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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Office Banter

When speaking German, you'll sometimes find yourself slapping an ",or?" to the end of your sentences (oder?). I guess the English equivalent is when you end a sentence with ",right?". Sometimes you're expressing your uncertainty regarding the phrase preceding this little add-on (e.g. "That's zombie-proof glass, right?). Sometimes you say it without expecting an answer in return, because it's obvious that your target group is gonna agree with you (e.g. "A shit sandwich would taste pretty gross, right?")

Anyway, I have a colleague who tends to tack on an ",or?" to the end of her sentences a lot. A whole lot. In fact today between 10am and 1pm, she did it 25 times. Yes, I kept track. That's every 7.2 minutes, my friends. While that may not seem like all that much, it becomes a bit of a problem since I can't really distinguish when it's rhetorical and when it's (something remotely) relevant. Also, I'm trying do my own work when she does this and while I'm concentrating, I tend to zone out. So, today for example, roughly every 7.2 minutes I would just hear her ask, "oder Raven?" Then I would look up and respond "Pardon?" and then she would have to repeat the whole thing over again, during which time I have to determine whether or not she really wanted an answer or not.

As if this weren't enough, this particular coworker has the additional habit of sharing personal stories that either A.) convey much more information than I generally want to know about someone I work with (i.e. it usually involves her latest onset of diarrhea, including but not limited to the "at-work-squirts") B.) stories that are completely lame and uninteresting (some dumb shit said by her husband or her kid) or C.) stuff that is oh so subtly kind of more or, how do I put this lightly...yes...racist. With Point C I'm even so not so sure, because it's just so under the radar sometimes. It's bizarre how she can say things that seem (at first glance) rather innocuous, but which nevertheless make me feel completely uncomfortable.

Whatever...I don't feel like getting into that. However, I did make a pie chart that basically breaks up her most common topics of on-the-job conversation:

Growing up is awesome, right?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

a professor of my institute uses the "oder" at the end of the sentence practically all the time. that's already ...umm... "funny". but the really fun part is, that he does this also when he speaks english. he adds to nearly every sentence an "or" - or just the plain german "oder"... dig this! :)