How prevalent is spoken English?

Old May 2nd, 2000, 02:13 PM
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How prevalent is spoken English?

A few years ago we took a trip to Italy with only a couple of weeks reviewing Italian. Our travel agent had told us that there would be English speaking persons in the major city train stations. My first encounter (in Rome) this was not the case. Did well though except in a couple of out-of-the-way places. Now to my question --- how will it be in Spain?
Old May 2nd, 2000, 04:31 PM
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Best you brush up on basic Spanish. If anything, education levels in Spain are lower than in Italy. You may have luck in running into a younger person who speaks English. Otherwise, if your experience is like ours, not many Spanish speak English. Luckily, I am bilingual and my Mexican Spanish sailed us through most problems. But not always. Some words and much pronunciation are different. Aprende ud. palabras sencillas.
Old May 2nd, 2000, 06:00 PM
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Al is right. Unless you're sticking to the major cities, you'd better learn some basic spanish. Some experiences over the course of 2 trips: a train station in Segovia attended by 2 individuals who did not speak one word of English; ticket sales people at the Alhambra who did not speak one word of English; many many restaurants where there was no one who spoke English (although they would frequently have a small booklet showing the English/French/German words for menu items and were always, without exception, very pleasant and interested in trying to get us what we wanted; small town grocery stores where no one spoke English; gas station attendants where no one spoke English. This is NOT a complaint, mind you. I just think you should be aware that you'd be much better off, really enjoy the people and savor the experience if you could exchange a few basic phrases. I took an adult ed course for 8 weeks before we left and also used a computer software program for several months. It helped a lot. Good luck.
Old May 2nd, 2000, 06:15 PM
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Thanks Al & Gail. Your feedback tells me exactly what I need to know. I did not mention that I am currently taking Italian and love it. Maybe we will go to Italy again this year and save Spain for next year, after I have had an opportunity to study Spanish. Best wishes.
Old May 3rd, 2000, 03:47 AM
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Your travel agent has led you astray - the least likely English speakers are ticket clerks in bus/railway stations!(especially in Spain)
Usually its no prob to learn your request off by heart & parrot it at the window, the problem comes if the clerk asks a question.
The linguistically challenged should remember that they can usually buy the same tickets in a travel agents,even for relatively short trips,where English is almost always spoken.
Old May 9th, 2000, 06:52 PM
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I totally agree with the above postings. I visited Spain a year ago. The first thing I bought was an English-Spanish dictionary. I knew that not many people speak English in Spain, but more so that I expected.

I love Spain. People, especially in smaller cities, are very nice. I wish I could speak the language. I will take Spain and visit there again.


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