November 9, 2014: ask any German in their early thirties or older what they did this day, 25 years ago, and you will very likely get a pretty detailed summary of their evening. It was the day when two months of peaceful protest by the people of the GDR and hundreds of thousands of emigrants left the socialist party regime with no other option but to give in, when Günter Schabowski, the spokesman of the central committee of the socialist party announced in a press conference that GDR citizens were granted permission to emigrate and, more importantly, to travel freely across the border to Western Germany - immediately. It was the day when, after 10,316 days, after 28 years, two months and 28 days, the Iron Curtain that had ripped Germany and Europe apart, that had separated families and even ended lives of people who wanted nothing else but freedom finally collapsed under the wind of change. I was ten years old.
In my previous post I aimed to draw the readers’ attention to some phenomena in speech interaction, namely how to say one thing while meaning quite the opposite. The first example I chose, “I don’t mean to patronise you, but…” opened a door which lead the topic into a different direction. Is it patronising to offer somebody help?
I love studying language and languages. Language is a wonderful tool to master our every-day communication; and since we don’t always agree with one another, language provides us with the ability to say one thing whilst we mean quite the opposite.
My favourite contradictions in English, additions and comments welcome!—>
Happy New Year!
Xin nian yu kuai!
Onnellista uutta vuotta!
Ein glückliches neues Jahr!
Felice Anno Nuovo!
Felix sit annus novus!
Feliz año nuevo!
Szczesliwego Nowego Roku!
La Multi Ani si Un An Nou Fericit!