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Survive in Europe speaking and reading only English?

Survive in Europe speaking and reading only English?

Old Jan 14th, 2001, 06:55 PM
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Survive in Europe speaking and reading only English?

My wife and I are planning our first trip to Europe in May of 2002 and one of my biggest fears is being able to communicate and being able to read things such as train schedules, particulary in Paris and Rome. What about being able to read a menu in certain restaurants? Is this a justifiable fear or can you survive knowing a few key words and phrases?
Old Jan 14th, 2001, 07:04 PM
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Have no fear, most signs are also in English and you will figure it all out quickly. Menus are often times in English or you can figure out what they are saying. I think it makes the trip much more fun it you try to pick up a few phrases for each country you will be in. In the big cities you will always find someone next to you that speaks Engish so you will have no problem.
Old Jan 14th, 2001, 07:09 PM
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Dear Fred, Yes, you can survive in Europe speaking only English. English is,today,the "French" of yesterday.Business is done in English...Most large cities ,such as Paris or Rome,have Hoteland restaurant staff that speak English well.
It wooould be agood idea to have the small books of phrases with you..they are helpful in reading menus...etc.
People are very patient and kind when you at least TRY to speak ...But the "Please" and "Thank you " go a long way.
"How much" and "where is" are also helpful..Have a great trip! Nancy
Old Jan 14th, 2001, 07:16 PM
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I don't know if there are versions for other than Paris, but the oft-recommended, and quite useful "Cheap Eats" book(s) includes a glossary of translated terms at the end.

And by all means! - do practice up on your good days and thank yous, and one or two other terms if you can manage, and employ them in each country. But after that....Relax. And do not let intimidation spoil your anticipation or enjoyment. It will all work out...you CAN get by...and you WILL have a wonderful time!
Old Jan 14th, 2001, 07:51 PM
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See "experience survey - where you did or did not need to know the language" when i topped for you.
Old Jan 15th, 2001, 12:11 AM
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First, you have quite a time to pick up few words before the trip.

If you are going to major tourist destinations, most people will speak English. However, DO NOT demand that they speak English nor assume that they speak English right off the start of the conversation nor assume that they do not understand English well. You'll be asking for a rude treatment if you do. You would probably hate it if a stranger tells you what to do, neither do the Europeans.
Old Jan 15th, 2001, 02:48 AM
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Restaurants can be a prob.
Most phrasebooks have a menu reader - get one with a big menu section & have it open at that page discreetly in the restaurant.
Apart from this you can get by on what you learn on the plane.
Tip : numbers are useful.The easy way to learn is to play this game when in a cafe or on a train - say a number, your partner has to say it back in French.
If correct then its your turn to translate.You'll find you learn fast.
The local terms for please, thank you & excuse me combined with a pleasant and patient manner will get you anything anywhere.
Inability to be polite may result in
rude replies.Whether in a shop or a ticket office, start by smiling and saying hello, don't launch into "could you give me..."
Old Jan 15th, 2001, 03:22 AM
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My wife and I lived in France for a couple of years and had a good amount of French language training prior to departure. Over time we came to be fluent, but with all due respect to those that have already posted here, I have to say that it was extremely intimidating the first 6 months or so. I have to sympathize, therefore, with any tourist who gets "sheep-dipped" in the culture for a week or so.
I suggest you not try to learn any phrases beyond s'l vous plait and merci. The small guide books that give phonetic spellings of key phrases would be as far as I'd go and think it might be of any use.
You'll be using the Metro a lot because it is so fast, so cheap, and so easy to use. One bit of advice for you that will pay off is that to get your tickets, enter from the street until you come to the point where the turnstiles. Look around you and find the man/woman behind the glass selling tickets. Get in line and when it's your turn ask for a book of 10 tickets. Put a thumb in the air (means "one") and say "Un car-nay" (one book of tickets). He will give you 10 tickets for the metro. That's golden!

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