. Since you don't say anything, they switch to English. "Do you speak English? We are Jehovah's Witnesses and we are spreading the word." You set down your English magazine and say, "Nein." They look at each other and say, "Oh, you are from Germany. Well we don't have any documentation in German, only Greek and English." They show their documentation. You shake your head, acting confused. They walk on and you get back to your English magazine and enjoy the sun.

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