language question for austria and italy?

May 15th, 2004, 05:19 AM
  #1  
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language question for austria and italy?

We are curious if we will have a problem communicating in these countries.Is english spoken in Austria & Italy?
Thanks,
Shannon
srhughes is offline  
May 15th, 2004, 06:30 AM
  #2  
 
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We've never had a problem communicating in English in Austria. Likewise, we've never had a problem understanding highway signs there, which are based on an international standard with both words and images. Their understanding of our speaking place names sometimes has been confused due to our mispronounciation, but we've succeeded after repeated attempts.
dertravelmeister is offline  
May 15th, 2004, 06:34 AM
  #3  
 
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English is spoken widely everywhere in europe - and almost universally in some places. That said - is it perfectly possible to encounter individuals - expecially older folks - who have no english at all. But it would be extremely rare to be in any tourist location where english is not spoken.

Unlike in the US where language study is widely ignored in most of europe english is reuired study - often from the 3/4th grade on.
nytraveler is offline  
May 15th, 2004, 06:36 AM
  #4  
 
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Sorry - don;t want to give the wrong impression - many mnay of these people will have basic engish - not able to discuss nuclear physics or great literature - but plenty to allow you to buy something or get a meal.
nytraveler is offline  
May 15th, 2004, 07:31 AM
  #5  
rex
 
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You won't have travel difficulties for lack of learning German and Italian, but you will deprive yourself of a lot of enjoyment if you aren't prepared to learn a lot while you are there. When are you leaving? How long are you in each country?

You might do best to put more effort into learning more of one language than the other. For the "lesser" (second foreign) language, make a list of 25-50 words/phrases and try to familirize yourself with how they look, but mostly just cram 24-48 hours before you reach that country.

For the "principal" (first foreign) language, you can learn 10 words a day. It's a matter of positive attitude. Do you leave in 50 days or more? 500 words would be great. Today would be an excellent day to start.

Buon viaggi... and Gute Reise!

Best wishes,

Rex
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May 15th, 2004, 07:32 AM
  #6  
ira
 
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Hi sr,

You will get along without knowing German or Italian, but it will enhance your visit if you learn some key phrases,

Hello, please, thank you, the names of the days of the week, numbers up to 10, where is the toilet?
ira is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 05:29 PM
  #7  
 
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I can't emphasize enough how much I feel it adds to the cultural enjoyment of a trip if you try to communicate in the language of the country you're visiting. OF COURSE the restaurants and hotels that cater to Americans will accommodate you by speaking English. But travel is so much more! If nothing else listen to some good language tapes (I recommend the Pimsleur series) for some "survival phrases.

The most memorable interactions from trips I've made in the past are from trying to speak with small-town Italians while on the train together, speaking to a high school student serving me in a bar somewhere outside Arcos de la Frontera in Spain's White Villages (he was really fascinated that I traveled alone from the USA to Spain), being able to say "Scuzi" to a waiter in Venice after knocking a bottle of H2O off a table with my backpack, trying to get a cop to help me find a taxi in Rome, etc. Especially when asking for help or apologizing for things like knocking over water...you want to try to communicate in your host's language, and avoid being the UGLY AMERICAN!!

Bon voyage!
jcohe2t is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 05:36 PM
  #8  
 
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Previous advice is excellent. Do not expect to speak English. Would you expect Austrian and Italian visitors to wherever you live to be greeted by German- and Italian-speaking natives?

Learn at least some basic phrases. It's not hard. There are people in some European countries who traditionally learn a half-dozen foreign languages so as to deal with commercial and tourism matters. Surely an American can learn some basic phrases in a couple of other languages.

Above all, be polite. Don't do that awful thing that some tourists do, which is to shout louder and louder in English, assuming that will get your message across better. Use gestures, pictures, whatever it takes, but be polite and leave a good impression.

Have a great trip.
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