74

This is similar to my experience when I first moved to Spain. I was initially a bit miffed as well, until I asked a waiter one day why he replied in English when I spoke to him. It was because speaking English was the quickest way for him to write down my order and get it right. I wanted to practice my Spanish, but people who had a job do to had no ...


65

They do appreciate, however, in practical situations one resorts to the language that's more convenient for communication purposes. Most people mean it either practical or well intended, by making it easier for you - and for you both, eventually. It is often even easier for them to communicate with you in English with the feeling of being 100% understood ...


58

No, most people in Europe do not understand German German is spoken in Germany, Austria, some parts of Switzerland and Liechtenstein. There are some other places worth mentioning; see the comments for these. While there are minorities living in other countries, the broad population in e.g. Rome will not understand anything if you try to converse in German. ...


32

When I started to learn English, my teacher told me If you are not going to make at least a hundred mistakes every day, you are not going to improve. I believe this is true for learning any language. While in my professional career I came across a lot of German learners, all of them had at least some trouble finding the right gender - I was still ...


28

As far as I'm aware, the word "Gesundheit" is only used when people sneeze. It's similar to "bless you" in English. One explanation I heard is that it is possible to sneeze for unrelated reasons (binding light, dust in the nose), and expresses the wish that the person sneezing should be healthy. I never heard of a word in response to coughing, neither ...


26

You can choose one of the following. I'd say that "wobei" is the more common one and actually expresses the change of mind, but the other formulation ("oh wait!") is also in use. Ich mag kein Eis, weil ... wobei (stimmt gar nicht), ich mag Schokoladeneis, aber die anderen Sorten nicht. Ich mag kein Eis, weil ... warte mal (stimmt gar ...


22

Of course you can speak German everywhere. But you will be understood only in those cities where people speak German. German is official language in: Germany Austria Switzerland Liechtenstein Belgium Luxembourg European Union Italy (only in South Tyrol) Slovakia (only in Krahule and Kunešov) Brasil (only in 13 local communities) But this just ...


17

We also use »das heißt«, often abbreviated by »d. h.«. Ich mag kein Eis, weil – das heißt, nein, ich mag Schokoladeneis, aber die anderen Sorten nicht. Another valid part of the correction culture is the particle »äh«. »Martin, wie viele Schnäpse sind noch da?« »Vier, äh, fünf!« Ich will, äh, ich kann nicht helfen!


16

Wenn ich am Telefon eine E-Mail-Adresse weitergebe, dann gehe ich wie folgt vor: @ Ich sage eigentlich immer 'ät'. Wenn mein Gegenüber das aber nicht versteht (was sehr selten vorkommt), dann greife ich auf 'Klammeraffe' zurück. Wenn auch das nicht verstanden wird, dann erkläre ich, dass es sich um das Symbol auf der 'Q'-Taste handelt. Anmerkung: Das @-...


15

No, not specific for coughing. There is neither a word for it nor is it common practice for bystanders to comment any coughing, only in case you are really concerned about the cougher's condition. As you figured out, a bystander's commit is usual for sneezing. A current (last 10-20 years) "developement" of "Gesundheit!" from bystanders turns into "...


15

Wir empfinden es oft als anstrengend, wenn wir raten müssen, wie viel oder wie wenig Deutsch unser Gegenüber versteht. Und wir sind schnell frustriert oder sogar genervt, wenn wir uns wiederholen müssen. (The third "Wie bitte?" triggers an internal "Bohnen in den Ohren, Du Blödmann?" reaction in us ;). It's genetic.) Deshalb schalten wir dann direkt auf ...


14

According to Wikipedia, 200 million people give or take speak German worldwide; of these, around 90 or 95 million are native speakers and another 10 to 25 million are L2 (second language) speakers. The EU has a population of around 515 million so even the most generate estimates don’t allow for more than one in two Europeans understanding German. The native ...


13

It's not that big a deal and you'll be understood perfectly. There are only a handful of cases where using a different article changes the meaning of the word (der/die/das Band, e.g.), and even then there's context. The average German will be impressed by your willingness to learn German ("schwierige Sprache"). Perhaps some people might correct you; accept ...


12

"Gesundheit" is only used when someone sneezes It's supposed to be a custom from the days of the Black Death in Europe. The "Knigge" , which is widely considered the reference for questions regarding good manners in Germany, claims that you should no longer use this expression (and politely pretend to have seen and heard nothing). However, this rule didn't ...


