A Totally Serious Post on an Important Topic

Ask me what I did today. Go ahead – do it. I will tell you eventually, but first you need the back story . . .

I have lived in Austria for about 35 years now, speaking more German than English on the average day. And yet, I have never lost my American accent. When meeting someone for the first time, it usually only takes a sentence or two before they ask me where I come from. So I have had A LOT of conversations about cultural differences between these two countries. And when I say “a lot”, I mean a gazillion.

It has made me somewhat of an expert on Austrian/American conversational relations. When I was teaching, I sometimes did cultural lessons on the topic and developed a list of “Things You Should NOT Say to Americans” when meeting for the first time. For example, the Austrian might want to know how the American came to be in Austria at all – what brought them to this country. The question usually comes out jarringly direct as:

“Why are you here??”

Another point was that when an American says “Hi. How are you?” it is not a question. (Neither is “How do you do”, by the way.) Under no circumstances do they really want to know how you are – so don’t tell them.

The absolute Number One on this list was this:

“If an American has been in this country for more than 15 minutes, assume that, yes, they DO know what an “Oachkatzlschwoaf” is.”

It is dialect for “squirrel’s tail” and Austrians, for some reason, seem very proud of this word. I’ve been asked literally hundreds of times if I know what it means. What makes it doubly annoying is that I never once heard an Austrian actually use the word in normal conversation: “Oh look at that oachkatzl! What a bushy schwoaf he has!” If that happened, I think it would go a long way in making this all less irritating.

So, go ahead and ask me what I did today, because  I worked on my latest crocheting project – a squirrel for my sister-in-law.

I made the schwoaf.


6 thoughts on “A Totally Serious Post on an Important Topic

  1. I am So glad to see your Words in Trek* again. As for the subject discussed, perhaps you should consult the Austrian Hunter Community. You could ask them about when they are in the woods motionless, sighting their Deer Kill, and then suddenly two Oachkatzlschwoaf run up their pantlegs and say “Let’s eat one now and save the other for Winter”. Or you could just teach “Gerhardt Speak” LuvU

    Liked by 1 person

  2. At the risk of sounding like an UGLY AMERICAN, how are you???? I would most certainly like to know. Luv ya dearly, and the T family worrywart syndrome is going into OVERDRIVE!


  3. Just heard the news. You can’t know how much I’ve enjoyed our friendship and our repartee over the many years we’ve blogged. You were the most extraordinary writer. But more so you were the very best person, wife and mother. Godspeed dearest K. My heart is as heavy as it has ever been. Love, Alison


  4. Love your purple squirrel and his schwoaf, 227. I’ve been totally off WP for a while, had time to peruse the reader today and was searching for my old buddies. Glad you’re still crocheting and posting. Hope you had a merry Christmas.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.