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Everyone in Europe speaks English, right?

Everyone in Europe speaks English, right?

Old Feb 13th, 2005, 07:09 PM
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Everyone in Europe speaks English, right?

My fiance and I will be going to Ukraine and Italy in August and speak neither of the languages. In Ukraine we will be visiting my brother and sister in law so I don't anticipate too many language problems as we will have an interpretor.
On our way back from Ukraine we will be spending three nights in Rome and I was wondering how badly our lack of language skills will effect our ability to communicate and to enjoy Rome. We are planning to try to learn at least a little Italian before we go , but I higly doubt we will be able to become anywhere near fluent. Does anyone have any Rome experiance on how difficult it is to get by with no language skills other than English and very rusty basic high school Spanish?
I would also love any other advice on Rome anyone has, be it hotels, resturaunts, sightseeing, or anything at all that I might find useful.
drewnecka is offline  
Old Feb 13th, 2005, 07:15 PM
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Learn please, thank you, how much, and a few other basics and you'll be fine. Yes, probably most Romans working in touristy areas will speak english, but it is still better to at least speak a word or two in Italian. Even if you encounter some who don't speak english, it's amazing how much you can communicate by being polite and gesturing.
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Old Feb 13th, 2005, 07:33 PM
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Hi drewnecka, no, everyone in Europe does not speak English. But from the description of your trip you will not have a problem.

In the Ukraine your will be family.

Three nights in Rome. Yes, do learn a few basic expressions in Italian.

And enjoy your trip!
LoveItaly is offline  
Old Feb 14th, 2005, 04:22 AM
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As LoveItaly noted, of course not everyone in Europe speaks English, which is what your posted question asked.

However, as she noted, since you have an intepreter in the Ukraine and are only going to Rome in Italy, you'll be fine with a few key phrases. Enough people speak English in Rome that you'll find someone who does if you need help.

I actually found that the farther south I went in Italy, the less people spoke English. BTW - your Spanish might actually help a little too! I went out for a night on the town with a young Italian in Sorrento (long story), and he didn't speak much English. We ended up conversing in a bizarre mixture of English and Spanish with a little Italian and lots of hand gestures thrown in. We both knew enough Spanish to get across about 50% of what we wanted to say.

It was really funny, but at the end of the night, I had a headache from having to think so much about speaking!

Have a great time, and don't worry. Rome is a wonderful, vibrant city, and you will be fine.

kaudrey is offline  
Old Feb 14th, 2005, 04:30 AM
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In 2002 I accompanied my dad and stepmom to Italy, which was their first trip to Europe. I told Dad I had bought an Italian phrasebook so we could learn the basics. Then Dad said those exact words "Everyone in Europe speaks English, right?" and I wanted to scream out loud!! Once we got there he discovered that while many people speak some English, not everyone does. I am proud to tell you that his views on Europeans speaking English have changed and he no longer takes that for granted.

When I read the title of your thread, I thought you were of the opinion that everyone there should speak English. But after reading your post I am pleased to see that you are going to make some effort to learn basic words. Do as planned and learn the basics and you'll be fine.
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Old Feb 14th, 2005, 04:32 AM
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I too speak English and very basic Spanish and have travelled all over Europe with just the help of a phrasebook. If you learn greetings, please, thank you, and excuse me, then you will be fine 80% of the time. In the back of every Rick Steves' country guide is a small page of bare essentials in terms of language skills. I usually try to learn off most of the phrases and get help with pronunciation from the first local I meet. You might photocopy this if you aren't travelling with his Rome book.

Most Europeans in cities and under the age of 30, speak pretty good English. As you head out of cities, and farther south in Europe, you'll find fewer English speakers, but will still be fine!
ashields is offline  
Old Feb 14th, 2005, 04:47 AM
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Consider taking a basic "adult education" (Italian) language course at your local community college. Those are fairly inexpensive, often fun, and great preps for travel.
mikemo is offline  
Old Feb 14th, 2005, 05:05 AM
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I guess the way to say this is that many people in the tourist trades in Europe speak English. Most continental Europeans probably do not. Of all the people I've met in France since I moved here 18 months ago, I'd say fewer than 1 in 10 speaks English enough to hold even an elementary conversation.
ckenb is offline  
Old Feb 14th, 2005, 05:42 AM
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Outside of Amsterdam, Rome is one of the most English speaking European cities (where English is not the primary language). You and your fiance will be just fine. Do learn a few basic phases, however.
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Old Feb 14th, 2005, 07:49 AM
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We have been to italy numerous times and speak about 25 words of itlaian between us. However, spanish (we both had the very rusty high school variety) is close enough that you can figure out basics - reading - and if people speak slowly - and can even make yourself understood if necessary - about basic things - and understand most of what's on TV - if you happen to run into people who don;t speak some english. (However, you will not be able to discuss philosopy or brain surgery.)

(My beau got a cold and we wanted to stock up on OJ - and had no trouble doing so in a neighborhood grocery where no one spoke english - even getting thier help on the pulp vs no pulp variety.)
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Old Feb 14th, 2005, 08:31 AM
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I spent a semester in London and went to several non-English speaking countries while I was there. I took high school French but had no knowledge of any other European languages, but I made out just fine. I made a list of some basic phrases and kept them with me, but almost everyone I encountered knew at least some English...but then, I only went to touristy areas. I'm going to Tuscany in the fall so I'm going to have to brush up on my Italian I'll be in a more remote area and I'm guessing a lot of people won't know English. In Rome you should be fine though!
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