Saturday, April 18, 2009

Quick, don't think: What's typically German?

After last month's poll "What's typically American" lead to results that were as amusing as to the point, I am curious now what you think is typically German? Name five things, no names, no places. I will update the following list and count what's been repeated. Since most of our readers are not German, feel free to add an explanation if you think it necessary.

Here are my five items:
  • Limits no longer apply (Ende aller Streckenverbote): A streetsign signaling the end of all speed- and other limits, announcing Autobahn freedom. The greatest thing about Germany whatsoever.

  • Garden dwarfs (Gartenzwerge): Are little figures of clay (or plastic) one finds between tomatoes or primroses, typically in front gardens and allotments. The little guys, usually wearing red caps and engaging in some sort of outdoor work like digging or sowing seeds, are the highlights of German neatness.

  • Fachwerk: If you've seen any pictures from Germany you've seen Fachwerk. It's a way of constructing houses in which a skeleton of wooden beams is later filled in with bricks or some sort of bond. It was very popular until the 19th century. Most old city centers in Germany still feature these houses.

  • Bread with a hard crust: Even after more than five years it's a mystery how somebody can eat, not to mention make, these wiggly wobbly bakeries one finds in the rest of the world.

  • Bandwurmwörter: Nouns created by joining several words, a peculiarity of the German language. Donaudampfschiffkapitän, Schleifenquantengravitation, Rhabarberbarbarabarbarenbar.



German beer, Reinheitsgebot: 7

Currywurst, Bratwurst, Sausages: 6

Mechanical engineering,Well-built car (& plane) engines, Technology: 4

Rules, Norms and regulations: 3

Autobahn, no speed limits, speeding: 3

Physics discoveries, Quantum Mechanics: 3

Punctuality: 3

Fachwerk,Housing: 2

Forest: 2

Train system, good trains: 2

Cars and trucks (MB, BMW): 2

Bandwurmwörter: 2

Fussball, Soccer: 2

Romanticism: In music, literature and philosophy

Black Bread

Expressionism

Unheimlichen und ratselhaften Charakter (uncanny, enigmatic character)

Apparent order

Disgusting coffee

Leica

Close and open face-to-face social life among 600 year old buildings

Missing the Deutschemark

Fairy Tales

Unions

Going on vacation

Capitalized Nouns

Leopard tanks

Potatoes

Hyper-low levels of nationalism

Pollution

The villain

Techno

Conviction

Perfectionists

Science

Fiercely Independent

Second World War

Competence (whataver the nature of the activity involved)

Seriousness

Zukunftsangst: looking fearfully into the future especially in times when everything is going smoothly, but feeling the better the harder it gets.

Resilience: the ability to withstand catastrophes on a national level and come out of it better than before.

Compulsive efficiency: (at least in old school professionals) - if you want to torture a German, just make him look at a complete moron messing around with something he could do way better.

Winning on penalties

Nur mit Parkschein

Kaffee und Kuchen (and Konditorei, where the rite is celebrated)

Arschkalt (weather in Germany)

Rechtschreibreform

Backpacking

Classical music

Oktoberfest

Recycling


62 comments:

Arun said...

BMW and Leica :)

Anonymous said...

norms and regulations

Anonymous said...

Auschwitz

Anonymous said...

Disgusting watery coffee, mispronounced "Kaffe" as if the second e didn't exist.

Andrei Kirilyuk said...

Aha, so here is your true nature, Bee, another German nationalist! :) I knew it! :) Because I think indeed some very deep - and basically good! - nationalism is the main feature of Germans underlying eventually everything else. It doesn't really directed against other nations, it just assumes, as an inborn axiom, that everything German MUST be, just cannot not to be, the best possible in the world! After which one may only regret that his country (and each country) doesn't have the same inclination. There are in fact similar versions in some other nations, but German version is really the “classical” or maybe even universal one, in a sense... I rather like it, although it may have some “fundamentalist” aspects that some people (not me) may dislike or even be afraid of. What can I say, every “energy” can be dangerous or useful, all depends on detailed “application” (which continues anyway). But finally, it's better to have energy than not, even a potentially dangerous one.

There is something missing, however, in today's German energy (you're not the best, scandal!). You should add some ... German fantasy (where is it, recall your legends?!) to your science that has become sort of ... too mechanistic and dull, too standard (though together with the world's version, but Germany is the “best”, here too!). Look, with this mechanistic science tendency, it's better not to be the best :) !

