CULTURE: …and then I tried to join the Warteschlange

Spotlight - epaper ⋅ Ausgabe 5/2019 vom 10.04.2019 ⋅ Seiten 64-67 ⋅ Lesedauer ca. 8 Min.

CULTURE: …and then I tried to join the Warteschlange

DAGMAR TAYLOR lebt sehr gerne in Deutschland. Wenn da nicht die unzähligen merkwürdigen und überhaupt nicht logischen Dinge wären, über die sie immer wieder stolpert.

The linguistic and cultural misunderstandings between German and English are an endless source of amusement. After almost 20 years in Germany, I have come across plenty. Join me now as I explore another four everyday topics that have created opportunities for confusion and embarrassment for English speakers in Germany.


Believe it or not, queuing in the UK can be quite a pleasant experience. It’s all: “Oops, sorry, I didn’t see you there. Go ahead.”

“No, after you.”

“No, no, no. I insist. After you. You were here first.”

“Thank you. It’s a lovely day, isn’t it?” “Beautiful. Much nicer than yesterday.” Not so in Germany. If many of the rules for living together in Germany seem a bit too strict, rules for queuing are a bit too lax. The word for “queue” in German isSchlange (snake) — bringing to mind a writhing beast, but nevertheless one with a more or less linear shape. Queues in Germany ...

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