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Superheld des Monats – From Bielefeld to Blighty Von
She’s a German at heart, but feels more British—at least when it comes to humour.
A NATIVES rarity, Linda is a born-and-bred Bielefelder and proud of it. A recent graduate from Paderborn University with a Masters Degree in psycho-linguistics* and language acquisition, she snapped up the chance to test her tenses and manoeuvre her Mund as English trainer, coach and group trainer at NATIVES.
“Language transfer is not just about translation. It is everything that comes and goes with language: playing with words in your mother tongue, but also finding the right words and context when it comes to translation in another language and being able to say: ‘This one captures my idea perfectly’,” observes Linda.
A four-and-a-half year stint in Reading in the UK didn’t convert her into a tea-connoisseur but it did convert her to the British style of dry humour as in to “take the mickey” out of someone or something. “Humour to me is the biggest differentiator between the Anglo (at least British) and German cultures. When I try to transfer this humour to German, it just doesn’t work. Germans just don’t find it funny.” Linda notes that “Anglos” tend to be more open and approachable and Germans are more reserved. What Linda loves about working in the multi-cultural melting pot that is NATIVES is that “We’ve all got our own stories to tell. If I worked in a typical German company say, where there were a majority of Germans and few foreigners, there wouldn’t be this openness about our individuality and our ‘differentness’”.
Aside from being an avid mud-masters-marathoner (which involves a gruelling 6-12km parcours on a former airport base (running through mud and traversing brick walls included), Linda enjoys reading and keeps coming back to her favourite teaching tome “Eats(,) Shoots and Leaves”.
* The branch of linguistics that focuses on what happens in our brain when we learn languages, for example, when we learn the past tense we need to annotate verbs accordingly; we also learn to store and spell irregular verbs and acquire new sentence structures. A leading expert in the field is Prof. Manfred Pienemann.
This article was written by guest author, Petra Zlatevska.