Who, What, Why?

Hi, my name is Franzi, I was born and raised in South Germany, close to the Black Forest. I studied English and Protestant Theology in the beautiful city of Tübingen, and due to my Erasmus semester in Durham, I found an English boyfriend. During the years of our distant relationship I learned a lot about the UK, its dishes, its various dialects, its customs and people – or at least, I thought I did.

Yet, having actually lived in the UK (to be more precise: Liverpool) for over a year, I realise that I only ever caught glimpses of British culture. Living in the country, working here, listening to the radio, going to the doctor, etc - these are experiences that really allowed me a much wider and deeper understanding of English culture. Even more surprisingly, I now sense my German heritage more than ever, and see my own country and its customs from a new perspective.

I never thought about myself as being very German, let alone was I particularly proud of being a German – our history taught us otherwise. After more than 12 months in Liverpool, I think very differently about myself: I AM very German - in the way I do and say things, in the way I miss German bread, baking ingredients and our summers. Not to forget all the stereotypes about us: punctual, precise to a point of meticulous know-all manner, in love with rules, sausages and practical clothing, direct, impolite, effective, and so on. Ten years ago, I would have disagreed with most of these stereotypes; four years ago, I hesitantly admitted to some of them; today, I just have to agree and smile.

The idea for this blog developed when I was doing the hoovering in our English flat ON A SUNDAY MORNING. To the English reader, the capitalised time frame of my housework activity might not ring a bell. A German reader, however, will probably raise an eyebrow and hope that the walls of our flat are soundproof and the windows were shut. While vigorously moving the nozzle to and fro, I thought about the Denglish differences, of how my noisy activity is absolutely acceptable in England, but marginal in Germany. You ask yourself why? Good! This is what this blog is about!

In this blog, I want to give insights into Denglish culture – both for English and German readers. You might be a German learner, an English person living in Germany, or vice versa, an English learner, a German person living in the UK or just an individual who is interested in cultural differences, cooking, baking, language learning and Denglish oddities. You will find recipes, entries about idioms, language barriers, misunderstandings and stereotypes – because learning a new language can only truly be achieved by embracing its culture, i.e. trying foods you don’t know, watching TV, listening to music, speaking to people and living their way of life. Just like every feeling is linked with sensual perceptions, i.e. seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, a real feel for language can only be developed by our senses working together, thus creating a wider picture of culture.

Hopefully, reading about the Denglish way of life will open your eyes to the beauty of cultural differences and to the possibilities of cultural dialogue. Enjoy reading, baking and cooking. Challenge your feel of language with all senses. And of course, feel welcome to comment, to ask questions and, most importantly, to embrace your heritage. 

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