Bee said...

Auschwitz is a place.

The German word for coffee is "Kaffee", "Kaffe" is Swedish.

Jean-Philippe said...

Romanticism: In music, literature and philosophy (I connect it in an essential way to Idealism)

Expressionism

Forest (dark, mysterious, mystical)

Unheimlichen und ratselhaften Charakter (uncanny, enigmatic character)

Apparent order

Bee said...

Andrei: Your endless elaborations about my alleged "true nature" - may that be feminism, socialism, or now nationalism - are completely ridiculous. If you'd at least occasionally make the effort to read what I write you would have noticed by now that you are projecting characteristics on me that could hardly be further off reality.

Bee said...

Jean: What do you mean with 'apparent order'?

Uncle Al said...

1) German beer - Reinheitsgebot (1516), sullied as the Biersteuergesetz. Compare with American slops.
2) Die Brüder Grimm - now bowdlerized into pap.
3) Ludwig von Beethoven.
4) The Autobahn! Engineer: to intentionally design with efficiency and beauty; road and cars.
5) East Germany - the most vibrant culture can be drowned in socialist mud. Be warned.

(Two WWII peccadillos...

Technical Advisory Committee Report A1ML-1. Eisenhower's owners' plundered German patents.

Los Angeles Times 18 April 2009, page A1: "Legacy inscribed on Jew's genes?" Average European Jewish IQ may be 115. The bottom 90% deleted is still evolving. US education is equally draconian... applied to the high end.)

Bee said...

Uncle: Beethoven and the Grimms are names (I turned the latter into fairy tales if you allow). East Germany is a place. You might enjoy this:

IMAGES OF A LOST WORLD -
East Germany, Up Close and Personal

Anonymous said...

Rules
Fanatical adherence to said rules
Unions
Going on vacation

Liking "The Simpsons" (but I guess that's everyone)

(Did you know that, in Germany, Uter is the *Swiss* exchange student? Haha, silly Swiss.)

Eva said...

Capitalized Nouns.

Jean-Philippe said...

Bee: I mean an order, that is obvious, apparent at first sight, but is just there as a varnish, hiding a mysterious, chaotic core, of an instinctual nature.
I feel the German identity is essentially feminine in a Freudian way (in the sense of the concept of Unheimliche, the German expression of my previous comment was used by Freud to describe Mona Lisa), the apparent masculinity is just a facade.
I feel something comparable about Japan too.

Bee said...

Gosh, this is harder than I thought. Now I feel like I have to add a commentary on everything.

Anonymous: You are dead wrong when you say fanatical adherence to rules is typically German. In fact, this fanatical adherence of rules is something that drives me nuts when I'm in America. Saying "I'm just following orders" is the surest way to upset a German. My experience with German and American bureaucracy has been that the Germans can think for themselves and recognize if a rule doesn't make sense in a particular case, they will come up with a way to work around it. The Americans will say I'm doing my job, and if you want to argue you'll have to talk to a supervisor, who'll call for his supervisor, who'll call the president or something to clarify the matter. (Alternatively, I suppose you can date the secretary to get what you want).

Anonymous said...

Well, in my defense, I was told not to think before writing.

:)

Bee said...

Hi Jean,

Oh, I see. I quite like that. It's indeed quite true that under a cover of the orderly, Germans are more chaotic and disorganized than you'd think :-) Best,

B.

Bee said...

Hi Anonymous:

Well, in my defense, I was told not to think before writing.

:)
Touché :-) It is probably the case that many people think this. As I said, I just felt like I had to comment on it. I counted you under the rules and regulations, but found the adherence to them is too much of a repetition to count twice. Do you want to add another 5th item? Best,

B.

Anonymous said...

How about "good trains?"

Andrei Kirilyuk said...

Bee said: “Andrei: Your endless elaborations about my alleged "true nature" - may that be feminism, socialism, or now nationalism - are completely ridiculous.”

So maybe that part was just for fun? Even Germans cannot be against some fun, though they tend to be VERY serious indeed. :) But contrary to your case, I put “nationalism” as something “typically German” rather seriously... I know, of course, that you are not typically German. :) You should be typically international. :) The Bee nation? Living in a happy nation ... of oneself! (just an idea).

