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Old 29.11.2020, 11:05
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Re: "Your German is not good enough..."

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Agreed. For an everyday situation, that is.

However that doesn't apply to Capetownian acting in a professional capacity. It's probably no problem for the care bear if the message doesn't get across, you simply move on to the next victim A medical doc however can't do that, and if the patient doesn't understand the diagnosis, or even worse if it's misunderstood, serious problems may arise. Now add a patient to the mix who isn't proficient in German themselves and the potential problems multiply.

Mileages vary, sometimes a lot.
I‘m sorry but you are misunderstanding the situation and/or my post. Making a mistake with the Dativ and Akkusativ tenses in a discharge letter does not result in any medical issues. My Swiss German was always reasonably good, there were never issues with patients. If you can’t say it one way, you try another, if you don’t understand you ask for it to be explained. At the time I was in an Assistenzarzt role so the patients always had access to a senior doctor as well. Unfortunately the swiss medical system would collapse tomorrow if health care workers with imperfect german were not part of it. Like it or not, that’s simply the reality.
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  #42  
Old 29.11.2020, 12:07
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Re: "Your German is not good enough..."

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Does it get you down or do you use that as an opportunity to improve?
If you know you're good enough and have objective proof, then the third option is ignore. The fourth is rebut.
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  #43  
Old 30.11.2020, 14:33
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Re: "Your German is not good enough..."

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If you know you're good enough and have objective proof, then the third option is ignore. The fourth is rebut.
Natürlich.
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  #44  
Old 02.12.2020, 00:47
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Re: "Your German is not good enough..."

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I‘m sorry but you are misunderstanding the situation and/or my post.
I don't, your growing up speaking Swiss German at home makes it clear (reasonable to assume) that there's no significant problem language-wise. But that's not the typical case for doctors, hence the explicit language requirements.
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Old 02.12.2020, 07:52
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Re: "Your German is not good enough..."

OP, I wonder if the teacher comments stem from your children's German language, ironically being too good. I know I can usually spot a non native English speaker simply because their accent (even by the UK region they're representing) is too perfect, or because they're speaking too formally for the situational context, or using textbook grammar and sentence construction that winds up sounding or reading as being forced (despite their fluency otherwise).

There's absolutely nothing I could fault with the English of these people as technically they are speaking precisely within the "rules" of the English language, but very few native English people in life or business actually speak or present in these ways (excepting perhaps the Queen, but certainly it's no longer standard at the BBC!) And as a result, I've seen native English speakers really "get their backs up" and become offensive with and derisive of, folks who are speaking perfectly by the textbooks, but apparently still "not well enough". Perhaps in those instances, it is intimidating for people to hear others who know their language better than them as the native speaker?

I also know that in my own instance, despite my native English writing and speaking abilities, I'm actually completely clueless on the theories behind what goes where in constructing a "fluent" sentence or why things spelled similarly are pronounced differently, so when my Swiss friends learning English seek clarity and explanations (through, cough, borough, tough, although, plough for example!), I inevitably have to exclaim "because that's just the way it is!" I can imagine there would be teachers who aren't as comfortable admitting ignorance of their own native "everyday" language skills

Last edited by smileygreebins; 02.12.2020 at 12:41.
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  #46  
Old 02.12.2020, 09:23
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Re: "Your German is not good enough..."

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"Your German is not good enough" For what?
My spouse, as hard as she tries, OR calls it good enough, will likely never be above approximately C1-type of native English-mother-tongue level. Thats a difficult goal to accomplish considering all varieties from England, Ireland, to Boston, to California, to Jamaica, to understanding Japanese or Indian English dialects from everyone that learns English around the world, to just simply American Midwest English which she is most comfortable with.

Pretty sure it does not weigh negatively on her career or future possibilities. She has been doing well for many years. German, Swiss German, Spanish, American English, some Italian and some French do help ++

Pretty sure as well, with my (slow progress) German, B1, that nearly everyone (80%+) in Switzerland that I have personally met, has been accepting of that and been sport to practice their English, their High German, or keep me abreast with Swiss German or just simply communicate and get along well in local dialect, which is nice after so long.

It should not matter where bouts anyone hails from around the world; if you have been in Switzerland long enough holding proper living permits and have obtained advanced degrees in a native Swiss language and speak multiple languages fluently, then there is no further dispute on qualifications.

Your German is not good enough" For what? ---> Do not let them get you down, your children are more than great enough and smart enough and hopefully they and yourself will laugh about past hardships sometime soon in the future.

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  #47  
Old 02.12.2020, 10:28
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Re: "Your German is not good enough..."

