It’s all about the culture.

Monday Mails. It’s all about the culture.

“I would never write it like that“, If had a € everytime I heard this phrase, I wouldn’t be a millionaire, unfortunately, but my piggy bank (Sparscherin) would be full to breaking point.

Previously, I had told him/her something, “why don’t you use the phrase ‚‘I’d appreciate it, if you could ……‘ (Ich wäre Ihnen dankbar, wenn) to ask sb to do sth?“ For German ears, it does indeed sound a little too ‘beat about the bush‘ (um den heißen Brei herumreden) ish (‘maßig‘).

But WE do use it, and that is the key thing. Just last week a participant (Teilnehmer) asked me to read over a circular (Rundschreiben), which should go out to various heads of department (both natives and German) requesting something. As it sounded too ‘German‘ in some parts, I rewrote them.

Guess what happenend next? Yep, the natives did what they were requested to do, whereas a number of German colleagues questioned the style of writing and even complained about the wording (Formulierung) in some instances to the surprise and annoyance (Verärgerung) of my participant – naturally I got an earful (from him)too. (sich was anhören müssen)

The moral of this story – It’s all about the culture.

It also reminds me of the ‘How to be British‘ postcards which you can take a look at @


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