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June 3, 2006

German Language – Über Humor?

German FlagI recently read an article in The Guardian Unlimited that humorously claims that Germans have no sense of humor. The claim is built on the ‘nature of the German’ language — one that is very precise and inflexible.

In my German experience, however, I would say that the opposite is true. Germans have a terrific sense of humor. After all, in German:

  • It’s perfectly acceptable use the word Fahrt every time you get near a highway exit or entrance.
  • You can get away with saying damit (with it) in every other sentence.
  • You can refer to your friends as dich (you accusative).
  • The bigger your gut, (good) the better it is.

Four German PeopleAnd people named after body parts have a greater chance of achieving fame and fortune:

  • Robert Koch (Nobel prize winner)
  • Heinrich Rudolf Hertz (physicist)
  • Heinrich Heine (poet)
  • Claudia Schiffer (model)

Here are a few more perspectives on German humor, or the lack thereof:

  • In a post about the Bavarian (beer) Purity Law Ronckytonk theorizes that Germans had to learn to keep a straight face while saying those huge words of theirs.
  • Here's a view of German humor from Davids Medienkritik: English soccer fans are being invited to watch the World Cup from inside a former Nazi jail.
  • Speaking of the World Cup, Sheridan: Con-Law points out a New York Times article explaining that certain things aren't just considered unfunny in Germany. They're illegal.
  • We've probably all seen VW's television commercials, but here in the US we see ads created by American agencies. But Carscoop gives us a look at one of their German ads, and it's pretty good.

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Posted by Diane Prange at June 3, 2006 7:18 AM
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