When I was in Rome last week, I had a curious conversation with some people from TIM (Telecom Italia Mobile):
tim guy: Oh, of course you’re German, aren’t you?
me: Ehm… no…
tim girl (before I could answer): No! His name is Italian, he’s obviously… Italo-German!
me: No guys, I’m 100% Italian, born in Bergamo, from Italian parents, I lived in Caprino Bergamasco and Pavia before I relocated in Berlin 3,5 years ago.
tim guy: No way! You have a German accent! You breathe like a German!
me: Do I have German accent? And what does it mean that I breathe like a German?
tim guy: Yes you do have German accent and when you speak you take breaks like a German does…
I didn’t reply any further: for people from Rome and Naples my Northitalian accent could indeed sound crucco (=German) and I did some breaks while speaking with them because I didn’t always remember the right Italian word to explain my concepts.
But yesterday I talked at the phone with some other people (with whom I never had contacts before) and they said:
You’re German, aren’t you?
No! I’m not German (yet, I still need to live here 5 more years to become German)!