A stereotype is a thought that may be adopted about specific types of individuals or certain ways of doing things, but that belief may or may not accurately reflect reality.
(Definition by Wikipedia)
We all know some stereotypes, don't we? And wouldn't it be interesting to finally find out whether it's true or not that all Spanish people eat Paella and drink Sangria or that Polish steal cars?
We at Babel thought definitely, and so we made a great potpourri of stereotypes that came to our mind and investigated about the truth contained by asking our experts from these respective countries.
Check it out:
- „All Argentinian boys play football and do it very well.“ And dream of being Maradona or Messi? Our spy tells us: NO! Argentinian boys have interests as diverse as boys in any other country. Maybe even ballett?
- „Every Argentinian dances well.“ Sadly, that's also a myth. But: Tango is part of Argentinian folklore. Maybe not everybody can do it, but everybody knows it.
- „Argentinian meat is probably the best in the world and it's the most important part of nutrition there.“ The reliable source confirms that, and did you know, that the average Argentinian eats 55kg of beef per year? That'd equal a slender girl!
- „Argentina was the Nazi’s shelter after the end of Word War II.“ Now we get some serious stuff going on: truth somehow, still our Brazilian insider adds that most of South America has a history with exiled Nazis. To sum it up, Argentinians are not more Nazi than most of the other countries but they do have some skeletons in their closet.
- „They have the best chocolate and beer in the whole world.“ Depends on your taste, but after trying what our spy recommended? No doubt about it! And truffles, and... check for yourself.
- „They eat mayonnaise with everything.“ Not everything. But with...
- „You can buy chips aka French fries on every single corner of every single street.“ ...exactly that stuff. And it's true as chips were actually invented in Belgium, so don't be fooled by the name „French fries“ next time! (Maybe, to battle stereotypes, order some „Belgian fries“ and coin a new expression.)
- „Chinese eat dogs, and all kinds of things. Or at least they use any kind of meat to cook in their restaurant.“ Well. In some cities they do. But actually that is not a typically Chinese thing. Let's quote our expert: „Myth and fact. But more myth than fact!“
- „Chinese can only have one baby.“ Naturally they can have more, and a lot of them do. But they are heavily fined. Talking about free family planning...
- „Kids study a lot and are very stressed. Their parents are very strict and have high expectations.“ Get scared European students, that is actually TRUE!
- „Communism makes the people too conservative and narrow-minded.“ Here we might intervene: concerning our spy we can only object! And she confirms it with a smirk.
- „Chinese people copy everything. They fake brand products.“ To Nike's, adidas's, Gucci's, LV's and all the others's anger that is a fact... But you haven't noticed that yet, have you...?
- „Whenever they speak, whatever they say, they use their hands.“ Good observers can't deny this but our expert is clarifying that there are some exceptions when you don't do any gesturing.
- „Italians eat pizza and pasta every day.“ I feel like wanting to move to Italy forever if that's true, maybe. Sadly it's only partially right, they do eat a lot of pasta and pizza and probably the best in the whole wide world, on the other hand side many Italians don't even like pasta. Expert, you crushed my day-dreaming!
- „Italians are very emotional: they cry, hug and kiss more than any other European nation.“ Our spy clashed that, too. According to her, Italians are more passionate, not more emotional. Don't you remember Romeo&Juliet?
- „Italians speak loud amongst their own people.“ That sounds (!) true. But our expert adds that Spanish are even louder, if you check a decibel-o-meter.
- „Madonna used to say 'Italians do it better'.“ What? Pizza? Pasta? Ice cream? Fashion? Keeping their friends close but their enemies closer? Whatever Madonna wanted to allude to, the Italian spy says with a hardly hidden grin, it surely depends.
- „Germans are very cold and they don’t express their feelings.“ Considering the Youtube videos making fun of Germans saying „I love you“ in German, they'd better be, but it's not true. Germans just don't rub everything in your face says our „Fräulein“ and adds that the relation inbetween rational and emotional parts of a German mind usually is quite balanced.
- „Germans are very punctual and always strict to the rules.“ Considering trains that's definitely a lie. They're always delayed. And rules are not that strictly and literally applied, usually in context. Although, as our expert confirms, concerning times and rules, Germany is probably the most reliable country in Europe.
- „Germans are all Nazis.“ This level is far to low. I guess we don't need to comment on this. Just for the morons among us (but no Babel listener would be one, right?): NO!
- „Germans drink beer all the time.“ Maybe, baby... our expert says she's not doing so, and from how we know her, that appears to be true. But Germany might have the best beers in the world and it definitely has an enormous range of different types of beer.
- „Polish steal cars from Western Europe.“ Do you know the joke with the little midget...? Nevermind, it's not true. Actually our spy tells us, Poland is only a transit country, the cars are transported to the farther East.
- „The Polish drink a lot of Vodka.“ Call it maybe. Some like it vodka, some don't, as everywhere. But when you're meeting friends (secret advice from our expert), you should drink together and you shouldn't be the one to stop first.
- „In Poland people speak Russian.“ Ever heard of the Polish language? Yep, it exists and although it's closely related to Russian, it's not the same!
- „It's very cold in Poland and they have polar bears.“ Our spy laughs and enlightens us about the climate in Poland: it's usually cold in winter, but during summer they have very comfortable 20 to 25°C. So no polar bears, sadly...
- „Portuguese are always complaining about their luck and remembering better times when Portugal was one of the world powerful countries.“ Ah, saudade... Our local spy admits that this stereotype is entirely true. According to her Portuguese are always complaining and evoking „the good old days“. This results from Portuguese national identity being based on their achievements during the discoveries, a courageous people from a small country with ties all over the world. And also Fado with its moaning about the mentioned saudade and the terrible, terrible sadness of life. Or, as she resumes the positive point of view, Portuguese are a romantic, dark people facing tragedies and hardship with a religious sense of patriotism and sacrifice...
- „Portuguese are always late.“ Ever waited for a Portuguese person to arrive? Well. You can notice from your experience that this is also true as true can be. But why is that so? As our informer suspects that's because Portuguese are very tolerant and can easily put them in other people's shoes: lots can happen on the way to the meeting point, so they might as expect some delays... It might sound negative, but aren't Portuguese just about to be the most relaxed people in the world?
- „Portuguese don't like Spain and are very nervous when you mix portuguese language with Spanish.“ Portugnhol at its best can be an easy way to communicate, but why are some people quite unhappy about that? Maybe we have to clarify first, Portuguese don't hate Spain. But. Gaining their independence from Spain was rather hard and they simply don't like to be confused as the same country or for speaking the same language, our historically well-informed expert enlightens us. That Portuguese and Spanish aren't the same is something we already noticed, for sure!
- „Every Spanish knows how to dance Flamenco.“ It's quite common, our expert confirms, but usually more in the South. Olé!
- „Spanish are lazy and have a nap (siesta) every day.“ Now we're pulling the numbers out: Spain has the longest working hours and days in the European Union! Doesn't sound like siesta-ing that much...
- „Spain is the country of sangria and paella.“ It is known (and who wouldn't know our friend Don Simón?) but regarding sangria, it's more common with tourists. Paella is from the south, quite common, too, but also mainly among tourists. Luckily we have so clever spies all over the world!
Who would've thought that? Ok, some are obvious, but others? Crazy!
What are the strangest stereotypes you've ever heard and what do you think of these ones? We're curious about your opinion!