I also like Jean-Philippe's choice, although one may afraid that those “deeper” and truly interesting features tend to disappear today (at least externally) under the influence of some superficial “international” industrial culture, driven by consumption, TV and all that... And the world will become one big united states of global america (with lower profits, however) :) .

Jean-Philippe said...

Hi Andrei,

I seem to disagree, I don't think the core of German identity is (or even can be) under the threat of disappearing because of some influence that you yourself call superficial. It is just a transitory phenomenon, that started after WW2 and is now coming to an end (the same applies to Japan again).

The challenge for Germany is now to find an expression of what is genuine to herself, in the context of Europe, and I am quite optimistic about it, now that most american influence (such as the neoconservative nonsense, see Habermas about it) is dwindling down.

CapitalistImperialistPig said...

The trouble with this type of question is that a type of adverse selection operates - when I followed your rule "don't think" the first things that came to my mind were a couple of unpleasant encounters with individual Germans - an officious bureaucrat and an obnoxious tourist to be more specific. The much more numerous, and probably far more typical, pleasant encounters were remembered later.

Some broader impressions, probably equally misleading, are "hard drinking," "dangerous driving" and "compulsively neat."

But the girls were friendly, the beer was excellent, and the bread not bad.

Richard said...

Die Mannschaft ALWAYS scoring in the last minute of a football match. At least it feels that way :-)

Tkk said...

Mechanical engineering

Physics discoveries

Cars and trucks (MB, BMW)

Leopard tanks

Beer

All icons of best in the world

Peter Shor said...

Let me explain my item "punctuality" with a little story. In the 1980's, at a conference, six of us, three Americans and three Germans, decided to meet for breakfast. We would gather at 8:30 and walk over to a nearby restaurant. By 8:45, none of the Germans had shown up. We decided to go to the restaurant without them, and when we got there, found they were already there - they had all arrived promptly at 8:30, and a couple of minutes later they decided the Americans weren't going to show up and walked over without us.

Peter Shor said...

My five items seem not to have gone through properly. I must have forgotten to click. Here they are:

Rules
Punctuality
Well-built car (& plane) engines
Potatoes
The Berlin wall (is that a place?)

ovidio said...

1. Beer
2. Quantum Mechanics
3. Currywurst
4. Bandwurmwörter
5. Hyper-low levels of nationalism

michaeldcassidy said...

Typical German:

drinks beer

when drunk quotes goethe and rilke until dawn

Tap dances naked in Times Square on New Years Eve

Georg said...

Asking Questions like:
"What is typical German?"
:=)

trond said...

bratwurst
beer
pollution
the villain
techno

Bee said...

Hi Peter,

Ha, that's a funny story :-) Though in my impression Germans aren't all that punctual. They might just interpret an agreed upon meeting time more literally. If you suggest to meet AT 8:30, I'll expect you to be there AT 8:30. Not 8:15, not 8:45, but 8:30. If you say let's meet AROUND 8:30, I'll give you a grace period of 15 minutes. Ie, never forget the errorbars. And yes, the Berlin Wall is a place I'm afraid. Best,

B.

Bee said...

Hi Michael: You must have interesting friends :-)

Bee said...

Trond,

Just out of curiosity: why pollution? Best,

B.

andrewg said...

Slightly OT...

The "end of all restrictions" sign is not unique to Germany - a similar sign is also used in the UK (and until recently Ireland), however it means something slightly different.

It used to mean the same thing as in Germany, but during the oil crisis a national speed limit of 60 or 70 mph (depending on the class of the road) was introduced. Instead of replacing the "no limit" signs they cut costs and just redefined their meaning. Now when you're driving in the UK you have to memorise the speed limits for the different classes of rural road, because they aren't written on any signs.

Thankfully the Republic of Ireland, who had followed suit but with different values(!), corrected this a couple of years ago when they metricated their speed limits.

Oh, and to get back on topic: engineering, forests, wurst, beer, black bread.

trond said...

Acid rain. I guess it's more historical, but it's what came to mind.

Anonymous said...

I know that Germany is now completely different, but if I don't think before writing, "Auschwitz" and war horrors are the first things that come to mind.

By the way, how do you tell "I obeyed to orders" in German? People who had post-docs in Germany tell me that this aspect is still present, and they were in Munchen!

Andrei Kirilyuk said...

Jean-Philippe said: “The challenge for Germany is now to find an expression of what is genuine to herself, in the context of Europe, and I am quite optimistic about it, now that most american influence (such as the neoconservative nonsense, see Habermas about it) is dwindling down.”

