How is lying seen in your culture

Lies like printed

Lies like printed

Statistically, it should happen to everyone 200 times a day: lying to yourself or being lied to. From a linguistic point of view, a lie is difficult to recognize - with small exceptions.

At the latest with the US President Donald Trump, the term is on everyone's lips: fake news. In 2017 he was included in the Duden. These false reports, which are spread in a manipulative way in the media and the Internet, especially in social media, also belong in a narrower sense to an area that we encounter every day: lies.

Every now and then the question arises for each and every one of them: Did my counterpart just tell the truth, was it a white lie or even a real lie? Because unlike Pinocchio, the famous children's book character by the Italian writer Carlo Collodi, our nose doesn't get a little longer with every lie.

Statistically speaking, we hear a lie about 200 times a day - from our own mouth or from that of others. Actually, you shouldn't lie. At least that is what the eighth commandment in the Bible requires. There it says: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor”. However, hardly anyone sticks to it.

But why don't we tell the truth? For example, because we are a little embarrassed, we don't want to hurt someone in order to protect ourselves or even to gain an advantage. Beyond that, however, the truth is not told around us either, it is denied, deceived, cheatedcheat achieve something through deception or tricks, whisperedwhisper not sticking to the truth about something and being trickedtrick trying to achieve something with unfair methods - by parties, politicians, advertising, the economy, and, and, and.

In terms of terms, “lying”, “denying” and “deceiving” can be differentiated, says Jörg Meibauer, Professor of Descriptive Linguisticsdescriptive linguistics the field of linguistics, which describes linguistic phenomena with scientific methods and creates theories at the University of Mainz:

"I would say 'deceiving' is a general act of the kind to make someone have a wrong belief. There's an old example of Immanuel Kantwhere a hotel guest puts his suitcase in front of the door to give others the impression that he is leaving, yes. Then there is no linguistic act at. But it's still 'fooling'. And 'lying' is deceiving by means of a linguistic act. And 'to deny' actually means that one denies having done something specific. And it seems to me possible that it is actually the case on the one hand. You have done something and then you deny it. But it also seems possible to use 'deny' in such a way that one says: 'Fritz denied having done this and that. Until the very end. And he was right ‘."

The German philosopher Immanuel Kant In 1797 wrote the essay "About a supposed right to lie out of philanthropy". He was of the opinion that the human community is held together by trusting truthfulness, that is, honesty. If you lie, you violate this trust. Nobody has the right to a lie or a white lie - even if it hurts you.

Lying is immoral. But it worksact to be there, to have a specific task as a kind of lubricantLubricant, - (m.) Transferred here for: something that is necessary for smooth functioning for social cohesion, says Jörg Meibauer:

"Lying is a complex thing. As far as we know, animals cannot lie, they can deceive. In that sense, lying is a special human one cognitive abilitywhich is very important for all of our social actions. "

A person who is telling falsehood does it consciously. It is one "cognitive ability". However, it is difficult to identify a lie based on the language, the choice of words, the composition of sentences or the way in which it is expressed orally. However, there are certain clues, says Jörg Meibauer:

"There is huge research on what is known as 'lie detection'. So it was found - but always on a statistical basis - that liars tend to, let's say, talk about something in the third person. Or that they often use certain expressions that allow them an escape, yes: 'probably', 'probably', 'could be', and so on, and so on - all things that make them reluctant to refer to you Have verifiable facts determined. "

For example, people who lie like to use the impersonal third-person form. Instead of 'I' they prefer to say 'man'. However, according to Jörg Meibauer, not all linguistic forms are equally suitable for lying:

"If you use a prompting sentence, then it seems that it is not easy to lie with it, and that is because such statements are associated with certain linguistic actions, namely assertions or statements."

According to Jörg Meibauer, "good" liars are those who have mastered two strategies:

“There are people who, so to speak, hide their lies under many other, partly true or unclear utterances, which is popularly said totext or tosurge. And other people, they tend to have the strategy of saying little and saying things that are simpler and, in principle, verifiable. "

Anyone who persistently persuades another person, them texted, also has the possibility of accommodating lies between truths such as someone who speaks to another person surges. A torrent of wordsTorrent of words - (m.) an uninterrupted flow of speech, often unimportant, pours over the counterpart, so that he does not even have a say - and also has problems recognizing a lie in the abundance of what has been said. Because it is fundamentally in the nature of a person to trust the statement of another person.

And as the Roman poet Marcus Tullius Cicero said: "People are all of such a nature that they would rather hear a lie than a rejection." And that may also apply to so-called fake news: if you want to believe something, you believe it.


*Using an interview by Dieter Kassel, Deutschlandfunk Kultur, with Jörg Meibauer

cheat - achieve something through deception or tricks

whisper - not quite sticking to the truth about something

trick - Trying to achieve something using unfair methods

descriptive linguistics - the field of linguistics, which describes linguistic phenomena with scientific methods and creates theories

act - to be there for something, to have a specific task

Lubricant, - (m.) - transferred here for: something that is necessary for the proper functioning

Torrent of words - (m.) - an uninterrupted flow of speech