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      11-05-2013, 06:35 PM   #21
Arben72
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Drives: E92 M3
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Illinois

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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingOfJericho
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arben72 View Post
If you want to look like an idiot sure speak the 5 words in Italian that you know to the hotel clerk. Really the only time you need to know the native language is when your in a small towns off the beaten path. Most people in cities have been taught enough English to do their jobs. Really Italy is the only country in Western Europe that doesn't have the best knowledge of English but 80% of the time you'll be ok. Btw I have a house in Europe and a car there, I'm probably traveling around for about 3 months out of the year and I still think Italy is meh.
Do you care to share where this house and car are located?

A big part of the fun of travel, to me, is getting off the beaten path and living like they do in the country you're visiting. Sure, you can definitely go to a museum or into the Colosseum or the Vatican, but driving into most smaller cities, you encounter very few people who speak conversational English. At most they speak a peppering of words. I studied up for 5 days and brought a little cheat sheet with me as I travelled around and found that most of their faces lit up when I tried to speak the language. It put us on common ground and made them less embarrassed about their terrible English and me less so about my shit Italian.

I'm surprised that your attitude hasn't bit you in the butt in places like France where they definitely don't take kindly to you making no effort to speak the language. My wife was there twice and was shocked by how rude they were to her when she did not speak French (her trip was last minute for work) and she also had a cab driver take her on a half hour rip-off ride around Paris, knowing she didn't know where she was.

If I wanted to go on vacation and speak English, I'd go to England. It's your responsibility as a visitor to make some type of effort in much the same way foreigners try to speak English when they come here. I have several aunts/uncles/cousins in the Netherlands who speak absolutely zero English and a couple who are fluent - it depends what they took in school. I do think it is arrogant to expect all restaurant staff to speak English in a foreign country. While many/most do, to expect it is not right.
Apartment in Lucerne house in Macedonia. Cars with the house. Your right, once you go off the beaten path you should know the basics or have a translator on your phone that doesn't require internet (consider this a good tip). That said English is the most common second language in Europe so it's ok to assume that the person your trying to talk to understands it, just be nice and not rude. Too many times I see Americans yelling at the guy they're trying to communicate with and that causes issues. I'm guessing this is your point your trying to get across, and I agree, but I also see people trying to go to places that they know people can speak English but they try ( usually terribly) to speak the native tongue and just slow down the whole process (say a tour or ordering food) so usually the native just replies in perfect English to make it stop. Sadly some people don't take the hint...