We agree on the challenge, but it may be more complicated with optimism about its realisation. There are no practical, visible signs in that direction. Even here, you see, there is a couple of people far from Germany who still prefer to think and be interested in “genuine” things realisation, while Germans and other “Europeans” tend to “quick-don't-think” about beer and cars and another billion of small practical features. Just “advanced” consumers, everywhere, including “intellectual” spheres. Science is but a vain, deeply corrupt competition for positions and salaries (everywhere, of course, not only in Germany). This degradation is simply “pioneered” by the USA today, but otherwise it's quite “international”, killing “genuine” life tendencies in the USA as well as elsewhere. After which they try to “save” it all by superficial “technical” arrangements (always reduced to ever more inflationary money redistribution in favour of ever emptier promises by ever more lying “elites”). The resulting impression is that a greater change is still indispensable if one wants to switch from today's mediocrity-dominated degradation to intelligence-based progress, with flourishing “genuine” tendencies and positive creative mood.

Andreas said...

Zukunftsangst - looking fearfully into the future especially in times when everything is going smoothly, but fealing the better the harder it gets.

Resilience - the ability to withstand catastrophes on a national level and come out of it better than before.

Compulsive efficiency (at least in old school professionals) - if you want to torture a German, just make him look at a complete moron messing around with something he could to way better.

Trying to break the sonic barrier on the Autobahn

Winning on penalties

Cordoba78 said...

Fussball

Christine said...

Great thinkers, great physicists, great composers (you may enter separately if you wish)

Punctuality

Sausages

Second World War

Competence (whataver the nature of the activity involved)

Seriousness

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,


Conviction

Perfectionists

Science

Technology

Fiercely Independent


Best,


Phil

Flavio said...

Physics discoveries, Quantum Mechanics

Classical music

Oktoberfest

Recycling

Anonymous said...

Hi Bee,

Bratwurst

Beer

Soccer

A160CC (mine :-)

Punctuality (at least they try harder than others)

Beethoven

"Uncle Albert", Max und Werner.

I compliment your currage to ask in the first place!

best

Klaus said...

best

Klaus

(above comment)

Jean-Philippe said...

Andrei,

I agree that "there are no practical, visible signs in that direction". But I take this as a reason for optimism, since if there was such signs, then the evolution would just be a boring one, quite obvious, and that does not entail any radical change.

What we may agree on as well, is that there are a wealth of fundamental problems, and these ones become more and more acute every day: problem in education, in economic organization, in meaning, and ultimately, at the root of all, a problem of identity.
All the questions raised by these domains were, until now, provided an answer by religions. However, we are now entering the last phase of a change started with the Renaissance, and that is taking the care of organizing human affairs away from the religion (in the largest sense of the term, as a system that posits a transcendental order, in this sense, the kind of consumerist capitalism that is coming to an end, was a religious system). For more on this aspect, you may check on the works of Marcel Gauchet.
At the center of this evolution is Europe, and this context creates a void that can only be filled by creativity, not an effect of creativity, not another static system, be it a new one, that would transfix identity and human societies into another archetype; but creativity itself, as a process to make history into an activity of self-invention, and not one of self-discovery or self-assertion, that refers to a higher order of reality.

It is in relation with this evolution that Germany, as well as other European countries, must reassert its identity, not as a set of reified aspirations or typicalities (to come back to the original topic) but as a mode of creativity.
The most direct effect of this change will be a new understanding of the democratic process.

AcademicLurker said...

Backpacking.

It seems that no matter what remote corner of the world I find myself in, I'm sure to see German backpackers there.

estraven said...

CurrywurstNur mit Parkschein - this one was so hard during my first visit in Germany: I knew what Mondschein (moonshine) was, and was very confused.
Kaffee und Kuchen (and Konditorei, where the rite is celebrated)
Arschkalt (weather in Germany)
Rechtschreibreform

Anonymous said...

@eastraven: you don't know what arschkalt is until you've spend a winter in Montreal.

Andrei Kirilyuk said...

Jean-Philippe said: “At the center of this evolution is Europe, and this context creates a void that can only be filled by creativity, not an effect of creativity, not another static system, be it a new one, that would transfix identity and human societies into another archetype; but creativity itself, as a process to make history into an activity of self-invention, and not one of self-discovery or self-assertion, that refers to a higher order of reality.”

