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Old 02-21-20, 02:57 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
If you continue down the Danube into Hungary, make sure you bring along this phrasebook:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grA5XmBRC6g
we are going to Budapest.
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Old 02-21-20, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by NomarsGirl View Post
we are going to Budapest.
I did a week long bike trip through REI travel, Prague to Budapest. They took care of all the lodging and most meals. One of our group congratulated our guide at being fluent at so many languages, he explained he could not speak Hungarian, but that he could speak German and most of the Hungarians that he met could understand German well enough for him to get by. But he did explain that Hungarian language has similarities to Finnish.
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Old 02-21-20, 08:36 PM
  #28  
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frau nomars,
baby steps, baby steps.
Its like becoming a stronger rider, you gotta put the hours in the saddle, there aint no quick solution.

but hey, putting some effort into learning some German already is a big help and is always appreciated by people when they see you are making an effort to speak their language.
so just keep plugging away at it. thats all you can do.
alles gute (good luck I think, one of the very few phrases I know)
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Old 02-21-20, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I did a week long bike trip through REI travel, Prague to Budapest. They took care of all the lodging and most meals. One of our group congratulated our guide at being fluent at so many languages, he explained he could not speak Hungarian, but that he could speak German and most of the Hungarians that he met could understand German well enough for him to get by. But he did explain that Hungarian language has similarities to Finnish.
I am a native Dutch speaker.

I have what I call my "fake German" - that mostly consists of trying a mixture of the few German words I know, Dutch words with German accents and English words with German accents. I am always surprised at well it seems to work in communication in Germany. I'm sure they laugh at me, but do seem to understand what I am saying.

However, one of my more spectacular language fails came in northern Poland. In this area I believe Polish was the most predominant language, with German a strong second and English/Russian varying a bit more depending on age.
- My fake German really didn't work here
- English was a distant language not spoken by as many people I met in the countryside (perhaps more today but this was 2007)
- I had studied Russian but not quite enough to get by
- I hadn't picked up much Polish prior to coming since I was only going to be in Poland for ~5 days
It was an interesting struggle, but I did muddle my way through things.
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Old 02-21-20, 09:35 PM
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It is worthwhile learning the language. How much you learn depends on how long you will stay in a place, and if you are likely to return. You can make a lot of friends if you speak the language.
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Old 02-21-20, 10:08 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by zweitesmal2 View Post
I'm struggling with Duo Lingo also (French). I'll be in rural France this summer and it doesn't look like I'll be moving past the phrase "I don't understand". I will say, based on some time I spent in Greece (where I used a handwritten cheat sheet) that numbers (quantities) and time (today, tomorrow etc.) are helpful. Please, sorry and thank you are the most important words to use. Have a wonderful trip!
we'went to france last fall. Not many English speakers in the rural areas. We were in Normandy, Brittany and the Loire Valley. Paris was easy.
I am fluent in French. That wasimportant in our little B&B in Brittany. The hosts didn't speak English nor did the other guests.

Last edited by NomarsGirl; 02-21-20 at 11:17 PM.
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Old 02-21-20, 10:50 PM
  #32  
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My wife and I spent a total of seven months during 3 bike tours in Europe. We rode trough 10 countries, and got by well with just the basics: hello, good morning, good afternoon, please and thanks. My wife knows Spanish, and it helped in Portugal and Spain. My wife taught me to ask for "mas agua caliente por favor" because I did not like expresso or the small strong cups of coffee. Often the reply in English would be "oh, you want an Americano". When you are going to ride through 5-6 countries, most people don't expect you to learn more than the basic courtesies. If you have the time and incination to learn a language, it would add another facet to your trip. However, not learning a language won't detract from it. Not knowing each others' languages may even add a little to the venture.

The bike route following the Danube River, Eurovelo Rute 6, is the most popular bike route in Europe. I suspect that most people you meet will know some English. My perception is that English is like the universal language.

We needed directions to a campground in Portugal, and this woman just drew us a map.


A Portugues father sent his young daughter over to practice her English on my wife.


