• vom 25.09.2013, 14:25 Uhr

Blogs

Update: 25.09.2013, 15:43 Uhr

An American in Vienna

Learning the language




  • Artikel
  • Lesenswert (0)
  • Drucken
  • Leserbrief




Von Nathaniel Minor

  • Why knowing German is important to feeling at home in Austria

Jaroslav and Vera are both 87 years old, and have been married for 60 years. They were enjoying a quiet sit in the park when I interrupted their afternoon. After I took their picture, Jaroslav pulled out a camera phone and turned the tables. Thanks to Martin Breth for translating for me. - © Nathaniel Minor

Jaroslav and Vera are both 87 years old, and have been married for 60 years. They were enjoying a quiet sit in the park when I interrupted their afternoon. After I took their picture, Jaroslav pulled out a camera phone and turned the tables. Thanks to Martin Breth for translating for me. © Nathaniel Minor

Oh, the curse of looking like a native. Most people I talk to around Vienna - a waiter or a cashier at the grocery store, for example – usually glance at me and say something like "Grüß Gott. Kann ich Ihnen helfen?"

I can usually get by if the transaction is simple – a few semesters of college German taught me at least that much. It's when the conversation veers into uncharted territory that I have to capitulate. "Ich spreche nur ein bisschen Deutsch. Sprechen Sie English?"

Information

I am an American journalist from Minnesota Public Radio on a fellowship through the International Center for Journalists in Washington, D.C.

Werbung

Most often, whomever I'm speaking with bashfully says their English is terrible – and then we go on to have a near-perfect conversation in English. While this helps me complete the task at hand, it does nothing to help me feel like a part of the city. And doing just that is an important part of why I'm here.

Additionally, there are plenty of people who don't speak much English – especially when you get away from the shops and restaurants catering to American and European tourists to areas frequented by the locals. And as a journalist, those are the areas that interest me the most.

And though the following example isn't from Vienna, I think it supports my point. I was in Prague last weekend with a Czech friend from the U.S. With his help, we spoke with an elderly couple in a park and I took the photograph above. There's no way I could've done that alone.

So even though I'll be leaving Austria at the end of next month, I've enrolled in an evening German language course. Obviously, I'm not going to become a local in the short amount of time I have here. But at least I'll be able to talk to them a little bit more.




Leserkommentare




Mit dem Absenden des Kommentars erkennen Sie unsere Online-Nutzungsbedingungen an.


captcha Absenden

* Pflichtfelder (E-Mail-Adresse wird nicht veröffentlicht)


Dokumenten Information
Copyright © Wiener Zeitung Online 2016
Dokument erstellt am 2013-09-25 14:29:56
Letzte ─nderung am 2013-09-25 15:43:41



Werbung