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View Full Version : Travelling in Europe may be way difficult some times ...



Echetlaeus
18-06-14, 10:30
... because some people, although they may know English, they do not speak the language on purpose, mostly due to some chauvinistic ideas that they have (I presume).

Notable examples are:

- French
- Italians
- Spanish
- those from Czech Republic
- Germans (not only in Germany)


What they must understand is that it is not easy to know all of these languages, hence use the English that you learned at school.

FBS
18-06-14, 11:23
I have traveled in all those countries several times, and I must say that I do not agree with your point of view. Whether I like the atmosphere & mentality in those countries is another thing.

There are people who speak English, there are people who do not speak a word of English and still try to be helpful; there are people who speak a funny version of English which makes it quite funny and a part of a full experience. I remember only one case in Valencia, in a pub, when I considered a lady waiter very rude, but that could be just a bad moment that we can all have. Maybe I was acting arrogant on my own so she was just reflecting back. Therefore we need to be aware of our own behavior first, since everybody wants to do their job and go back home and get along with their lives. After all, we are the foreigners and people whom we are encountering in these countries might be those who have never seen a foreigner before or did not learn English.

Maleth
18-06-14, 18:36
I have a feeling its not because they know English and they don't speak it on purpose. They genuinely would not be able to speak to the Language. or know a few words and don't feel confident enough. If they are too busy they would not be in a position to help.

This is my experience.

Scandinavia, Netherlands really no problem with speaking English.

France (which I visited 6 times would have been a challenge for sure but my partner is Francophone and one occasion stayed with French people who I knew locally, and spoke English well too, so I could see it in a different way a non French speaking person would have seen it. I noticed even menus are not written in any other languages. However I was wondering alone in a tiny Village in the Pyrenees and I wanted to ask something and the father very quickly called his son who spoke English.

Italy would have been a challenge too, but luckily I speak enough Italian to get by well. I was amazed by Venice tho that its what it seemed that Everyone spoke English there, which was an exception to rest of the Italian cities I visited.

Spain, (well Valencia) I was surprised how unspoken English was. We could not even get by speaking Italian. Its not as close as I was led to believe, but again, in Valencia, I had good experience as the owner of the restaurant and a server did their best to give us directions on a map with sign language. We also met a lovely young lady on a train who conversed the best way she could on the train in English and was very friendly.

Germany I visited with a German friend but that would have been a challenge too if you could not speak the language in my opinion. An old women started angrily yapping away at me when I tried to open a door and I could not read the signs. When I asked him what she was saying he was laughing and told me she said how stupid I was to push and not pull the door.....hmm.

All in all I have the impression that younger people are more open to speak English then the much older....even from the tourists I meet locally. But I believe if you travel alone one has to be ready for the frequencies of ones language according to other peoples experiences by learning a few words as not being able to communicate can really have an impact of how you perceive that city or country you visit.

What is Athens like? I am visiting in October.

Echetlaeus
18-06-14, 19:47
I have a feeling its not because they know English and they don't speak it on purpose. They genuinely would not be able to speak to the Language. or know a few words and don't feel confident enough. If they are too busy they would not be in a position to help.

This is my experience.

Scandinavia, Netherlands really no problem with speaking English.

France (which I visited 6 times would have been a challenge for sure but my partner is Francophone and one occasion stayed with French people who I knew locally, and spoke English well too, so I could see it in a different way a non French speaking person would have seen it. I noticed even menus are not written in any other languages. However I was wondering alone in a tiny Village in the Pyrenees and I wanted to ask something and the father very quickly called his son who spoke English.

Italy would have been a challenge too, but luckily I speak enough Italian to get by well. I was amazed by Venice tho that its what it seemed that Everyone spoke English there, which was an exception to rest of the Italian cities I visited.

Spain, (well Valencia) I was surprised how unspoken English was. We could not even get by speaking Italian. Its not as close as I was led to believe, but again, in Valencia, I had good experience as the owner of the restaurant and a server did their best to give us directions on a map with sign language. We also met a lovely young lady on a train who conversed the best way she could on the train in English and was very friendly.

Germany I visited with a German friend but that would have been a challenge too if you could not speak the language in my opinion. An old women started angrily yapping away at me when I tried to open a door and I could not read the signs. When I asked him what she was saying he was laughing and told me she said how stupid I was to push and not pull the door.....hmm.

All in all I have the impression that younger people are more open to speak English then the much older....even from the tourists I meet locally. But I believe if you travel alone one has to be ready for the frequencies of ones language according to other peoples experiences by learning a few words as not being able to communicate can really have an impact of how you perceive that city or country you visit.

What is Athens like? I am visiting in October.

Don't worry about Greeks, if they know they will talk to you. As you said younger people know better.

I agree that Northern Europeans are almost excellent in speaking English.