Friday, May 27, 2016

Some darn weird language learning sentences

Have you used some learning materials pick up a new language, and have thought, where the heck do they come up with these sample sentences or conversations? Some of the examples are funny, some are irrelevant, and some are downright creepy!

I was using Duolingo to learn German and a sample went something like this:

The man likes the women. The man follows the women.


Let me translate: the man is a creeper. He follows the women. [The women get freaked out and run away.]


I was recently using another set and the sample was just...jacked up. It was a conversation between a man and woman on the train. She didn't have a ticket and was trying to buy one; he told her not to worry about it and just to be a Schwartzfarerin. He told her that tickets were rarely checked and the fine wasn't high. Of course along came a ticket checker. The guy whipped out an extra ticket and got the checker off their case. The lady was surprised and the guy said he had the extra ticket all along because one of his coworkers had disembarked from the train earlier and left the ticket with him. The lady was grateful and introduced herself, then asked the guy out to dinner.

Okay, can I just say: what the heck kind of sample is this?! First of all, the woman is dumb. Just buy a darn ticket. Any tourist book will tell you about the ticket checkers and the fines for riding without a ticket. She spoke with an American accent and it doesn't work in the US to travel without a ticket, so why try it in Germany?

Secondly, the dude is manipulative as all get out! Why was he encouraging the lady to go Schwartzfahren? If he wanted to be helpful, why didn't he just give her the ticket in the beginning? Was he hoping that the could "rescue" her, then impress her with his chivalry and maybe she'd be interested in him?

Yes, maybe I'm reading too much into this, but I find these examples weird. If these situations happened to me in real life, I'd find them weird. Also, I would imagine that someone coming from a very different cultural background might think that these types of situations must be normal in Germany.

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