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Old 01-26-2006, 07:30 AM   #1
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i was just wondering if anyone could tell me is english widley understood throughout western europe? i plan on going to spain,portugal,italye.t.c.
any advice would be appreciated.
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Old 01-26-2006, 07:44 AM   #2
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More or less, in big citys it's in their best interest to speak English. If your really stuck I've found all the beggers have perfect English.

Have a bit of the local language and they'll probably stop you and speak English rather than here their own language mutilated.
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Old 01-26-2006, 07:52 AM   #3
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Hee hee, I never thought of that with beggers. Although I do recall getting asked for money in english more than anything else!

Yeah I pretty much know nothing other than english and a TINY bit of french and I did okay. I really found that many people did not speak english, but everyone said it must have been my luck!

If you know any spanish, everyone seemed to speak that!! I was travelling with an american in france and she spoke to more people in spanish than I could english or french. It was wierd.

Just know that you'll be using that body language and pointing alot!!!!

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Old 01-26-2006, 07:58 AM   #4
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Quote:
Have a bit of the local language and they'll probably stop you and speak English rather than here their own language mutilated.
Very true. In tourist cities, you can almost always find someone who speaks English. Otherwise, it's pretty easy to order by pointing and nodding. It never hurts to learn how to say hello, thank you, do you speak english, yes, no and about 1-10 in any given language. People seem to be a lot more receptive if you try. Not to play into stereotypes, but we had the hardest time with French people when my brother (who speaks French fluently) wasn't with us.
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Old 01-26-2006, 08:20 AM   #5
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I tried to learn the basics (please, thank you, etc) for each language but english was widely understood.....sometimes you'll get locals who'll want to practice their english as well which is fun.
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Old 01-26-2006, 09:25 AM   #6
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Funny thing is, Madrid is the place that they pretend to not speak english the most. Never mind the fact that tourists and pilgrims have been coming to Spain (and Madrid is its capital) for thousands of years. The further you get away from Madrid, the more I found folks willing to speak english.

That said, I highly recommend learning the basic phrases, "Hello, goodbye, thank you, please, excuse me, where is...," and so on.

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Old 01-26-2006, 09:48 AM   #7
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The french come off as a bit ignorant but I don't think that's special treatment given to tourists. It's just the way they are.. I'm not actually calling them ignorant just that they come off like that.
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Old 01-26-2006, 10:55 AM   #8
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The French are suddenly more than happy to speak English once they hear you mangling their precious language

If you're hardcore, grab some language tapes/CDs/software and learn the languages for countries you'll be visiting. It ain't for everyone, but it's fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun!
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Old 01-27-2006, 03:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by omisan@Jan 26 2006, 09:55 AM
The French are suddenly more than happy to speak English once they hear you mangling their precious language

OMI! what's up man. I followed your advice, stayed at BVJ in Paris in the summer.

Anyway, yeah that's really true. People say French people are snobby and rude, but that's only if you're retarded and expect everyone to know and respond to English.

Pretty much if you start off a sentence in any language, anyone in Europe will start speaking English to you. I'd say about 50-70% of Western Europe knows some ENglish.
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Old 02-06-2006, 04:05 AM   #10
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Bring along one of those mini European phrase books, and learn "Excuse me, do you speak English?" in all the applicable languages. if you start in the local tongue, you'll probably get a better response than starting in English. I also learn "I'm sorry, I don't understand _______" and usually the person will cast around the passers-by, til they find someone who speaks a language I do. Also, pick up one of those pocket (credit card sized) translators, with pictures on it. Pointy-talky works a treat.
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