Sure, I express it by saying that usual history is finished and therefore now it's the genuine history of spirit that can and should only start and form the only possible basis of further civilisation development (if any!).

“It is in relation with this evolution that Germany, as well as other European countries, must reassert its identity, not as a set of reified aspirations or typicalities (to come back to the original topic) but as a mode of creativity.”

Countries “must”, but they are so much dominated by the above-mentioned “void” that one can hardly imagine any evolution at the level of a country (let alone the continent, where the official and luxurious EU leadership directs all its huge resources to produce a poor, catastrophically inefficient copy of Soviet or American empires themselves obviously continuing their catastrophic fall). Therefore, the miraculous “evolution” (or rather revolution) we are talking about can only emerge initially in locally small (though spiritually great!) forms, almost like those first Christians hiding in their Roman Catacombs! But of course, one needs something more than a catacomb in today's globalised world and one has no time resource of a few centuries for it to develop (rather just a few years). So ... one should be really VERY optimistic about it, a true believer indeed, “despite everything”...

“The most direct effect of this change will be a new understanding of the democratic process.”

Of course! These roughly manipulated crowds of today's void-dominated “democracy”, where nobody can understand anything any more, including “experts” and “elites”, become openly self-destructive, even apart from any “advanced” dream about another world possibility. It seems, by the way, that the original inventors of all unitary “political regimes” (their full, much wider range), ancient Greeks, tended to dislike democracy as the least desirable regime... Needless to recall their level of development where philosophers (relatively much more “special” than today's “scientists”) could easily compete with “politicians”, let alone “business men”, in popularity and practical influence... Another reason for today's “big masters”, giving lessons to everybody and dominating only by (obviously self-destructive) material prosperity, to deflate all their “bubbles” and start supporting few real change creators as the only possibility to restart progress instead of the current catastrophically advancing, “multi-dimensional” degradation (which is like omnipresent inflating void indeed behind all those particular deceptive bubbles!).

Jean-Philippe said...

First, let me apologize to Bee for kind of hijacking this post. If she wishes to, we may transfer this discussion to my blog, and whoever wants to come in may follow there. Just let me know, and I will create an entry for it to develop, if Andrei or anybody else is interested into furthering it.

Andrei said: “Sure, I express it by saying that usual history is finished and therefore now it's the genuine history of spirit that can and should only start and form the only possible basis of further civilisation development (if any!).”Here, there may be a problem of vocabulary, so I should precise a few things. Such a term as “history of spirit” is much too Hegelian for me, I don’t acknowledge the presence of any necessity in history (even though this point is relatively ambiguous in Hegel, so you may decide to understand it in another way). It is the history of mankind, not of any higher entity, spirit, invisible hand or god.
And I consider this is the key element of today’s transformation: We are realizing, as a people, that there is no necessity for us to be here and do anything, we can impose on ourselves such a necessity, but it is not there a priori, independently of us deciding it. And this realization has already happened, it is the source of the current void, because human civilizations have up to now, rooted meaning in an absolute otherness, and once meaning is there, everything has to relate to it.
The current context is that the otherness is no more believed in, but meaning is still there, floating around, debased, often inconsistent.
The next stage is to fill this void with our creativity, and make history into a process of human creation (meaning must be created by us, it does not pre-exist to us), but not of realization of any higher entities or necessity (that’s actually relating to a point made by DH Lawrence in Aaron’s Rod, see a recent entry on my blog).

Andrei said: “Countries “must”, but they are so much dominated by the above-mentioned “void” that one can hardly imagine any evolution at the level of a country…”
Countries will, because void must be filled (nature abhors vacuum), clearly though a lot of garbage is going to fill it along some more interesting things, but roman catacombs were also filled with a lot of garbage. But countries are not the only origin for filling it, many institutions compete to do so, even individuals.
When I spoke of a German identity, it really was metaphorical, there is a German character, that is loosely defined, but it’s just a means, a raw material for creativity to be expressed. Identities, be they national, ethnic or individual are changing entities.
But countries won’t change via a leadership, this form of change is obsolete, it belongs to the old enchanted word (where meaning was rooted in a dominant otherness), we are not looking today for any Hegelian spirit riding a horse across Europe (that may have been Sarkozy’s dream, but it’s not what the world needs now, those forms are dated). The change will occur democratically, and its locus is the democratic debate.


