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2 replies
First time - Is it true that I should only speak English?
KevGoerik
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Wassup everybody, I am going to be visiting France & Germany in a few months. It will be my first time outside America, so I have been asking all my friends about it. They all said that I should at least try to speak the language of where I am visiting, and I did get a book on how to speak French. I want to be polite and everything, but not sure what to do cause like just today I read an article http://www.goodlivin… that said the opposite, and I’ve read others too, that I should only speak English because people need the chance to practice the “universal language.” what do I do, what are your thoughts / opinions? Thanks in advance!
Kevin

also it suggested I pretend to be Canadian, does that work has anybody tried it?

oldlady
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Unless you get miles and miles outside the “normal tourist track” you will have no trouble in “English only” in France and Germany. However, I think you should know a few phrases like Please, Thank you, Pardon me, just to be polite. Knowing the terminology for the train station and rail cars is handy — particularly in German.

I think the idea that you should require people to speak your language because it’s somehow “good for them” is a good indicator of why the people you’re talking to apparently ran into people who didn’t like them. Interesting that they interpreted that as dislike of Americans as opposed to a reaction to their rude behavior. How would you feel toward somebody who had that attitude toward your language and culture?

I don’t think pretending to be Canadian has any impact. My husband has carried a backpack with a maple leaf on it (gift from a Canadian friend) for 4 decades. I don’t think it makes any difference in how he’s treated. For the most part, Europeans don’t dislike Americans any more than they dislike other tourists. They sometimes dislike American policies and politicians but most don’t take that out on the tourist who happens to be American.

papyr
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KevGoerik wrote:
Wassup everybody, I am going to be visiting France & Germany in a few months. It will be my first time outside America, so I have been asking all my friends about it. They all said that I should at least try to speak the language of where I am visiting, and I did get a book on how to speak French. I want to be polite and everything, but not sure what to do cause like just today I read an article http://www.goodlivin… that said the opposite, and I’ve read others too, that I should only speak English because people need the chance to practice the “universal language.” what do I do, what are your thoughts / opinions? Thanks in advance!
Kevin

also it suggested I pretend to be Canadian, does that work has anybody tried it?

Are you ashamed of being American or it’s just my bad perception of the sentence? Learn a few phrases like “good morning” “I’d like a…” “Excuse me, but my French is very weak, do you happen to speak English?”, learn all numerals, be nice, don’t be afraid to communicate in the unknown language (even if you generate mistakes all the time) and don’t pretend you’re someone you’re actually not. If communicating with someone who speaks little or no English, it’s best to look like you are totally clueless, helpless and without their help you’d get absolutely lost or starve to death. It very often works with the female half of any supermarket/hotel/railway station staff Smile

In Europe, and even in France, people don’t carry baseball bat around to have ready when they encounter an English-only-speaker.

If you have any questions about Prague or Czech and Slovak republics, ask me.
If you only want to search train or bus connection within Czech&Slovakia and/or to neighboring countries, use www.cp.sk or www.idos.cz search engines. For domestic transport, they also show prices.