Your personal welcome to London

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Friday 29 March 2013 12.56am
I will never forget mine: I was a PhD student in 1999. I was going to be in London for 3 years and then wanted to go back to my native Berlin (I have of course since acquired an English husband, job, children, family and more and never left). First night in London: I spoke about 250 words of English and got dragged to the pub, my English colleagues told me you must go to the bar and buy a round. They all wanted bombardier. I went to the bar and ordered said bombardiers and an old man perched on a bar stool asked me “You talk funny, where you from, love?” I said Germany and he said “Oh that’s bad, but at least you are not French” I often think of that. How were you welcomed?
Friday 29 March 2013 11.24am
Great story Katia! - hope to see you soon, it's been a while.
Friday 29 March 2013 2.09pm
Katia, Kann ich fünf Artilleristen, bitte?
That probably reminded the elderly gentleman of WW11, although I have no doubt that you asked for five, or however many Bombardiers, in slightly accented English.
I've never understood the apparent animosity toward the French though.
As far as I am concerned they are no better or worse than Germans, Italians, Spaniards, or any other nationality for that matter.
I am a little biased though, Ich have zwei deutsche Enkeln, halb deutsche sowieso!
Friday 5 April 2013 11.05am
Yes Tom, I did wonder if everyone would have just ordered a pint of lager if it hadn't been me getting the round. I just found it all pretty funny. The old boy came up with a few jokes that are truly unprintable afterwards, but none as funny as his first line. Wars aside I think some of the English-German animosity comes from the fact that we are quite similar really so we can always spot our best and worst in each other.

It has been a while, BSB, the baby I had with me when we last met is 5 years old now!
Friday 5 April 2013 3.49pm
Hi Katia,
On a kind of related note, my German daughter-in-law, Anke, told me that a long time ago one of my Grandsons, Lars, (who, having been born into a bilingual family spoke good English for an 8 y.o.) came home from school in Bielefeld with a note from his teacher which said that the teacher would appreciate a word with his mother.
Oh God, she thought, what has he done now?
It materialised that in an English lesson, where the pupils were being taught verbs, I am, he is, you are, we are, they are etc., the teacher had moved on to the negative, I am not, he is not, you are not, etc.
Up went Lars hand, "My Grandpa is English, and he says, I ain't!"
"Well your Grandpa is wrong," said the teacher.
"No", said Lars, "my Grandpa is a black cab driver in London, he says that they know everything!"
Friday 5 April 2013 8.35pm
Brilliant, did Lars also try to tell his teacher to end sentences with a cheerful "innit"?
Saturday 6 April 2013 7.35pm
Katia wrote:
Brilliant, did Lars also try to tell his teacher to end sentences with a cheerful "innit"?



I very much doubt it Katia, if he has heard that appalling suffix at all, it would have been from hearing it from London's adolescents when he had been visiting here.
Both my Grandsons speak fluent English with barely a trace of an accent now, and my daughter-in-law sounds like a BBC announcer.
Incidentally they migrated to Brisbane, Australia about 7 years ago, my son, with great perception having declared Europe as "finished."
Mind you, he said the same about England when he opted to stay in Germany after he married.
I recall an email from Rolf, the younger Grandson, after he had enrolled in an Australian school.
He wrote, "Opa, they speak English here, but they sound funny!"
This from a kid who would say "I vant some vine gums, please." when he was small!

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