FOCUS: Has the fact that you have learnt German helped you?
Trichet: It certainly has. At the ECB, we mostly talk in English. But in the corridors youâ€™re just as likely to hear German, French, Italian or Spanish, and many other languages besides. Having some knowledge of the German language has enabled me to better understand the culture of the country. Oversimplifying, I would say that the French and English languages seem to be very much designed to â€œcommunicateâ€. My understanding of the German language is that it is very much designed to â€œthinkâ€, with its verbs at the end of the sentence. I am not surprised that it is such a good language for philosophy.
FOCUS: Are you trying to say that Germans are not as good at small talk?
Trichet: Not at all! I just want to say that the German language itself is particularly well suited to reflection. In speeches, for example, speakers let the audience think along with them. Only at the end of a sentence is the audience able to understand exactly what is actually meant. This is why it is pretty unacceptable for people in the audience to whisper during a speech.
Among other things, it highlights the huge backdoor influence of the Eurozone’s most significant non-member.Â Which seems like an advantage for Ireland.