Prevailing attitude toward modern Germans or Americans who speak German
(Portland, OR USA)
I am an American of Alsatian descent. I have been able to trace my ancestry to the town of Stattmatten.
Since I was young I have always been told that Alsatians speak a German dialect. I've learned to speak basic German as I had the opportunity to go to Strasbourg and I could not resist a trip to the nearby town of Stattmatten.
When I finally got there I went to the only business open which was a bar.
I was only able to find the bar with the help of some helpful locals who seemed nervous about speaking German.
I highly doubt that they spoke English so I thought it was better to speak German. When I got to the bar I promptly ordered a beer. In German. The bar became very quiet. Things were somewhat tense.
I decided that I was more fit but, grossly outnumbered by the patrons. Luckily after about a minute the bartender decided to pour the beer and only uttered "swei".
I paid and tipped and the bar went back to normal. Upon swilling my beer like a typical American I got up to leave but, decided I had initially picked the wrong language.
In the only French I know I said hello to (my family name) and goodbye.
So, now that I have shared this embarrassing and in retrospect funny story, my question is how badly did I offend these people and if I can ever make it back what would be the correct way to handle this situation or make it up to these tolerant people?
I hope you got a chuckle out of my story and that I am able to return soon.