A German student got a question concerning BE and AE

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Lounge' started by Danillson, Sep 5, 2010.

  1. Danillson

    Danillson Well-Known Member

    Nov 11, 2008
    Hey guys,
    I'm a German student and I have got a question. I'm holding a presentation about "the Political System in Germany" at an American college (as an exchange student). What I want to now is the following:
    When I say "minister" do you understand that as a member of the government or as someone in the chruch? I'm asking because my English teacer at school keeps saying that "the Americans" believe that a German minister was somebody in the church. He wants me to use the noun "secretary". I know that you Americans use that noun. However there are differnces between "ministers" and "secretataries". In my opinion, the term "minister is right because here in Germany we also call them "Minister" (German).
    So do you understand that I'm talking about "something similar to your secretaries" when I use the term "minister" when refering to the political position in Germany?
    I'd gladly hear your opinions?

    P.S: I hope my English is not that bad...;)

    Kind regrads,
  2. Electric_Shaman

    Electric_Shaman Well-Known Member

    Jul 22, 2009
    Hi, first off I'm from England, not the US, so I'm assuming it'll be similar in American
    Anyway, I would understand "minister" to be a member of the government, if it was combined with a prefix such as "Finance", to form "Finance Minister", or "Health" to form "Health Minister"; even "Prime" to form "Prime Minister" =P.
    But if it was used on it's own as just "minister", I would probably think it was a member of the church. If there's nothing you can add to "minister", then simply state the first time you use it "...minister, a member of the government...", and then simply use minister from then on.
  3. SJP99

    SJP99 Well-Known Member

    Mar 16, 2010
    Ipod Touch game player person like thing????
    11th dimension
    Interesting question. I am from the united states so i will try to give you an answer. In the US..in my experience..the word "minister" is not very often used for a government official...and is more commonly used for a church pastor. I think using the word secretary is a better choice as we refer to the secretary of defense, secretary of state, secretary of finance...etc. hope it helped.
  4. Cilo

    Cilo Well-Known Member

    Feb 2, 2010
    Los Angeles
    Sound advice.
  5. eyemh8

    eyemh8 Well-Known Member

    Oct 28, 2008
    To stay stupid
    Estes Park co.
    I am American and somewhat ignorant, but if you were talking about government and used the word minister I would know what your talking about.
  6. d1

    d1 Well-Known Member

    Sep 19, 2009
    This is good advice.

    Since you'll be speaking at a college, you'll be speaking to an educated audience who will realize the difference [hopefully ;)]

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