Friday, October 24, 2008

Culture Clash

If you asked a friend to describe me one of the traits would probably be something like ludicrous, goofy, bizarre, or silly. Silly is a word I often use when working with the children, because children are weird. But its not nice to call them that, it is ok to call them silly. Because everyone wants to be silly, right?

Wrong. I have recently learned that any translation of silly or goofy into German = Dummkopf (stupid head). So the kids don't liked to be called that. There is no positive word for doing something bizarre to be funny. One can call someone funny without too much fear of them taking offense, but its not so highly valued as in American culture.

F last week had a long talk with her mother and afterward asked me to stop calling her "verrueckt" (crazy) which Ryan and I had recently discovered and had been calling each other and everyone else. Apparently this is also an insult.

Germans really value dignity and intelligence, so I guess it shouldn't surprise me that children don't want to act silly or crazy, but I am disappointed. I suppose if I didn't do all the silly/stupid things that I do, I'd be more dignified... but at what cost? AT WHAT COST!!!??!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Unsilly Katy Strange = Not Katy Strange