English in Zurich?

Dec 16th, 1998, 11:56 AM
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English in Zurich?

What percentage of people living in Zurich speak English? I am contemplating visiting for about a week and have little knowledge of French, Italian or German. Thanks!
Dec 16th, 1998, 12:49 PM
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While I have not spent time in Zurich apart from the airport, I would expect it to be very high. Zurich gets a lot of foreign visitors for business and pleasure. English has sort of become the international language for both. I have travelled in other major areas of German-speaking Switzerland and was amazed at how many people spoke excellent English. It can even be frustrating if you want to practice your own German, but people will only speak to you in English. The funniest thing was when I tried to speak German when we arrived at our hotel in Interlaken last year, and the person in the desk was from the English speaking part of Canada.
Dec 16th, 1998, 01:18 PM
Bob Brown
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I was in Zuerich in September/October.
We found that the key people spoke enough English to help us. The airline people, train personnel, Avis counter, hotel desk clerks. I would not automatically assume that everyone speaks English.

I bought a camera lens in a big photographic store. The young lady behind the counter got someone who could speak English. But it always polite to ask.

We ate at a small restaurant, and the woan in charge spoke no English. So it is not universal.
Dec 17th, 1998, 03:56 PM
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A few years ago while on the train from the airport to Zurich, my husband & I were discussing what we would have time to see before getting back for our flight. Several passengers overhearing our conversation joined in(in English) with helpful tips. A young woman insisted on gettiing us a city map and walked around with us pointing out landmarks. I think the % is high in the large cities.
Dec 17th, 1998, 09:55 PM
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We had no problem communicating in English in Zurich. At the hotel, everyone at the front desk spoke English. Elsewhere (shops, restaurants, bank), if the individual serving you was not fluent in English, he/she would find someone who was. In one tiny restaurant, the dishwasher (apparently working his way through college) was assigned to us, as he was the employee who spoke the most fluent English - and he was efficient and delightful. In Zurich, the native language is a form of German. It's a good idea to learn a few useful phrases (Good morning, Good evening, Excuse me, Please, Thank You, Where are the restrooms?, May I have the check please?, etc., along with Do you speak English?) You are received much better if you make the effort.

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