So, I have kind of an odd question for you: what language do you speak when you’re around other Germans?
Your answer is probably going to be: German. Duh!
But this is a serious question and I’ll tell you why.
It has happened to me several times that when I encounter other Germans at work or elsewhere [as always – the exception proves the rule!], it feels like in no case whatsoever do they want to speak German with me.
I understand that just out of being polite, we keep conversing in English when non-German speakers are around and I always do that, but I can’t understand for the life of me why some people stubbornly keep speaking English with me, when a) they know that I am German, b) I address them in German and c) there is nobody else around.
Do they think “Well, we’re in the US, therefore we should speak English at all times”? Do they believe that they’re “cool” if they exclusively speak English no matter what? Are they so used to speaking English all day that they’re unable to switch back to German when the situation calls for it? Or is this personality-related and they don’t even think about it twice?
I am at a loss here. I personally find it a tiny bit awkward to speak English with someone who shares my mother tongue. I know we do it online all the time, but that’s different, because it’s meant to be for a broader audience to read and understand and therefore we picked one “common” language for the WWW.
But when you meet another German in person, don’t you instantly feel a connection? Doesn’t saying a few things in German to each other just feel good? [At least for me, it does].
I am really curious about your experiences and insights into this strange phenomenon. Maybe it’s just my “bad luck” with some people and they don’t want to feel connected with me ;)