Sunday, February 14, 2016

Defining Verboten

Depending upon your daily affairs in Germany or things you might bump into.....the word verboten might get used a fair bit.

It basically means 'forbidden'.  So it relates to a phrase which some Germans will utter: Das ist verboten.   Meaning that's forbidden.

Not to be too cynical....but through the eyes of an American walking around....there are a fair number of things which are verboten.

Naturally, a German would quickly argue that point....noting speeds on the autobahn are usually unlimited, that sixteen year old kids can drink beer, and that nude swimming is allowed in a fair number of places.

Verboten things: bar-b-q's in city parks, passing on the right on the autobahn, carrying large sums of money across the border, letting your dog crap on a public street and you don't pick it up, driving a car barefoot, using the phrase 'du' when talking to a policeman, using the 'little-birdie-in-the-head' hand signal while insulting another driver, warming up your car for more than a minute on a cold January morning, etc.

To be honest, it's not a big long list of verboten's just that Germans like to remind a non-German of the verboten hopes that their new friend, associate, or lover.....won't screw up and commit a verboten thing.

When reminded of this verboten's best to thank your girlfriend or associate, and just grin. You don't need to ask a lot of stupid questions or get into a forty-minute conversation about the verboten act.  Just assume that the German culture spent years thinking about this, and came to a national consensus......this was something that needed to be forbidden.

Besides.....das ist verboten has a nice ring to it.

No comments: