Jun 11th, 2007, 02:12 PM
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Advice in Germany:
In Germany !!!
Dont ask information to old people.

Generally they dont speak English and hates who not speaks deustche !!

Of course this is not rule but prefer young people to ask some information !!!

tomfod is offline  
Jun 11th, 2007, 02:19 PM
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What an odd statement...I've met many older Germans who spoke English...even if brokenly. I've also met many older Germans who couldn't speak English but did not hate those who couldn't speak German. I would say that if someone cannot speak German, find information desks or tourist information buildings when seeking info.
But don't hate on the old people!
JaimieW is offline  
Jun 11th, 2007, 02:26 PM
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This is an odd statement indeed, especially coming from someone who appears not to be a native English speaker.
P_M is offline  
Jun 11th, 2007, 02:39 PM
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This is a statement which I also don't agree with. I know tomfod states "generally", but I prefer to comment on people one at a time and not generalize. After a number of trips to Germany, I never encountered any "hostility" from any age group. I assume you feel this way because you didn't take the time/effort to learn some German. I would never go to another country without knowing some of the language and I wouldn't expect everyone to speak English. Judging by the way the post is written, German isn't the only language you have trouble with. Sorry about that, but...

pja1 is offline  
Jun 11th, 2007, 02:47 PM
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I've never had the problem since I speak German (moderately), and old folks seem happy to converse with me.

On the western European continent (EU 10), except for Denmark and Neatherlands, you have a better chance of a German speaking English (51%) than most most other people. Compare that to the French (34%), the Italians (29%), or the Spanish (20%).
Larryincolorado is offline  
Jun 11th, 2007, 03:27 PM
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I can remember being in a shop in Rothenburg and hearing a Japanese tourist trying to talk to a German shopkeeper. They were each speaking their own version of English. Being fluent in the language, I could understand both of them, but both of their accents were so bad that they could not understand each other.

Considering Tomfod's poor written English, it is entirely possible that his spoken English is unintelligible to anyone not intimately familiar with the language. Then when they can't understand him, he expresses the same impatience that he shows in his posting, and, of course, they react negatively to him.
Larryincolorado is offline  
Jun 11th, 2007, 03:35 PM
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Another Newbie Classic !!!!
barbmike is offline  
Jun 11th, 2007, 04:20 PM
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Larry, I think it is less than kind to write as you did about tomfod's command of English. It is reasonably obvious that it is not his first language, but he makes an effort to communicate in this English-language forum. Give him credit, not disrespect.

I think there is a much kinder interpretation of tomfod's words -- not that older Germans hate people who do not speak German, but dislike being put in a situation that they cannot cope with. I don't see impatience in his words, but simply an effort to say something in a language of which he has limited command.
Padraig is offline  
Jun 11th, 2007, 04:27 PM
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I expect tomfod is having the same linguistic problems posting here that he had in Germany, with some of the same resulsts.

Obviously neither English nore German is his first language, and I suspect he had some embarrassing encounters trying to use English as a common language while in Germany. Maybe the older folks were less kind to him than the younger ones because they had less command of English.

Whatever...I don't think tomfod should be berated for his language skills; neither do I think his message needs to be taken seriously, at least in my experience.
StCirq is offline  
Jun 11th, 2007, 04:33 PM
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I was actually thinking exactly what Larry wrote. I didn't take any of his statements to be negative, disrespectful or berating - he simply stated that if tomfod's spoken English is partly broken (like the written version) - it could be that a German who's English is not great - couldn't understand at all - leading to frustration on everyone's part.
celticdreams is offline  
Jun 11th, 2007, 04:42 PM
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My post is going to be--as my posts often are--a little off base, but it reminds me of being on a ski lift with an attractive older German man during the late 1960's. At that time it was a little unusual for an older person to speak English that well, so I asked him where he had learned it. He answered that he had learned it as an American prisoner of war.

I said, "Oh." For some reason his answer was a conversation stopper for me.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Jun 11th, 2007, 04:43 PM
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I think you hit the nail right on the head Larry. I don't see your comments as unkind.
robjame is offline  
Jun 11th, 2007, 05:03 PM
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I also don't think Larry's comment is berating because on a few occasions I've had to "translate" English between 2 non-native speakers. I think this is a logical explanation as to how frustration can occur.
P_M is offline  
Jun 11th, 2007, 05:06 PM
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I think we may have figured out the problem - 2 people who speak a little english - and are frustrated when they can't comminicate.

The same thing happened to us when we had lunch near Melk Abbey. The waitress spoke English well enough for us - but therre were 2 Argentinian tourists at the next table - and they could;t communicate with her in English - although they both had some. Luckily we were able to do some cross translation to helpout.

But - I don;t think the waitress "hated" anyone - she - and they - were just becoming a little frustrated.
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 11th, 2007, 07:07 PM
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Hey, a couple of liters of good bier and everybody speaks Germish. No problem.
Lumpy1 is offline  
Jun 11th, 2007, 07:50 PM
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Good one, lumpy, and pretty true, too!
StCirq is offline  
Jun 11th, 2007, 08:56 PM
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This thread has reminded me of an incident from long ago. I was at a small restaurant in Asuncion, Paraguay, with two Frenchmen, one of whom spoke English and the other no English or Spanish. I translated the menu into English for the English-speaking Frenchman, and he then discussed the menu with his friend in such rapid French that I could hardly detect a single word. Then the English speaker told me what the two of them wanted, and I ordered for all of us in Spanish. I was very young (in college), and I remember feeling quite proud of myself.
xanthippe is offline  
Jun 11th, 2007, 10:51 PM
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Well said, Lumpy1, and so right. We were staying in inland Turkey (Urgup) one time and our host invited us to share some wine with him. He had no English and we had no Turkish, but we all had a smattering of German. At first we got by - in a rather stilted and limited manner - but as the wine flowed so did the conversation, better and better. Ended up quite a "ragey" night!
twoflower is offline  
Jun 11th, 2007, 11:06 PM
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Ah, there's a bit of truth in this.

The older generation did not have the opportunity to learn English like the younger generation does today. If a tourist does ask directions, some older people get frustrated because they can't help and realize how nice it would be to speak another language.

Their frustration comes across gruff and may cause a wrong impression of the Germans (Swiss, etc.).

That's where knowing a few words of the local language comes in handy.

(I'm envisioning my Swiss uncle, who's always hiking in the mountains but can't speak a word of English. It drives him bonkers when someone tries to speak to him in English but he doesn't want to learn it himself.)
kleeblatt is offline  
Jun 12th, 2007, 12:15 AM
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Maybe I've bumped into your Swiss uncle in the mountains now that I live here. I live in the Swiss Romande (french speaking) part but can't resist using one of my very few German phrases for this thread -

Haben sie guten tag! Have a good day!
beaupeep is offline  

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