Why are Germans among the worst speakers of English?
Reality: «If there's one job that you don't need to know foreign languages, then it is President or Foreign Minister. Why? Because even if they do, they still use translators no matter what, because they can't afford misunderstandings.»
A year ago, we had a good example of what can happen when foreign ministers venture to do otherwise:
"Les Allemands ont un accent virtuellement neutre pour les autres langues."
This is not only an untrue but also a ridiculous statement.
It seems you've never heard Germans speaking romance languages like e.g. Italian, Portuguese and Spanish, or slavic tongues like Russian and Polish. Nobody would say that the average German has a neutral accent when speaking those languages.
"If there's one job that you don't need to know foreign languages, then it is President or Foreign Minister. Why? Because even if they do, they still use translators no matter what, because they can't afford misunderstandings."
This is not necessarily true. We've had other foreign ministers and Bundeskanzler in the past, who did not always use interpreters because they speak very good, almost accent-free English.
Why does it matter if Germans can't speak any English.
I mean if you are going to stay the rest of your life in Germany, Switzerland or Austria, I don't see the need to speak any English unless you work with an English speaking company.
I mean for goodness sake, German is the biggest language in the EU (biggest amount of mother tongue speakers)
We should ask Great Britain why they don't go to more effort to learn the biggest language (German) in the EU?
It is "worst than the Spanish", and you must be one of them given your poor Spanish.
<<This is not necessarily true. We've had other foreign ministers and Bundeskanzler in the past, who did not always use interpreters because they speak very good, almost accent-free English. >>
Well you can't expect Angela Merkel to speak English as she grew up and was educated in the DDR. I suspect her Russian may be quite good though.
Westerwelle was pilloried recently by some people because he refused to speak English to a BBC journalist at a German political press conference. But surely such a major broadcaster could have sent a German speaker? The reporter was actually quite rude, more or less demanding that English be spoken and Westerwelle was also rather arrogant in his reply. Both sides were at fault really.
<<The reporter was actually quite rude, more or less demanding that English be spoken and Westerwelle was also rather arrogant in his reply. Both sides were at fault really. >>
Mr.Westerwelle was right. German language is an official language in Germany and "procedural language" European Union.
In my opinion it is question of reporter's professionalism.
"Why are Germans among the worst speakers of English?"
Because many (West) Germans in Germany do not speak proper German nowadays, as a result of the contempt and hate many of them feel for their language, culture and history. Instead they speak "Denglisch", which is kind of poor German mixed with as many as possible English words (to appear intelligent, modern and cosmopolitan, as well as brag to others that you speak English), used very often unnecessarily and with a wrong or a new meaning.
Many Germans don't realize that you cannot learn a foreign language correctly, if you don't have a good command of your own mother tongue.
Is "sorry" a German word? I hear it a lot to German speakers: Sorry, blablabla. Sorry, blablabla... Or is it an example of Denglish?
I think 'sorry' has infiltrated most Germanic languages, but it's indeed an example of unsuspected use of Denglisch. I still hear 'Entschuldigung' more often though.
In Dutch was also say 'sorry', but also 'excuseer', 'pardon' which is 'Dunçais'. Very still, this 'Dunçais' you even see in XVIIth century texts.
Because of Deunglisch, many Germans believe that "a handy" is the standard English word for a cell-phone.
I do not think all the English fathered words within German are thought of as Denglish. For example, there might well be misgivings that the 'Grasshopper' bit of Grasshopper club Zurich FC is thought Denglish in that 1. this example of Grasshopper came from English in the eighteen hundreds. 2. The English word Grasshopper is yielded as Grasshopper in German also. Handy is right in that it links to the English use of the stockword Handycam.
Grasshopper was founded on September 1, 1886 by Tom E. Griffith, an English (Welsh?) student. With a 20 Swiss franc donation, the club was able to import an English football and blue and white colours. Its first match came in October that year against ETH and ended in a goalless draw. In 1893, Grasshopper became the first Swiss team to play in Germany, defeating RC Strasbourg 1-0
Preston Grasshoppers Rugby Football Club is a rugby union team from Preston, Lancashire. It was founded on 28 September 1869 at a meeting held at the Woad Inn, Preston making one of the oldest 'northern' rugby union teams.
From my own experience, I find that English is more widely spoken in Germany in comparison to other large European nations like Spain, Italy and France. It's ludicrous to compare the ability of Germans to speak English with that of the neighbouring Dutch and Danish because these are small countries who need to master other languages in order to progress economically.
German is strictly forbidden here!
<<Handy is right in that it links to the English use of the stockword Handycam.>>
Handy was in use before mobile/cell phones had cameras.
Good point that German makes a distinction between foreign words and loan words (that have been accepted as part of the language). In English there is no distinction.