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Localization manager/translator and coach/intercultural consultant living in Berlin (Germany), passionate about diversity management and intercultural communication, self-awareness and coaching, SFBT and NVC, languages, cultures, body art, dancing, self-empowerment, and, last but not least, vegan gluten-free keto food and good movies.

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A Lot Like Purple is my personal blog.
I'm the only person responsible for its content and the views and opinions expressed here are solely mines.
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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Words one should better forget, while learning a new language

During the last year, one of my worst nightmares has been...
Learning new German words, in order to improve my vocabulary and to enhance my language skills in German.
Yesterday I had just another chance to observe that, sometimes, instead of learning new words, it's actually better to forget some of them or to rather never use them.

One of the most dangerous is certainly "typisch", that in German means "typical".

Even if I don't like to generalize, I have to notice, day in and day out, that, funny enough, one of the most "terrible" things you could tell most Germans is: "You are typical as a German".
Usually, awkward cricket silence follows.
Yes, even if you mean it absolutely in a good way and you are paying them a compliment.

Mental note to myself: Never use the word "typical" when it comes to another culture.
You will not get anything good. Even if what you're saying is actually typical.

Tags: Clich├ęs about Germans, Diversity, Cultural stereotypes, Being typical, Awkward intercultural misunderstandings

What to read next:
The first secret of intercultural communication, or why screaming a name in the wrong language is not always the best choice for making new friends

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