Interesting theory

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OP, I wonder if the teacher comments stem from your children's German language, ironically being too good. Perhaps in those instances, it is intimidating to hear someone who knows your language better than you do as a native speaker?
I teach maths and chemistry, I start to query any students language skills in two scenarios;

1. The student performs significantly worse on math problems when there is a lot of text involved compared to problems involving only numbers.
2. When you read an answer to a task like "Describe the bond between sodium and chlorine", there are different impression which can occur.
a) The student knows how an ionic bond works
b) The student learnt the example by heart and just reciters the answer
c) The student know how an ionic bond works but struggles to put his knowledge on paper
d) The student doesn't know how it works and just writes something, hoping to get at least some points.

When 2c happens repeatedly, its often due to either exam pressure or language deficits.

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I also know that in my own instance, despite my native English writing and speaking abilities, I'm actually completely clueless on the theories behind what goes where in constructing a "fluent" sentence or why things spelled similarly are pronounced differently, so when my Swiss friends learning English seek clarity and explanations (through, cough, borough, tough, although, plough for example!), I inevitably have to retort "because that's just the way it is!" I can imagine there would be teachers who aren't as comfortable admitting ignorance of their own native "everyday" language skills
I wouldn't say thats due to ignorance, it's just resulting from the way that the native language is learnt. I saw an interesting lecture from Prof. Spitzer, in short experiment, he demonstrated, that native german speakers dont know the rules on how to form the past participle of verbs, but still do it correctly.
He made up several words and let the people form the past participles in fictive sentences. 10/10 made the same participle without knowing anything about the rules before.
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  #48  
Old 02.12.2020, 10:47
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Re: "Your German is not good enough..."

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...native german speakers dont know the rules on how to form the past participle of verbs, ...
Native German speakers don't know that any polysyllabic (non imported) word ending in -ung is always feminine.

Same with other languages of course. How many native English speaker know what cases are. Or what a gerund is?

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Old 02.12.2020, 11:53
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Re: "Your German is not good enough..."

When someone is C2 in the language he's/she's better than 50% of the population of the native born speakers! The problem may be a lack of practice, though. Once we get to our goal, C2 certificate, it's time to move on, focus on other things.


Nonetheless, language skills are something different than the language certificate. I was always a techie nerd. My marks from language course started from high, when it was only about the pure ability to read and write but ended with bare minimum even before I finished primary school! I don't have the head to be a journalist or public influencer


The universities tend to push your boundaries, you're going to hold Masters or Phd, you have to be literate. I started at math at university but quickly realized it was a mistake (not the math but overall), so I moved to technical university which was about right and perhaps much more rewarding long term.
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Old 02.12.2020, 12:58
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Re: "Your German is not good enough..."

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When someone is C2 in the language he's/she's better than 50% of the population of the native born speakers! The problem may be a lack of practice, though.
My kids have now been immersed in a German speaking environment for over 18 years - I think they might have had enough practice by now.

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The universities tend to push your boundaries, you're going to hold Masters or Phd, you have to be literate.
In English, usually!

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Old 02.12.2020, 13:35
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Re: "Your German is not good enough..."

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Many expats are very accepting of non-native English speakers when they struggle with English. Agreed.
But would those non-native English speakers find the same level of acceptance if they were in the US or the UK?

it depends very much on the attitude of the non local language speaker- most people will be hugely patient if the person clearly shows that they want and are prepared to learn- or whether they show the kind of superiority imperialist attitude à la 'why should I bother with your poncy language, everybody should speak English these days' some (and I say, some, not all) have been known to display. When someone has been here for many years and can't string a sentence together (grammatically correct or not) then patience can run thin. And honestly, I get it. Unless someone has a significant cognitive impairment- it's really a question of attitude and a bit of effort.


My OH had the chance to take over my granfather's magnificent home and become a GP here, after years of training and working in UK- but he chose not to as he felt he would not serve his patients well enough if he could not understand them fully, including local accents- nor respond in a fully fluent manner.
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  #52  
Old 02.12.2020, 13:49
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Re: "Your German is not good enough..."

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It should not matter where bouts anyone hails from around the world; if you have been in Switzerland long enough holding proper living permits and have obtained advanced degrees in a native Swiss language and speak multiple languages fluently, then there is no further dispute on qualifications.

Your German is not good enough" For what? ---> Do not let them get you down, your children are more than great enough and smart enough and hopefully they and yourself will laugh about past hardships sometime soon in the future.

C'mon guys, it's only a stupid remark. If I had a nickel every time I've read a derisive / ignorant / moronic comment about my culture or my country....

I haven't heard irl from Swiss people that my German/French/English is not good enough, but if I hear it or my kids will hear it, I'll teach them to let it pass like a stinky brain fart.
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