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View Poll Results: How important is English when you travel as a tourist?
Extremely importat 5 11.90%
Important 10 23.81%
Somewhat important 11 26.19%
Not important 16 38.10%
Voters: 42. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-04-2014, 05:43 AM
 
Location: Hong Kong / Vienna
4,557 posts, read 4,820,696 times
Reputation: 3895

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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Postman View Post
I've never met anyone who criticised others for not speaking English. Perhaps they're the more cosseted types who tend to think Paris is a huge cultural shock (although it still can be different for sure).
I did once in Spain... Out of sheer frustration... We wanted to buy a ticket to Portugal in Madrid at the "International Ticket Desk" and the guy working there was neither understanding our broken Spanish nor English... After trying to write down what we want, he just ignored us and served the crowd behind us...

That was an exception, though...
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Old 04-04-2014, 05:43 AM
 
Location: London, UK
3,384 posts, read 3,776,540 times
Reputation: 2521
I would be lying if I said that being able to speak in English when traveling occasionally is not appreciated. It is always easier to get by in your mother tongue when overseas. With that said I also love the challenge of traveling to a destination and attempting to at least learn a few phrases and words in advance to get through certain situations like ordering food at a restaurant. I also speak fluent Spanish, so I can at least fumble my way through French, Portuguese and Italian.

At times when traveling I even find that hearing too much English is kind of a let down for me, as I speak English daily and live in an English speaking area. The point of traveling is to escape your comfort zone for a period of time and being surrounded with people you are accustomed to on a daily basis kind of defeats the purpose in my mind.
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Old 04-04-2014, 06:05 AM
 
Location: Bremerhaven, NW Germany
2,723 posts, read 2,164,772 times
Reputation: 905
Since i haven't been outside of Europe yet it is not much of a problem for me, most people speak either English or German (or both) where i had been.
I had only some difficulties with English when i was in France, here it was better to switch to my basic French knowledge which is just passable enough to hold a basic conversation. But this was about 10 years ago, so this might have changed in the past years.

I imagine it could be only be somewhat difficult in non touristic areas, where people only master their own language and have only little knowledge of English or German. But then you could still use your hands and feet here to make yourself understandable.
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Old 04-04-2014, 06:42 AM
 
1,561 posts, read 1,367,897 times
Reputation: 1952
Very useful.
By speaking French and English and a dab of German I could get by the whole Europe.
Nonetheless, it's undeniable that English is extremely useful.
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Old 04-04-2014, 08:46 AM
 
Location: Europe
1,618 posts, read 2,634,787 times
Reputation: 1083
It is useful but usually not my first option, unless I am in places where the local language is very unknown or strange. In those small countries with small language is more useful.
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Old 04-04-2014, 10:37 AM
 
Location: North West Northern Ireland.
20,695 posts, read 18,589,067 times
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Very very important.

I don't like visiting countries that don't speak English.
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Old 04-04-2014, 10:38 AM
 
Location: North West Northern Ireland.
20,695 posts, read 18,589,067 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viribusunitis View Post
Depends on the circumstances. In most European countries I don't really have a problem, if waiters in restaurants don't speak English. I know enough French, Italian, Swedish and Spanish culinary terms to have a vague idea of what I'm eating in those countries and when visiting our "Eastern" neighbors chances are that their German is better than their English.

It gets trickier when you can't read the script the language is written in. Frustrating when people are not cooperative. Still not that bad in smaller establishments in China and Korea since the restaurants only have a very limited menu anyway.
English isn't your language...
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Old 04-04-2014, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Hong Kong / Vienna
4,557 posts, read 4,820,696 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac15 View Post
English isn't your language...
So what? I learned English exactly for that reason: To be able to communicate abroad...
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Old 04-04-2014, 10:54 AM
 
Location: Europe
1,618 posts, read 2,634,787 times
Reputation: 1083
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac15 View Post
Very very important.

I don't like visiting countries that don't speak English.
You should be more positive about it because you know that in many countries people are not fluent in English, they don't have to do it either.

Most of monolingual English speakers think in that way, it's paradojic. I dont know if it is your situation.
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Old 04-04-2014, 12:25 PM
 
Location: Viña del Mar, Chile
16,416 posts, read 25,212,743 times
Reputation: 16464
I'm not a big fan of going to a place that I don't speak the language. I did India, but I was with a girlfriend who spoke Marathi and Hindi.

I much prefer Latin America. I'll go to China when I get my Chinese down.
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