We were near the Swiss/ German border and this man did not know English and we did not know German. Unable to understand his directions, he just jestered and said the equivalent of "follow me". He led us, plus a man and his two young sons, to the campground. The word "camping" or a similar word is common in many countries. It always worked out, and we got to meet a lot of wonderful people along the way.


We've given out dozens of these cards to people who have helped us. Even if they don't understand Engish, they understand this.



My wife giving one of our "Angels of the Road" cards to Claude. He led my wife, our 2 daughters, and me most of the way from CDG Airport into downtown Paris. It was an exciting ride

Last edited by Doug64; 02-22-20 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 02-21-20, 11:14 PM
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I'm really going tohave find to find away to work the cows have flies into a conversation.
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Old 02-21-20, 11:47 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by NomarsGirl View Post
I'm really going tohave find to find away to work the cows have flies into a conversation.
I think it might actually work as a good answer to: ”Where are you from?”... ”Oh, I’m from where the cows have flies!”

I had to look... 😂

https://www.google.se/amp/s/forum.du...liegen%3famp=1

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Old 02-22-20, 05:08 AM
  #35  
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Do you get news in different languages on TV? On one of our channels, we got news in all sorts of different languages, including German, from 6 am to noon on Saturdays and maybe some other days as well.

If you do, spend an hour or so each week watching the news in German while continuing to do Duolingo several times a day. The thing with watching the news is that if you watch the news in English too, you'll have an idea what the news story is so you can pick up some of the German words. It also helps to hear it constantly spoken for an hour or so.

Before our trips to France, I used to turn on the French channel and watch it a few hours here and a few hours there.
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Old 02-22-20, 06:56 AM
  #36  
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When preparing for trips to Sweden and Italy I've tried Duolingo, Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur. Pimsleur is the only one that worked for me. After about a week on DuoLingo I could say "my cat ate the window on your table". Rosetta Stone was not effective for me as it was emmersion and I would look at a picture and wonder what part of the content I was supposed to pay attention to. Us engineers are a PIA to teach.

Pimsleur, however, scratched the itch: I wanted to be able to start every conversation in the native language, be civil and courteous then admit that I did not speak their language well and did they or someone speak English. And I wanted to say "thank you VERY much" a lot. That's was Pimsleur's approach too. And their degree of new words and repeating of previously taught words was just right. For me there is some gap between taught and learned so repetition and reuse of words and phrases is needed. Pimsleur CDs were very effective for both svenska and l'italiano. I'll use them again when I learn German.
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Old 02-22-20, 07:07 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Do you get news in different languages on TV? On one of our channels, we got news in all sorts of different languages, including German, from 6 am to noon on Saturdays and maybe some other days as well.

If you do, spend an hour or so each week watching the news in German while continuing to do Duolingo several times a day. The thing with watching the news is that if you watch the news in English too, you'll have an idea what the news story is so you can pick up some of the German words. It also helps to hear it constantly spoken for an hour or so.

Before our trips to France, I used to turn on the French channel and watch it a few hours here and a few hours there.
this is a very good suggestion. Getting your ear and brain more used to a given language is a big step, so forcing yourself to hear German in combination with getting some basic vocabulary will really help.
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Old 02-22-20, 08:29 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by NomarsGirl View Post
I'm really going tohave find to find away to work the cows have flies into a conversation.
I had German in school and for some reason I had to learn the German word for the planting/plantation of young pine trees. I've been waiting for an opportunity to use that word in a conversation for very long now.
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Old 02-22-20, 08:32 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
... I suspect that most people you meet will know some English. My perception is that English is like the universal language.
...
A couple years ago I was reading an article in a financial news site that was suggesting that English has become a universal language. I recall an example was the number of charities that taught in schools in Africa, thus a lot of people in Africa could understand English. Thus, two Africans from different tribes that spoke in different dialects that had never been more than a couple hundred km from their home often could communicate in English.

My bike trips in continental Europe were only a week long, I did not take time to learn languages there, one of those trips would have been two languages, one trip three languages. But I found that rural areas were the only areas where I could not communicate. Urban areas, the people I met if they did not know English, I could point at the photo of the meal I wanted, etc.

