Have you experienced this? You’ve been learning German for a while and decide to go to Germany to try out your new knowledge. You arrive and proudly say something in German ………
….. and they answer in English!
If you are a beginner you may appreciate it, but if your German is actually quite good, you want to get the chance to use it and NOT speak English! But a lot of German faces light up when they hear your accent and are looking forward to practise their English. In touristy areas the requirement for shop assistants, hotel and restaurant staff etc often is the ability to speak English and many of them love using their knowledge – but so do you!
So, what can you do about it?
You could try and find a resort in Germany or Austria where they don’t speak English, like tiny villages away from tourism or in the eastern parts of Germany where the older generation learned Russian as their foreign language and not English (which, of course, is gradually changing, as they now all learn English as a foreign language).
If, however, you want to see all those touristy things and go to those places where most people reply to you in English, you have three options:
- You resign and speak English (and feel very frustrated)
- You keep on telling those people to please not speak English with you. You may have to say that quite often which could also be frustrating.
- You print out my little card (and maybe laminate it) and hold it in front of their faces. It stops you from having to say it over and over again and the surprise may be enough for them to actually do as they are told 😉
Let me know how you get on …