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Old 02-21-20, 08:42 AM
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NomarsGirl
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Language learning

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".
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Old 02-21-20, 09:06 AM
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1. Many (most?) Germans speak/understand English.
2. In my experience, google translate is invaluable. Just make sure that you download language packs prior to your trip
3. I sometimes used Drops / Android to acclimatize myself with a foreign language.
4. Now, the important part : Zwei Bier bitte
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Old 02-21-20, 09:24 AM
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When I tour in non-English speaking places, I try to learn a bit of the language, as well. To help me, I've created a couple of flashcard sets: one for German and one for Italian. Since I'm further along in my Italian studies, the Italian flashcard set is much more detailed than the German flashcards.

If you have words you'd like me to enter, just PM me.
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Old 02-21-20, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by NomarsGirl View Post

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".
What did you expect to learn after just one day? Language learning takes time and effort. It's also very rewarding.
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Old 02-21-20, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
What did you expect to learn after just one day? Language learning takes time and effort. It's also very rewarding.
at least a couple of useful phrases.
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Old 02-21-20, 09:34 AM
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Just adhere to these travel tips, and you will experience smooth sailing:

1. If someone doesn't understand what you are saying, repeat it, in English of course, but scream it as loudly as possible, and make animated hand gestures like one sees in those old movies where cowboys attempted to communicate with the native population, prior to slaughtering them.

2. Refer to where you came from as "the real world" as frequently as possible.

3. Bring up World War II at every opportunity.
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Old 02-21-20, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by NomarsGirl View Post
at least a couple of useful phrases.
I've already learned 2 beers please. That should be useful.
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Old 02-21-20, 09:42 AM
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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!
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Old 02-21-20, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
Just adhere to these travel tips, and you will experience smooth sailing:

1. If someone doesn't understand what you are saying, repeat it, in English of course, but scream it as loudly as possible, and make animated hand gestures like one sees in those old movies where cowboys attempted to communicate with the native population, prior to slaughtering them.

2. Refer to where you came from as "the real world" as frequently as possible.

3. Bring up World War II at every opportunity.
that's why Europeans don't like Americans. I better learn "he's not MY president ."
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Old 02-21-20, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by NomarsGirl View Post
at least a couple of useful phrases.
Not sure why you'd spend a few minutes on Duolingo, then come to this site and complain about it.

BTW, there are many different types of beer, and specific language pertaining to ordering beer in Germany & Austria. This site could be useful:

https://www.groundedtraveler.com/201...er-vocabulary/

Last edited by axolotl; 02-21-20 at 10:22 AM.
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Old 02-21-20, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
3. Bring up World War II at every opportunity.

Fawlty Towers....
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Old 02-21-20, 10:28 AM
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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 ."
There was a brief period where I didn't have to pretend I was from Canada.
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Old 02-21-20, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
What did you expect to learn after just one day? Language learning takes time and effort. It's also very rewarding.
LOL! This sounds like one of our friends. She told my wife after a session or two on Duolingo French that all she learned to say was, "I am a horse."
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Old 02-21-20, 10:31 AM
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My wife and I are currently using Duolingo for French. We are spending 6+ weeks there starting in May. We know we won be able to carry on a conversation but we like to greet and ask basic questions.
BTW, when we toured for 3 months in Europe last summer most people we met like our president. So blanket assumptions are not necessarily correct.
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Old 02-21-20, 11:28 AM
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Everyone seems to learn language a bit differently. Depending on length of my trip (including a year in Latin America and five months in Russia, two months in China), as well as what level of support - I'll learn to different levels:

* Survival; for me this the alphabet (if different), greetings, numbers and some basic nouns needed to find directions, restrooms, hotels, etc. Also a screening for cultural no-nos and experiences of past travelers. // I can get a lot of this from a duolingo but it takes me more than a day...
* Beginner; asking/answering basic questions, enough to handle most street transactions; reading basic signs; I can pick some of this up along the way from a survival level - though more of a class helps.
* Advanced beginner; some grammar including past-tense and future-tense, many conversations, written communications a lot of reading - for me this requires some more formal training to bridge things, language schools in St Petersburg (Russian), Oaxaca (Spanish), Bariloche (Spanish) were particularly helpful in advancing things
- Fluent: this is somehow tough for me beyond my native languages

As far as politics goes, it is definitely a topic I try to avoid. When people make references to our current government/policies I'll either turn the question around to ask what they think or reply in generic fashion. If I am in a more extended time e.g. several weeks at language school, then more opinions may come out.
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Old 02-21-20, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
There was a brief period where I didn't have to pretend I was from Canada.
I'm from ireland and have the passport to prove it. Some day I'll have to go there. Dual citizen.

Last edited by NomarsGirl; 02-21-20 at 12:18 PM.
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Old 02-21-20, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Altair 4 View Post
LOL! This sounds like one of our friends. She told my wife after a session or two on Duolingo French that all she learned to say was, "I am a horse."
it isn't so much whatitr didn't teach me but what it Did.i can see riding down some farm road in Austria and meeting the farmer after saying good afternoon, I tell him in perfect German that the cows have flies. Of course they do! Flies love cows.

