June 15th, 2009


Questions and some thoughts... ?

Hi there!

I've been wondering this a lot lately:

I work as a coordinator at a Taxi-business - meaning I'm responsible to answer the phone and forward the orders to the drivers among other things.
Lately, there's been an increase of (native) English speakers calling.

The interesting thing is that when I answer the phone with the standard German sentence, about 90% directly cut me off going "I want a taxi to [insert address]. How long will it take?" or something along the lines.
Nobody ever seems to bother stopping for an "Excuse me, do you speak English?" - or even remotely trying to say something in German.

Is it really that common to expect anyone speaking English on the phone in a foreign country?
Or is it, dare I say, that special kind of arrogance I've been warned about. (Well, yes, they speak a world-language, so they expect to be understood anywhere?)

I wonder because most of my colleagues struggle a lot with those customers. They don't speak enough English to figure out more than the street - and even that is an obstacle if it's badly pronounced.
Even worse is the fact that most of theses customers get angry really fast if they encounter someone who doesn't understand them. It mostly ends up in an angry shouting match of repeating the streets' name over and over again and then - upon not making progress - simply hanging up mid-sentence. (I observed some of those calls. XD)

Other than that, is there another smooth, short translation for "Warten Sie draußen oder sollen wir klingeln?"

I usually go with "Will you be waiting outside or shall we ring the doorbell?" - but that's a mouthful and order-calling is always about being as short and precise as possible.

Any input would be greatly appreciated!
  • Current Music
    The Nightingale singing outside my window.

(no subject)

I saw this phrase in an English text book.

'on the same group tour', you can also say 'in the same tour party'.
the reason why the second one becomes on, in, not  in  on is the core is not 'tour' but 'part'y, therefore it becomes in.

But can't we say 'on the same tour party'?

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    calm calm

Some Brief Yiddish Questions

I've written a novel and am now steaming through a rewrite. I'm using Yiddish for flavor on four occasions in four different chapters when a Gentile character interacts with some Hasidim. I want to make sure my syntax is correct when used within the context of English, as this is written from the perspective of the Gentile character who knows something of the Hasidic world.

Here are the four sentences (these do not appear together):

The men seemed to be wondering what business this shegetz had with their revered rabbi.

He smiled and his clouded eyes were at once kind and judgmental, as if pitying this unredeemable goyei heathen.

He was awkward, the stereotypical nebbish in the court of the goyisher goddess.

She shot him a nervous, shy smile, as if fearful of this curious shegetz, and slipped from the room.

So, have I made any errors here?

Llid Y Bledren Dymchwelyd


What's a colloquial way to say this in English, in reference to alcohol tolerance? People make comments about my age and alcohol comsumption, and what goes through my head is always don't worry, ich bin schon geeicht. "I'm already ..."? If you don't speak German, geeicht means "gauged, calibrated" and you can say for example ich bin noch nicht geeicht if you haven't learned to tolerate a lot of alcohol. Is there an idiomatic equivalent in English?

Not related, but I made a comment to a friend in avoiding a hilly bike trail ... "ich bin nicht faul, einfach bequem." She asked how to say bequem in English, and I wasn't sure. "I'm not lazy, just not a masochist either" is a bit of a jump, but nothing else comes to mind. Thoughts?