12

Zweites Frühstück implies there has been an erstes Frühstück. Brunch is simply called Brunch. To eat brunch is called brunchen. Wollen wir Samstag brunchen?


11

In order to find the differences in use cases for the two, we need to take a look at how they can be used. Usage of: bisschen In combination with 'ein' to mark a small amount to mark a small amount of something. Here it is synonym to "wenig" and it's probably a matter of style which one you and your peers prefer to use. Ich habe ein bisschen Geld. | ...


10

Skype offers a fantastic opportunity for learning languages online. You can have free, live conversations with native speakers, and even use video for a more complete immersion experience. Learning languages with Skype is very effective. Finding a language exchange partner The first difficulty, though, is finding willing native speakers. If you’re not in a ...


10

There are many ways to change your mind mid-sentence, just like in English. You gave one example. I'll try to give a few examples for German. Some of them probably overlap with the answer already given: Original: I don't like ice cream, because— actually, no. I like chocolate ice cream, but I don't find other flavours tasty. Possible translations: Ich mag ...


9

I think that the noun gender is one of the most difficult things of the German language for non native speakers (especially for people whose mother tongue does not contain gender nouns). A colleague of mine who moved here (I am from Austria) more than 10 years ago from China still has issues with some noun genders. I know a guy who is Austrian but moved to ...


9

“All over”? No. In Spain, (almost?) all German speakers are tourists. And at least half the tourists do not speak German. (At least that’s my experience helping 20-40 people a day from 40+ countries.) But you have English as a fallback, and although English-speakers in Spain are a small minority, you can find them easily in any big city. I should point ...


9

"Zweites Frühstück" is usually for people who start working very early and need another meal between their early breakfast and lunch. In school, I had breakfast at home a 6.30 am, zweites Frühstück at 10 am during the first longer break in school ("Große Pause") and lunch at 1 pm. "Brunch" is used in German language. When I was younger, I didn't know the ...


8

German is a difficult language and difficult to learn. Most native speakers are aware of this. You might be corrected, even if you did not ask for it. Some people just do this subconsciously, others will politely ignore your mistakes. If they correct you unasked, usually you should not feel offended. If you want to improve, you even should (as already said)...


8

Hubert has written a perfect answer covering all the aspects of official status. As a German living in Austria and having travelled to most of the European countries, my experience is the following. Note that I'm only talking about countries where I have 1st hand experience. I can't say, for example, about Norway as I haven't been there. You will do just ...


8

As a former American exchange student to Germany, the best advice I got back then was to repeat to anyone constantly answering you in English (after you've tried your best to speak German) that the reason you came to Germany was to learn German. Note Germans are not always being condescending when they reply in English: in many cases, they may not have ...


8

As a Swiss but non-native German speaker living in Germany, I'd like to add a few things to the good points other answers and comments make so far. The central part of your wondering seems to be the fact that: I've heard a lot of people say that people appreciate when foreigners try to speak the country's language I also heard often in DACH but rather ...


7

Meine Meinungen: "ät" ist am meisten verbreitet, dann kommt "Klammeraffe" Strich halte ich für ungeeignet, weil die Rückfrage bestimmt kommt; erstaunlich verbreitet ist die Aussprache "minus"; zu Unterstrich sehe ich (von "underscore" abgesehen) keine wirkliche Alternative außer englische Fragmente wie "online" oder "mail" oder "free" fände ich das komisch ...


7

As an addition to Shegit's answer, if you hear someone saying "Gesundheit" as a reaction to coughing, it is most likely that this person mistook the coughing for a sneeze (or is not sure what it was)


6

For completeness, if someone says something totally not understandable, like using a lot of technical vocabulary, some people say "Gesundheit" sarcastically to point out that you spoke so unclearly or that the word sounds so complicated that you might as well just have sneezed. -Was bedeutet eigentlich DNS? -Desoxyribonukleinsäure. -Gesundheit!


6

Er ist nicht in der Lage ... means literally He is not in a position to ... So that's more about the circumstances. Er kann nicht ... is about the (current or fundamental) ability. If you want to say, that the little girl can't ride a bicycle (but she can learn it), you would use Sie kann (noch) nicht Fahrrad fahren. If you want to say, that ...


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