Sunday, January 08, 2006

Enquiring Minds Want to Know

My time at home has led to some perplexing German-American questions that I would like to pose to the peanut gallery. Some may find these questions mindless while others might also be perplexed. In either case, you know what I have been spending part of my vacation thinking about:-)

1. I bought a pair of “penny loafers.” But since I don’t have any pennies in Berlin, should I use euros and does that make them “euro loafers?” Did there used to be “pfennig loafers?”

2. If you go on a blind date in Germany, do you use the “du” (informal you) or “Sie” (formal you?) Does the answer change if the man is a lot older than I am? In a variety of made-for-tv Christmas movies I saw in Berlin, the main characters go on their first date and use “Sie.” At what point would a couple “duzen/dutzen” each other (decide that they will use the informal you?) Does this mark an important step in the relationship?

3. My apartment lease states that I am to open the windows in my apartment for 5 minutes each day. I thought this was a joke, a funny reward for reading through the otherwise boring rental contract. Apparently not! A friend of mine is currently in a disagreement with his landlord who says that some mildew in the apartment was caused by not fully airing out the place. What!? I know no American who regularly airs out his/her house. If anything, Germans seem to be terrified of drafts so I am surprised they would open the windows in the winter.

4. Do German cars that are not automatic have cruise control? I have thoroughly enjoyed using the cruise control in my car and wonder whether manual cars can cruise. What is the German word for cruise control? Does it sound as cool?

It is with those thoughts that I begin 2006! Cheers!


At 4:41 AM, Anonymous Robert said...

some thoughts about your questions

2. you say "Sie" to an unknown person and at some time in a realation ship or what ever one offer "du". Most times the older person offers the younger one.

@blind date i think "sie" last only a few minutes

4. cars without automatic don't have cruise control. It's just not possible. But some automatic cars are offered with CC.
the german word is suprise suprise:
cruise control

At 12:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

4. I think this answer is not right. There are also manual shifting cars with a so called Tempomat the geramn word for CC.

At 2:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

2. It also depends on where you're from. In Rheinland people seem much more inclined to use Du. At work, which is very formal, I've often had Rheinländisch interns approach me using "du."

At 10:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Part of the beauty of penny loafers is the copper color shining through. I haven't travelled to Europe lately, but are there copper colored coins in EU currency? If not, I suggest you stick to pennies :) Anuradha

At 1:56 AM, Blogger kelly said...

To the "lufting"-- my theory is that it's because they don't have central heating. In the US our air is naturally circulated because of the heating system, but here it all just sits there. And it doesn't matter how cold it is outside, as I found out early on in Tauberbischofsheim in my seat by the window in our classroom. 30° below zero? doesn't matter-- the Lufting must go on!

At 12:40 PM, Blogger Erin said...

Thanks for all the comments! Something is wrong with my email notifications so I didn't realize anyone commented until just now.

"Lufting," "Dutzing" and "Tempomat"... I'm learning all sorts of helpful new words.

At 10:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yup - manual-equipped cars can have cruise control.



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