Do German People in Berlin Get Pissed-off When Everybody is Speaking English

Peter Merrick
Jul 16, 2018 · 2 min read

I went to this weird and wonderful circus thing last weekend with my daughter and a friend. It was in Lichtenberg, which is not exactly a hipster hangout kind of place. I had a great time. I loved it. The show was in German but it was a circus — so it wasn’t dialog heavy… anyway —

After the show I wanted to go home but my daughter caught up with a couple German friends and they went to a Tapas bar to grab something to eat. She was surprised to hear nothing but English being spoken all around her. She turned to her German friends and she asked ‘does it piss you off to be here and to hear nothing but English?’ They thought about it and then they said ‘yes’, it did.

When I went to language school I didn’t like it. Today I was looking at a B2 sample reading test and I remembered what I didn’t like. It’s so god-damned boring. For example, the first question is about five people who are looking for an good training course for them for professional development. The next is about dogs for the blind and the last one is about German attitudes to packaging and recycling.


I don’t know about you, but I just don’t care. The subjects bore the pants off me. It’s one thing to say that German is hard, and it’s another to then bore me to death.

I like to read in German, but I’m careful about what I read. For instance, right now I’m reading a book of very short stories called ‘Schönhauser Allee’ by Wladimir Kaminer (he wrote a book called ‘Russian Disco’ too). I’m into stories. I’m not into newspaper articles. I’m just not.

In the end I taught myself German. I can talk to people and they tell me my grammar is good. I’m into patterns and take a mathematical view of learning where I can, because I’m a computer scientist by training.

I always took the view that to prove I know something I have to be able to explain it somebody else. I’ve been doing that now for three years in Berlin.

If you don’t care very much about exams, if you want to learn German fast, if you want to be treated like your smart, if you like patterns, if you like stories, you might want to join us in the autumn. You can always take a look.

And the last thing I want to say, is that circus was great and if you’re into it, take a look at