Living in Germany: Corona chaos, Denglisch and festival for onions

Living in Germany: Corona chaos, Denglisch and festival for onions
The Weimar 'Zwiebelmarkt' took place this October with over 75,000 participants.
From the rise of Denglisch, life with the coronavirus and Germans' love for a certain root vegetable, here's the latest Living in Germany members newsletter from the team at The Local Germany.

Each week the team at The Local Germany sends out a weekly members' newsletter looking at some of the quirks, perks and big issues for people living in the country. Here's the latest round-up and remember to get in touch if you spot anything that we should write about.

Denglisch – a mix of Deutsch and English – is heard with growing frequency among Germans, especially in areas with a lot of young people. To express their approval, it’s typical to hear any German under 40 proclaim “Nice!” So it’s little surprise that the German youth word of the year was taken from English, as this Tweet points out.

According to the linguist quoted in the article, young people use words like Lost, the 2020 winner, to set themselves apart from the older generation. Sometimes they also just want to sound cool (which, by the way, is a word you’ll hear as often as its German equivalents of geil or genial). 

‘Corona chaos’

Coronavirus cases around Germany are rising again, now with dozens of areas across the country declared risk zones with more than 50 infections per 100,000 residents over the last seven days.

In response, several of Germany’s 16 states have been enforcing their own bans, whether not allowing travellers from ‘hot spots’ to stay at hotels there or enforcing curfews for bars and restaurants.

(article continues below)

See also on The Local:

Yet the rules are far from standard across the country, leading to what many have dubbed ‘corona chaos’, as residents are unsure what exactly applies to them.

Several states have issued emergency court orders against the new regulations, whether Saxony stating that the ban on accommodation no longer applies, or Berlin overturning its curfew on bars and restaurants after 11 pm.

In both cases, local courts ruled that such blanket bans go against the constitutional right of freedom of movement, and that outbreaks are more likely to occur at private gatherings or meat processing facilities.

Where is this?

Photo: DPA

Germany has special seasons for all of its beloved fruits and vegetables, and the Zwiebel (onion) is no exception. Even in corona times, the 367th annual Zwiebelmarkt took place in Weimar, Thuringia with some 75,000 masked participants.

On the second weekend of every October, the festival sells nearly every type of onion to emerge from German soil, as well as a delicious array of treats, including the classic Zwiebelkuchen.

Sold throughout Germany every autumn with several regional variations, the core recipe usually consists of flour, butter, cheese, bacon and of course a hearty helping of the namesake root vegetable.

Did you know that?

On October 15th, 1844, German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was born in Röcken, Saxony in former Prussia. His work would go on to have a profound impact on modern intellectual history through his explorations of ‘herd mentality’ and organised religion, among several other still timely-topics.

A true Wunderkind, Nietzsche was the youngest person to hold the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel, at the age of 24.

Some of the world’s best known philosophers have come from Germany, including Martin Heidegger, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Karl Marx, just to name a few. The latter’s home city of Trier recently installed traffic lights with his cartoon figure lit up in green and red.

Have your say

Reader Chris Stewart, 26, wrote to us to share an experience he says has become typical for him living in Berlin: being discriminated against as a foreigner. Covid-19 has only exacerbated the problem, said the Canadian who has lived in the German capital for over four years.

He recalled the following incident this week:  

“I tried calling my local doctor's office to ask if I could get an appointment for a COVID test done or to just have a doctor see me because I'm sick. They said, no, don't come to the office if I'm sick, it's too much of a risk… and that I should try calling the Berlin COVID Hotline. 

So I did that…and waited on hold for 30 minutes before someone picked up.”

Yet when Stewart asked the doctor in German if he could speak slowly, “he said “Nein,” and hung up on me. 

This is not the first time in my four years that a service employee has hung up on me rather than attempt to speak slowly.”

Have you faced similar encounters when dealing with German bureaucracy? We’d like to hear your experiences and frustrations for a future article.


Member comments

  1. I have Been hung up on anytime i try to speak German with someone on the Phone – doctor, banks, police
    .. You Name it. I once Was told why dont you move back to your country since you dont know Our languague. This can be so Frustrating and discouraging. Couple months ago, had to call the Senate to speak with a man who is in Charge of the Native English Speaker Programm his responsibility is to help English speaking Teachers to adjust to Querensteiger i spoke with him in German until i asked can you speak English with me, He said nö sorry my english is Very Bad in german. Deutsch bank just hung up each time. I tried to attempt Gernan. Now they have an English Hotline. When applying for arbeitlosgeld got hung up on at least 3 times before finally reaching soneone who wouldnt hang up on me.

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.