Saturday, October 3, 2009

Bravo, Westerwelle, Bravo: When in Germany.....

I had a hard time masking initial shock upon seeing this. For those of you who don't speak German, the BBC British reporter asked newly appointed German Foreign Affairs Minister Westerwelle whether he could answer his English asked-question in English. Westerwelle answered and I translate:

"As it is the case that one speaks English in Great Britain, it is also the case that one speaks German in Germany."

Westerwelle further adds jokingly that he would love to meet after the press conference for some tea where they could speak in English. But, he interjects, in the end: 'Es ist Deutschland hier.' This is, after all, Germany.
Indeed!!

Seriously BBC guy, you must have been joking! One cannot be shocked that one chooses to speak German in one's own country.

Was ist denn das?!

View the exchange here:







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10 comments:

Becca said...

Incredible that a BBC journalist would ask such an infantile question. Do German journalists ask Brown in London to speak in German?

JJ said...

Very well handled. Such level of ignorance is not only embarrassing, it's annoying. Westerwoller handled it great, I thought.

Nicki said...

This is symptomatic of this rather wide spread lack of sensitivity to register and overall politeness. such rudeness from a European man to another. I felt for Westerwoller, too and I very much doubt I would have been as gracious and smart as he was.

Nicki said...

Also, what makes this really pertinent to the times in which we live is this civility discussion which has been dealt with on papers and the media recently.
I did find the journalist's insistence upon English rather bizarre, upon seeing the clip a second and third time.
Also, the 'tea' reference that Westerwolle was particularly apropos, I thought, both linguistically and culturally.
Remember, BBc dude, when in proverbial Rome, aka Germany....

Sean said...

So embarrassed for that journalist!
Thanks for posting htis. Its a good lesson in linguistic communication, global culture, and what the text of 'lingua franca' is all about!

Anonymous said...

That a journalist would ask such a question is what's the real cause for puzzlement here.

Anonymous said...

In one word, snap!! :)

Sra said...

That reminds me of a flowchart
http://m.flickr.com/#/photos/11607305@N06/2985790724/

Dan said...

You are being ironic when you 'congratulate' Westervelle, gell?

liam said...

i thought it was pretty awesome. i'm all for an international language and the natural evolution of language melding and submissions, but the press conference was in germany, and the BBC pays people to translate and german interviewers, so they had no excuse. they're not a smallsville, alabama middle school publication.