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Subject: For those of you that are German. rss

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Ryan Tullis
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I'm an English Native (with German heritage) who was thinking about picking up German as a language. The downside is, I've heard most Germans can speak proficient-fluent English. When I tried listening to German radio, I was disappointed to find that the songs on at the time were in English, as well!

Anyway, would you dispel the stereotype that most Germans speak solid English, or would you say that its an accurate assessment?

Thank you! I appreciate your insider knowledge.
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Peter Brichs
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Tryken wrote:
I'm an English Native (with German heritage) who was thinking about picking up German as a language. The downside is, I've heard most Germans can speak proficient-fluent English. When I tried listening to German radio, I was disappointed to find that the songs on at the time were in English, as well!

Anyway, would you dispel the stereotype that most Germans speak solid English, or would you say that its an accurate assessment?

Thank you! I appreciate your insider knowledge.



As a visitor to Germany, I find that my lackluster German skills get me understood much more than my English skills. Of course, there's a certain percentage of German people that can speak near perfect English, but more often than not, you get glazed looks and scared expressions when attempting an English conversation.
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Scott A. Reed
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As an English-speaking native, learning German can give you further insights into the structure and grammar of your own language, and can provide you will valuable skills that are useful when playing games (particularly that you can look at the publisher / designer's original rules rather than the English translation). I studied German in high school and college, and I really enjoyed the rather precise regimented structure that is present in High / Formal German.
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Matt Riddle
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I visited there and had no language issues. soooo much english spoken everywhere.
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Tom McPhee
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I have visited Germany quite a lot, mostly Berlin where English tends to be very well spoken. I love the german language (even though it drives me mad sometimes) and try to speak it as best I can when I am there. I will not be getting involved in lengthy debates in german about existentialist philosophy anytime soon, but I can make myself understood and if I woke up there tomorrow could get myself around easily enough. I've also found that outside of Berlin English is not that particularly widely spoken although those who do speak it, do it well.

Learning German opens up a fascinating rich culture to you that at times is tragic and other times frustrating, but always amazing.
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Michael
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It of course all depends on your definitions of "most" and "solid" but I´ll try to give you a rough overview.

Practically everybody under the age of 40 to 50 (and many of those older than that) will have learned some English in school. Many of course forget what they have learned or never learned it too well. Still there is a fairly sizeable proportion of the population who will be able to hold a decent conversation in English, especially among academic types, of course.

Non-academics (unless particular to the English language for some personal reason) might be able to sell you a beer and give you directions but usually that will be about it. Simple conversations and small talk should be possible, too.

I´d say it depends on your motivations to pick up another language. If you just want to occupy yourself with a bit of your heritage and you enjoy the linguistic challenge I see no reason not to do it. If it is for professional reasons I´d say a different language might serve you better as most Germans you might meet for business will be speaking English quite well already (and we usually enjoy to show it off, so no problems there).
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Zopper Alf
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Oh wait, wrong topic

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the one and only
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Brichs wrote:
Tryken wrote:
I'm an English Native (with German heritage) who was thinking about picking up German as a language. The downside is, I've heard most Germans can speak proficient-fluent English. When I tried listening to German radio, I was disappointed to find that the songs on at the time were in English, as well!

Anyway, would you dispel the stereotype that most Germans speak solid English, or would you say that its an accurate assessment?

Thank you! I appreciate your insider knowledge.



As a visitor to Germany, I find that my lackluster German skills get me understood much more than my English skills. Of course, there's a certain percentage of German people that can speak near perfect English, but more often than not, you get glazed looks and scared expressions when attempting an English conversation.


Yeah, can happen and depends on age and education. In general English is the 1st foreign language you'll learn at school (from 5th to 10th grate at least). So most Germans (if not too old (make it 60+) should be able to speak some English and you shouldn't have a hard time in Germany. Most are only too shy to use it, I think.
Regarding music you're right, it's mostly in English. TV on the other hand is (with little exceptions) completely in German as every foreign movie will be dubbed.
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the one and only
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oldsin wrote:
It of course all depends on your definitions of "most" and "solid" but I´ll try to give you a rough overview.

Practically everybody under the age of 40 to 50 (and many of those older than that) will have learned some English in school. Many of course forget what they have learned or never learned it too well. Still there is a fairly sizeable proportion of the population who will be able to hold a decent conversation in English, especially among academic types, of course.

Non-academics (unless particular to the English language for some personal reason) might be able to sell you a beer and give you directions but usually that will be about it. Simple conversations and small talk should be possible, too.

I´d say it depends on your motivations to pick up another language. If you just want to occupy yourself with a bit of your heritage and you enjoy the linguistic challenge I see no reason not to do it. If it is for professional reasons I´d say a different language might serve you better as most Germans you might meet for business will be speaking English quite well already (and we usually enjoy to show it off, so no problems there).


Took me too long to answer, and then my browser didn't react in time.
on the bold one: true
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Tom McPhee
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I find that speaking even the poor German I speak instantly earns you kudos with the natives. I've seen surly service staff (and in Germany that's the default setting for service staff) warm up immensely the minute I have bestellt in German! I have come across ex patriots there who still only speak one or two words after several years and frankly I find that rude. I would seriously love to live in germany and probably would migrate there tomorrow if I was happy enough to forgo my training in my field and take on work unrelated to it there. Sadly to be a psychiatrist it really is vital that I speak the language of the majority of my patients fluently and with an eye and ear to their linguistic cultural heritage. (As a wee example- the verb 'to greet' which I hear often, means, in scots, 'to cry')

If I do have to resort to English it can be a mild effort of will on my part, switching from my hybrid Scots/English which is richer in idiom and accent than I ever realised to speaking in the queens english that german students learn at school.
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Simon Trimby
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I started learning German when I met my German girlfriend (now wife) five years ago. I still can't claim to 'speak German' even though I know lots of words. If you want to learn the language but aren't surrounded by it it'll take you a fair bit of hard work. But you may find you really enjoy it, and as another poster said it can also teach you a lot about your own language, since English & German have the same roots.

The number of English speakers you meet in Germany will certainly depend on where you are. A Berlin cafe will doubtless have several English speaking staff, but a small country one won't necessarily. And making the effort to speak in the local language always goes down well. I think being born a native English speaker is too easy these days; there's no impetus to learn anything else, you can travel the world and get by with English, but miss so much by doing so.

It also helps you win at Eurogames if you have a German copy and you're the only one who can read the rules whistle

Viel Gluck mit der deutschen Sprache!

Simon
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RoyN
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I once met a native of this island and asked him, "Does 'Bal' mean yes?" He replied, "Bal."
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oldsin wrote:
might be able to sell you a beer

"Hier ist Bier!"

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