My month in Iceland, there were a couple of visitors from continental Europe that I met in campgrounds that I had trouble communicating with, but almost everyone else that I met, whether it was Icelanders or tourists had passable English.
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Old 02-22-20, 09:22 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by NomarsGirl View Post
Hubby an I are plannin g to go on a bike and boat tour of the Danube region in September. I thought i should try to learn a little German. For travel, usually you need phrses like "Good morning" '2 Beers please" 'how much is that doggy in the window?" and" When is the next train to Munich?' Where is the bathroom?

After a day on Duolingo --What did I learn? 'We are women and they are girls.I am a woman and you are a man.And my personal favorite that I'm sure will come up in conversation daily "The cows have flies".
From Google Translate, "How much is that doggy in the window?" = "Wie viel kostet das Hündchen im Fenster?"

Another good one is "Please give me the food menu." = Bitte geben Sie mir die Speisekarte.

For the beer, since I like Pilsners, "Zwei Pils, bitte!" It gets you the local stuff. So does "Zwei Helles, bitte!" Helles is not quite the same as Pilsner, but after a hot day hiking Muenchen or Vienna (=Wien) and the museums while on vacations, the difference is not noticeable. BTW, "hell" means bright or light, referring to the color of the beer.
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Old 02-22-20, 09:40 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
A couple years ago I was reading an article in a financial news site that was suggesting that English has become a universal language. I recall an example was the number of charities that taught in schools in Africa, thus a lot of people in Africa could understand English. Thus, two Africans from different tribes that spoke in different dialects that had never been more than a couple hundred km from their home often could communicate in English.
In Belgium the younger generation often speaks English to their compatriots because speaking French or Dutch between Walloons and Flemish is very political. Now the Walloons learn to speak English too it is the neutral language so they can avoid the politics of the situation and the imbalance of one speaking his native language and the other bothering much more to speak French (the Walloons are usually not speaking much Dutch).

But things like that don't make English into an universal language. The difference between a common language, some sort of lingua franca or bridge language and a universal language might become a trap for anglophones who aren't aware of that difference. By learning a few words and expressions like TS you're showing that awareness and that's usually appreciated. Not everyone who doesn't speak English is an uneducated peasant, and people who are proficient in English might see it as the product of beeing well educated or had to study hard for it. Taking it for granted might come across as rude, arrogant and even imperialistic. The've made the effort to learn a foreign language for themselves and do you the courtesy and make the effort of speaking to you in your language, not in a common language you both share and you both have to make the extra effort for. That's why it's a good idea to show at least some effort to say good morning and thank you and for example learn how to aks if they speak English in their own language.

My bike trips in continental Europe were only a week long, I did not take time to learn languages there, one of those trips would have been two languages, one trip three languages. But I found that rural areas were the only areas where I could not communicate. Urban areas, the people I met if they did not know English, I could point at the photo of the meal I wanted, etc.

My month in Iceland, there were a couple of visitors from continental Europe that I met in campgrounds that I had trouble communicating with, but almost everyone else that I met, whether it was Icelanders or tourists had passable English.
Travellers are always more proficient in English, but in Spain, Italy, France there are lots of people who might know a few words but just don't speak English. They tend to learn eachother's languages more easily, while the people in the area's with the Germanic languages have a long tradition of learning English in schools. Usually the language of the bordering country isn't hat different, unless it's Hungarian. Any neighbour is completely at the mercy of Hungarians speaking a foreign language, because nothing has any simularity to a language you might know that's not Finnish, and even Fins have no practical benefit from them beeing in the same language family.
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Old 02-22-20, 10:00 AM
  #42  
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Having a few phrases on the tip of one's tongue is not the same as knowing a language.

There are no substitutes for time and effort when trying to learn a new language. There is a whole lot of learning going on; your brain has to change on the neural level. Count on weeks or months before you are able to have even very basic conversations.
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Old 02-22-20, 11:46 AM
  #43  
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There is a website called conversationexchange.com that lets you contact people who want to speak your language and will help you speak theirs. I have used it extensively to find native Italian speakers who want to learn English.