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Old 02-21-20, 11:54 AM
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I learned Spanish 30 years ago by starting with a simple phrasebook and CD set I got in a bookstore; no it was not the super-expensive Rosetta Stone or similar, just a paperback book and three CDs that totaled about 3 hours of conversation. I went through that, and repeated it, a few nights a week after work for about 6 months, plus watched a lot of Spanish language TV (Plenty of it here in the Los Angeles area). There are plenty of Spanish speakers here so I was able to try it my skills pretty quickly; yep lots of mistakes and you gotta stumble through it and learn the 'regional lingos' (such as Mexican Spanish or Guatemalan Spanish dialects). I can pretty much hold my own in a conversation, and even picked up quite a bit of profanity (which impresses native speakers! ).
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Old 02-21-20, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
Not sure why you'd spend a few minutes on Duolingo, then come to this site and complain about it.

BTW, there are many different types of beer, and specific language pertaining to ordering beer in Germany & Austria. This site could be useful:

https://www.groundedtraveler.com/201...er-vocabulary/
I realize the is now than one kind of beer. I'm more of a wine drinker anyway. I slap know that Ausyrian German is different from standard German. It might be like this Boston girl going to Mississippi and trying to converse with the locals. They may not understand me.

Last edited by NomarsGirl; 02-21-20 at 12:53 PM.
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Old 02-21-20, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Tandem Tom View Post
My wife and I are currently using Duolingo for French. We are spending 6+ weeks there starting in May. We know we won be able to carry on a conversation but we like to greet and ask basic questions.
I'm about 5 months into Duolingo for French. I don't anticipate that I'll ever really be able to speak it using just Duolingo. But I do think I'll be able to understand it a bit. Don't know if you have Sirius XM, but there are several French language channels from Canada. I find that I can pick out the some of the lyrics on the Franco Country music channel. The songs are basic and often sung slow enough that it works for me.

If you don't have Sirius, you can pretty much get whatever you want on Tune-In or some of the other internet radio collections.
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Old 02-21-20, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by NomarsGirl View Post
that's why Europeans don't like Americans.
The last time I was in Europe it was Italy with a small group of people from home. We were at the cycling "camp" run by a guy we know. One cold, wet morning some of us decided to take the bus from the village into town to catch a train to Venice for the day. Got on the bus and sat near the front. It was totally quiet. People were relaxing. Students were reading. Then the two really loud talkers in our group, who were seated on opposite sides of the bus against the windows decided to start a conversation across their mates and the aisle. My GF and I looked at each like "The stereotypical loud American tourist rears its ugly head." A female passenger in the front row started talking with the driver. I took a lot of Spanish in school, which helps me understand Italian a bit. From what I could gather, the driver and the woman made a bet as to whether we were from Canada or the U.S. Finally, the driver turns around and asks one of the women in our group. The woman responds. The driver says something to the female passenger and they both laugh. I think he won the bet.
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Old 02-21-20, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
The last time I was in Europe it was Italy with a small group of people from home. We were at the cycling "camp" run by a guy we know. One cold, wet morning some of us decided to take the bus from the village into town to catch a train to Venice for the day. Got on the bus and sat near the front. It was totally quiet. People were relaxing. Students were reading. Then the two really loud talkers in our group, who were seated on opposite sides of the bus against the windows decided to start a conversation across their mates and the aisle. My GF and I looked at each like "The stereotypical loud American tourist rears its ugly head." A female passenger in the front row started talking with the driver. I took a lot of Spanish in school, which helps me understand Italian a bit. From what I could gather, the driver and the woman made a bet as to whether we were from Canada or the U.S. Finally, the driver turns around and asks one of the women in our group. The woman responds. The driver says something to the female passenger and they both laugh. I think he won the bet.
For us, it was walking into wa little restaurant in Rome. They had the football match on TV. Man U was destroying Roma 7-1. I said, "Let's get out of here, they are going to hear English and won't recognize the difference between British and American. "

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Old 02-21-20, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
The last time I was in Europe it was Italy with a small group of people from home. We were at the cycling "camp" run by a guy we know. One cold, wet morning some of us decided to take the bus from the village into town to catch a train to Venice for the day. Got on the bus and sat near the front. It was totally quiet. People were relaxing. Students were reading. Then the two really loud talkers in our group, who were seated on opposite sides of the bus against the windows decided to start a conversation across their mates and the aisle. My GF and I looked at each like "The stereotypical loud American tourist rears its ugly head." A female passenger in the front row started talking with the driver. I took a lot of Spanish in school, which helps me understand Italian a bit. From what I could gather, the driver and the woman made a bet as to whether we were from Canada or the U.S. Finally, the driver turns around and asks one of the women in our group. The woman responds. The driver says something to the female passenger and they both laugh. I think he won the bet.
If I don't get very far with the cows and the flies, Ican always declare that I am a jelly donut. It worked for Kennedy at the Berlin Wall.

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Old 02-21-20, 02:07 PM
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If you continue down the Danube into Hungary, make sure you bring along this phrasebook:

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Old 02-21-20, 02:42 PM
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True story - we had an extended family member set up a "destination wedding" in some very picturesque, rather remote, village in Italy. Since Mrs. Altair and I are not made of money, we were happy not to have received an invitation. However, other family members did attend and spent some time in Rome. The father of the bride refused to eat at any restaurant and instead went to McDonald's.
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