On democracy, we are just emerging from a 30 years period that was dominated by the neo-conservative rhetoric, and it has succeeded to denature the concept of democracy to some extent. Modern democracy has nothing to do with Greek democracy, thanks to the use and abuse of Carl Schmitt and Leo Strauss thought by some American mediocre thinkers, the confusion between the two is now at its highest ever. Modern democracy is not a political system (or rather not simply that), it is the affirmation of the absolute responsibility of human mind with regard to its destiny. The legitimacy of all other governments (including Greek democracy) comes from a metaphysical order, in modern democracy, it is given temporarily and in a very limited manner to a group of people by the rest of the people. The organization and destiny of mankind is not decided by any higher order, it is fully in the hand of mankind itself.
So, yes, institutions are fallible, they display a strong tendency towards dogmatism (in an attempt to reanimate dead forms of organizations, and meaning), popularity is misleading, material comfort is alienating. But let’s not mix everything, there is no perfect form of organizations and I am glad there isn’t (perfection is deadly), democratic organization may have it often wrong, but it never has it as wrong as any of the other system, and it often has it more right. I don't think we suffer from too much democracy, but rather from not enough.
Material comfort can also be freeing instead of alienating, but it must be thought over, it is not a given, it is not a good in itself(notice the ambiguity of language here, between good and goods), consumerism is properly again a religious version of consumption, but its cure is not a symmetrically opposed religion that despises comfort, it rather is the end of the religion worldview that tends to hypostatize any entity into an absolute source of meaning.

mcc said...

Um... beer. Techno.

Compound nouns.

(...I am a really big fan of certain German ambient electronica artists.)

Neil' said...

Schadenfreude, and Angst.
Obtuse philosophy that is temperamentally the opposite of dorky, drawing-room Anglo-American analytical, "common-sense" method.
Song lyrics that are cumbersome as performed because German takes up more syllables to make the point.
Sprockets! (Not "real" but so what ... it was a cool pastiche.)

PS: I lived near Kaiserslautern for three years as a mil-brat.

Georg said...

I think such poll posts should not be commented,
at least not from a German.
One exeption, all the more because
Bee leaded in the error:
German language does not excell
in compound nouns, but compound words.
Even adjectives and verbs and mixtures
of categories are "made up" .
Very common is a adjective and a noun,
making a new word, e. g. "Dunkelkammer" or "Kühlschrank",
words which were generated about 100
and 60 years ago.
Georg

Thomas D said...

Self-righteousness
(Germany is possibly the only country where as a cyclist you will be shouted at, from a car, because you moved off with the red-yellow rather than the green that follows half a second later)

Hospitality

Frankness

Obsession with large, fast automobiles

Gluttony

Cold, frothy beer

Arjen Dijksman said...

* Bratwurst
* Autobahnstau: typical traffic jams often due to high differences in speed
* Spurillen: little tracks on right lane of old motorways due to weight of trucks
* Declensions

Anonymous said...

Genocide? Two world wars?

Bee said...

Bee leaded in the error:
German language does not excell
in compound nouns, but compound words.
Even adjectives and verbs and mixtures
Right. Sorry about that, I've corrected that. I believe the word 'compound noun' refers to the result being a noun instead of the word being constructed from nouns.

Bee said...

Btw, the missing linebreaks after using italics or bold face is a known blogger problem that is at least two weeks old. Since it worked previously, one wonders how it can be so hard to fix it.

Georg said...

Hello Bee,
remember bienenfleißig, stinkfaul,
hochintelligent, strohdumm and
so on and on.
I do not find an example for a
compund verb, do You?
Regards
Georg

Bee said...

Are these still written together? I thought they changed the grammar on these issues some years ago. But anyway, the point was to name something typically German and I thought creating adjectives from two words does exist in other languages too? Icecold, snowwhite? Anyway, I am not a linguist. As I remarked earlier, this list wasn't so much about being correct, but what people think is typical. Arguably, there is nothing typically German about forest - there is likely more forest in Canada than in Germany. Coffee is more watery in the USA than in Germany, Austria is more bureaucratic than Germany, and the Czech drink more beer than the Germans. And so on.

Georg said...

Hello Bee,
I ignore that spelling "reform"
totally.
With respect to cliches, You are absolutely right.
They tell much more about the
people telling the cliches than
about the people told about in the
cliches.
Regards
Georg

Neil' said...

Bee, I forgot to say: your Comment Rules are so characteristically German IMHO!