I, too, listened to Pimsler's audio courses and found them somewhat useful. I also read grammar books to figure out the structure of Italian, which is wholly different than English. But, having a native speaker correct my pronunciation and explain finer details of the language is the best way to gain insight and depth in another language.
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Old 02-22-20, 12:03 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Stadjer View Post

. . . . . .But things like that don't make English into an universal language. The difference between a common language, some sort of lingua franca or bridge language and a universal language might become a trap for anglophones who aren't aware of that difference. By learning a few words and expressions like TS you're showing that awareness and that's usually appreciated. Not everyone who doesn't speak English is an uneducated peasant, and people who are proficient in English might see it as the product of beeing well educated or had to study hard for it. Taking it for granted might come across as rude, arrogant and even imperialistic. The've made the effort to learn a foreign language for themselves and do you the courtesy and make the effort of speaking to you in your language, not in a common language you both share and you both have to make the extra effort for. That's why it's a good idea to show at least some effort to say good morning and thank you and for example learn how to aks if they speak English in their own language. . . . .
That was my mistake. You are correct; I should have used the word "common" not "universal".
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Old 02-22-20, 01:17 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
That was my mistake. You are correct; I should have used the word "common" not "universal".
I didn't mean to nitpick about words, and there is no language more universal than English right now. I was just trying to point out that awareness of what the English languae is to the other and showing that awareness ,by having learned a few words for example, can help (friendly) communication a lot. There's often more to it than just beeing able to speak English or not. You seem well aware enough . In France just starting a conversation in English is often seen as rude for example, but that might be different for Americans. I once made the mistake of thinking I was in the French speaking part of Belgium when I was still in Flanders, and had the audacity to ask a question in French, right at the frontline of their language battle. That ended up in a half hour long heated debate with a Flemish nationalist.
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Old 02-22-20, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by NomarsGirl View Post
that's why Europeans don't like Americans. I better learn "he's not MY president ."
But he is, whether you like him or not.
Best to just avoid politics. As my buddy says, " We don't talk politics. We talk about the weather, we talk about how beautiful the scenery is and how friendly the people are."
That seems to work everywhere.
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Old 02-22-20, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Stadjer View Post
I didn't mean to nitpick about words, and there is no language more universal than English right now. I was just trying to point out that awareness of what the English languae is to the other and showing that awareness ,by having learned a few words for example, can help (friendly) communication a lot. There's often more to it than just beeing able to speak English or not. You seem well aware enough . In France just starting a conversation in English is often seen as rude for example, but that might be different for Americans. I once made the mistake of thinking I was in the French speaking part of Belgium when I was still in Flanders, and had the audacity to ask a question in French, right at the frontline of their language battle. That ended up in a half hour long heated debate with a Flemish nationalist.
English is on the way out. Mandarin will be the "world language" for the next generation. If you are under 50 start studying now. I am.
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Old 02-22-20, 02:35 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by Stadjer View Post
I didn't mean to nitpick about words, and there is no language more universal than English right now. I was just trying to point out that awareness of what the English languae is to the other and showing that awareness ,by having learned a few words for example, can help (friendly) communication a lot. There's often more to it than just beeing able to speak English or not. You seem well aware enough . In France just starting a conversation in English is often seen as rude for example, but that might be different for Americans. I once made the mistake of thinking I was in the French speaking part of Belgium when I was still in Flanders, and had the audacity to ask a question in French, right at the frontline of their language battle. That ended up in a half hour long heated debate with a Flemish nationalist.
I did not think you were nitpicking; words are important.
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Old 02-22-20, 03:00 PM
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When I bike-toured in Greece, I learned about 20 phrases in Greek, or fewer. Mostly stuff like "where can I put my bike?" They were so impressed that I was trying, even though I basically couldn't communicate at all.

By contrast, I had several years of instruction in French, and they were typically very unimpressed, and would answer me in nearly perfect English.
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Old 02-22-20, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by willibrord View Post
English is on the way out. Mandarin will be the "world language" for the next generation. If you are under 50 start studying now. I am.
Even when China's economy becomes the largest in the world, English will remain the "world language" for the foreseeable future for several reasons. The biggest is that English has an alphabet, an alphabet which is used by many other languages. If you can speak English, you can also read English and write English. That is not true for Mandarin. Learning to read and write Chinese is very different from learning to speak Mandarin or another Chinese dialect.
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