Caitlin Ahern

English communication in Graz, Austria

How to be … Austrian?

Today I came across this hilarious article written by Adam Fletscher, a Brit who used to live in Berlin. With each entry I could identify completely, as the same can be said of Austria (except the curtains). At the same time, I realized how much of these former peculiarities have become part of my life.

Take house shoes – I can’t believe that for 22 years I wore shoes in the house!! As devout King of Queens fans, my husband and I now yell at the TV every time we see Doug lying in bed with his shoes on (which is pretty often).

Or Apfelsaftgespritz (which I can only assume is the same as Apfelsaftschorle). I am so used to the fact that whenever I go out a certain percentage of the table will order it that I had to remind myself recently that apple juice diluted with carbonated water is probably not something most American adults feel comfortable ordering at dinner (even if it’s sparkling).

Or saying what you mean. Fletscher writes, “English is not about what you say, but how you say it.” This is so true, and something that causes many “language miscommunications” for me. Not only getting rid of all the pre-question language (“I was just wondering, if it’s not too inconvenient, only if you want to, do you think you’d be able to pick me up?”) but also being able to say “No. That is bad.” etc. is quite freeing. At the same time, if the recipient isn’t ready for such blunt speech, it can cause some friction.

See for yourself:

What do you think: how many of these can be applied to Austria? Do you agree with them? Leave your comments below!

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This entry was posted on November 16, 2012 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , .
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