English Spoken in Luzern, et al.?

Apr 21st, 2005, 06:47 AM
  #1  
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English Spoken in Luzern, et al.?

Is English at all spoken or understood in the Swiss cities of Luzern and Zurich? How about in the small towns along the route du vin in Alsace?
judyjay is offline  
Apr 21st, 2005, 06:55 AM
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We had no problems in Lucerne or Zurich with English (have a tiny smattering of French but know no German/Swiss at all). Didn't go into any small towns except Weggis but we just walked around, didn't converse with anyone.
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Apr 21st, 2005, 07:17 AM
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I went to Luzern many years ago and had no trouble finding English speakers. I think you'll be fine.
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Apr 21st, 2005, 07:31 AM
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My experience is only in french-speaking part of the country. In train stations, banks, post office etc. seemed like someone always spoke English. Less so in grocery store or pharmacy. And rarely in the open air farmers market stands, lace shops, bakeries.

I'm not sure what you anticipate needing to talk to people about, but because the Swiss are so organized generally speaking, I found it very easy to get around without speaking French.
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Apr 21st, 2005, 08:35 AM
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I think there may be quite a few opportunities in which you might wish to speak to someone but my experience in both Swiss cities has been that the folks you are most likely to converse with (hotel staff, retaurant servers, train station clerks, store clerks, etc.) will be able to understand you.
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Apr 21st, 2005, 09:59 AM
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English is widely spoken in all of those places - esp in venues catering to tourists. You will have no problems at all. (Not every person speaks english - if you go into the local dry cleaner or shoe repair shop you may have some problems - but that's not usually part of a vacation.)
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Apr 21st, 2005, 10:35 AM
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My comments concern mostly Lausanne, Vevey & Montreux, but you're right, because I was staying with friends who live there, my experience was a little more local and less tourist oriented (they make me do the grocery shopping, pick up their dry cleaning and such as lessons in French!).
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Apr 21st, 2005, 10:54 AM
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English was spoken/understood everywhere we recently went in Lucerne: restaurants, attractions, shops, boats on Lake Lucerne and at the train station. Zurich was pretty much the same.
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Apr 21st, 2005, 11:22 AM
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Should have no problems in Luzern or Zurich in main parts of cities or the visitor oriented places.

The small towns in Alsace may be different story. I found that Strasbourg was so-so in English speaking, but not bad. However, in the smaller towns south on both sides in France and Germany, English was not as common. However, it is not a big problem. Make it easy on yourself, learn a few basic phrases, learn your numbers, and take a good phrase book. Most important in France is to remember your manners with your Bon Jours, Mercis, SVPs, and so on. A nice Bon Jour upon entering a shop goes a long way!
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Apr 21st, 2005, 11:53 AM
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curt, also true in french-speaking switzerland... i've never heard so much bonjour'ing & avoir merci'ing in my life! especially in the smaller shops.
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Apr 22nd, 2005, 06:45 AM
  #11  
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Thank you everyone! The French phrases and "restaurant speak" isn't a problem for me--but the German language looks a little scary!

Merci!
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