WEIRD German BEHAVIOR: Typical things Germans do

WEIRD German BEHAVIOR: Typical things Germans do

Maybe you have already heard a lot of prejudices about Germans. Nein, nicht das mit dem Bier. (No, not the one with the beer.) I mean weird behavior that is normal in Germany. Maybe our punctuality or the time management in general.

In this video, I will show you 6 examples of typical German behavior. Ich bin Denisa von Spring German.

Lass uns beginnen! (Let’s start!)

1. “Lüften” (to air)

Denisa tilts a window.

VANESSA
Was machst du da?
(What are you doing there?)

DENISA
Lüften. Die Luft steht.
(Airing. The air is standing in here.)

VANESSA
Nein nein nein nein. Wir lüften nicht. Es ist Winter.
(No no non no. We don’t air here. It’s winter.)

I don’t know if it’s possible in your country, but in Germany you can tilt the windows.

Germans are obsessed with lüften, the act of ventilating their homes. This means Germans often open windows to let nasty air out and fresh, but cold, air in, even in the dead of winter. They usually do it more than once a day, but what they also do to be more efficient is “Stoßlüften” once a day. This means that we open up every window in the apartment for ten minutes, so the air can come through one window and go out through the other one.

2. Signal of wanting to go home

DENISA
So. (stands up) Es war schön. Danke für die Einladung.
(So. It was nice. Thanks for the invitation.)

VANESSA
Gehst du schon?
(Are you already going?)

DENISA
Ja. Ich muss los. Danke für alles.
(Yes. I have to go. Thank you for everything.)

VANESSA
Oh, okay, genre.
(Oh okay. No problem.)

The Germans have an interesting form of saying that they are leaving, wenn sie zu Gast sind (when they are guests). They stand up, clap on their thighs and say “so”. If you do that, you are really integrated. But, of course, this is only possible in informal situations.

Chunk alert!

Ich muss los (I have to go now) is said daily by Germans. I think it comes from the verb losgehen (to start / to get going), but they leave out the gehen (to go). When meeting up with friends or colleagues and you need to go because you have an appointment, for example, you say Ich muss los (I have to go now).

Here are some alternatives:

  • Ich gehe jetzt nach Hause (I’m going home now)
  • Ich möchte jetzt nach Hause gehen (I want to go home now)
  • Ich mach mich jetzt auf den Weg (I’m going to get on my way now)

For more helpful chunks, check our free essential German chunking kit. The link is in the description.

3. Zeitplanung (time management)

DENISA
Hey. Komm rein.
(Hey. Come in.)

SELMA
Entschuldige. Ich bin zu früh.
(Excuse me. I’m too early.)

DENISA
Quatsch! Fünf Minuten vor der Zeit ist des Deutschen Pünktlichkeit.
(Nonsense. 5 minutes before is the German’s punctuality.)

If you are invited or have an official appointment: sei pünktlich (be punctual). But in Germany, that means being even 5 minutes early. It gets even crazier with birthday invitations, for example. Here you should invite your friends months in advance. People in Germany love to plan things way ahead and be structured.

How about your home country? Tell me your experiences in the comments below.

Also, stay tuned because at the end of this video, I will tell you why you can find a lot of empty bottles in German apartments.

4. Wandern gehen (to go on a hike)

VANESSA
Wohin gehst du?
(Where are you going?)

DENISA
Wandern am Königssee.
(On a hike at the Königssee.)

VANESSA
Wow, wie schön. Ich muss leider noch so viel lernen. Ich würde gerne mitkommen.
(Wow, how beautiful. Unfortunately, I have a lot to study. I would love to join.)

DENISA
Komm doch mit. Die frische Luft wird dir guttun.
(Come with me. The fresh air will do you well.)

VANESSA
Ja, stimmt, in Ordnung.
(Yes, true. Alright.)

Germans have a strong connection to nature for various reasons. For centuries, Germans have been known for their love of hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities that allow them to connect with nature.

Germany is a country with a diverse range of natural landscapes, from the Bayerische Alpen (Bavarian Alps) to the Schwarzwald (Black Forest) and the Nordseeküste (North Sea coast).

Furthermore, many Germans also view spending time in nature as a way to improve their physical and mental health. Regular exercise an der frischen Luft (in the fresh air) and sunshine can help reduce stress and boost mood.

5. Direktheit (directness)

VANESSA
Wann beginnt morgen das Meeting?
(When does the meeting start tomorrow?)

DENISA
Das Meeting startet um Punkt neun Uhr. Bitte komm pünktlich.
(The meeting starts at 9 o’clock sharp. Please be punctual.)

VANESSA
Okay, okay. Bist du gestresst?
(Okay, okay. Are you stressed?)

DENISA
Nein, entschuldige. Ich wollte dir nur auf deine Frage antworten.
(No, I’m sorry. I just wanted to answer your question.)

Germans tend to communicate in a straightforward manner, without using excessive Höflichkeit (politeness) or small talk.

Moreover, it’s important to note that cultural norms and communication styles can vary widely within a country, and individuals may not always conform to stereotypes. While some Germans may be more direct in their communication style, sind es andere vielleicht nicht (others may not be).

Overall, it’s important to recognize that cultural differences exist and to approach communication with openness and respect for different styles and perspectives.

6. Pfandsystem (deposit system)

VANESSA
Hey, wo ist der Müll?
(Hey, where is the trash?)

DENISA
Das gehört nicht in den Müll. Stell es einfach in die Tasche in der Küche.
(That doesn’t go in the trash. Just put it in the bag in the kitchen.)

VANESSA
Sammelst du sie für ein Kunstprojekt?
(Do you collect them for an art project?)

DENISA
Nein, ich muss sie doch sammeln. Das sind Pfandflaschen.
(No, I have to collect them. They are deposit bottles.)

Yes, Germans collect empty bottles at home, which people from other countries may find weird. The reason why they do that is because they have ein Pfandsystem (a deposit system). When buying bottles of plastic or glass for example, they have to pay a little more, but they will get the money back as soon as they bring them back to the store.

The machines look like this: You put your bottles and cans in there and the machine scans them. So you can’t crush them, otherwise the machine won’t be able to read the code. you get a voucher at the end, which can get you a lot of money back. Da wäre es ja blöd, die Flaschen wegzuschmeißen. (So it would be silly to throw the bottles away.)

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