RANT! “Sorry, no German!”



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You can't have your Apfelstrudel and eat it too!

When you invite immigration for lack of skilled workers in the country and flaunt in other countries that our work language is english, what do you expect people will speak when they come to Germany. I never understood this obsession with language in Germany. You just don't bring skilled immigrants to your country, a lot of cultural changes will happen to your society. Deal with it or be honest to outside world that one of the precondition to be welcomed in Germany is to speak/learn german language. In fact I am in favour of this idea since it sets right expectations from the start. I don't know why conservatives don't make it an election issue.

Myriam 61 days ago

Learn German, but....!

I agree that in your adopted country you definitely need to learn the language, But I'm so disappointed at how bad Germans speak English. And English is NOT my native tongue. Besides my English and my native language I can also speak French, so I speak three languages and basic German (Getting my B1 soon). I expect in 2021 that everybody speaks English. Its the International Spoken language, French is the International written Language. If you travel to Sweden/Denmark/England/US/Croatia/Portugal/Australia/Canada/… for a Vacation you think the Bartenders and locals are speaking German? No! They speak English and you should too. There are 7,117 known languages in the world, we must choose one language to communicate internationally. (It's already chosen). But remember I agree that you should learn the language of the county you live in. At work I speak German.

Alen 130 days ago

Im expat

I know that I need german when in germany however... i thank god that the companies i want to work for, have english as their company language.
I think is really an advantage learning a new languange, I mean when I get back home (because im planning to) Is going to be a nice card to play in my interviews because who doesnt want to speak many languages? Also i think is a joke that in third world countries you find people speaking english as second language (and because everyone speaks english who doesnt? oh wait) and in first world countries many people get offended because they can only speak one. Thought you knew better

Daniela 231 days ago

Im expat

I know that I need german when in germany however... i thank god that the companies i want to work for, have english as their company language.
I think is really an advantage learning a new languange, I mean when I get back home (because im planning to) Is going to be a nice card to play in my interviews because who doesnt want to speak many languages? Also i think is a joke that in third world countries you find people speaking english as second language (and because everyone speaks english who doesnt? oh wait) and in first world countries many people get offended because they can only speak one. Thought you knew better

Daniela 231 days ago


People fail to understand how language shapes the mentality of a person,culture, nation... What was written above may apply for most other languages. Not the German one...The few Germans that did so much harm to the point of dooming the planet for next generations justify the addition of the particular language to many other dead languages...

Helen 323 days ago


Well, I come from the Canary islands where we have thousands of German expats living. Not a single one can speak any spanish whatsoever. And that repeats itself all over Spain.
Another thing is..... If a German had the genius idea of opening a german restaurant somewhere, it will close in a few weeks, but not because people can read the menu, but because german food is just shit....

Gigi 324 days ago

What did I just read

Childish, ridiculous and unnecessary. Person who wrote this should consider another hobby.

Dave 318 days ago

Germans are not welcoming

I find the vast majority of Germana ti be rude self centred arrogant twats. They stick to their clicks out of insecurity and think they are some how above the rest of us. Not a nice bunch at all in my experience.

Chris more than 1 year ago

Unjustified. Always.

I live in Berlin. I can speak good German (C1) now. However, during the time I was building up to that level, whenever I spoke with someone in English, I (NOT as what this article portrays) instantly got the feeling of being unwelcome. I got interrupted, yelled at, spoken down to condescendingly, and once the "go back to your country" phrase. It made me despise learning German. Nonetheless, to be fair, I have to give credit to the few occasional nice polite responses, which I 100% appreciated, but sadly, MOST of the time, it wasn't like that. I showed my willingness to put in effort through visiting German classes five days a week, but there was no reciprocity of that willingness to put effort.

This article is a perfect demonstration of what it means to have poor intercultural competence, which is something ill-mannered, and definitely an ugly color to have as a flaw in your character. The author, Julie Colthorpe, should be ashamed of herself.

The reflection of one's sociolinguistic insecurities quickly turning into an ugly emotional expression at the expense of a foreigner who moved here in pursuit of whatever situational (be it personal or professional) goals they have, is a very toxic behavioral trait. I really hope more people are aware of this. This does not happen outside of Germany, at least not in the 10 other countries I have been to. Germany is quite heavily lacking behind on this one.

AK more than 1 year ago

Unjustified. Always.

I live in Berlin. I can speak good German (C1) now. However, during the time I was building up to that level, whenever I spoke with someone in English, I (NOT as what this article portrays) instantly got the feeling of being unwelcome. I got interrupted, yelled at, spoken down to condescendingly, and once the "go back to your country" phrase. It made me despise learning German. Nonetheless, to be fair, I have to give credit to the few occasional nice polite responses, which I 100% appreciated, but sadly, MOST of the time, it wasn't like that. I showed my willingness to put in effort through visiting German classes five days a week, but there was no reciprocity of that willingness to put effort.

This article is a perfect demonstration of what it means to have poor intercultural competence, which is something ill-mannered, and definitely an ugly color to have as a flaw in your character. The author, Julie Colthorpe, should be ashamed of herself.

The reflection of one's sociolinguistic insecurities quickly turning into an ugly emotional expression at the expense of a foreigner who moved here in pursuit of whatever situational (be it personal or professional) goals they have, is a very toxic behavioral trait. I really hope more people are aware of this. This does not happen outside of Germany, at least not in the 10 other countries I have been to. Germany is quite heavily lacking behind on this one.

AK more than 1 year ago

6 million jews

After trying to colonise Europe 2 times (!!!!), because the first time wasn't enough of a lesson, now Germany trying to control Europe through the EU and their shitty language! Check it out darling - official language in EU Parliament is what? ENGLISH!!!!! Not bloody German!!!!!
I will never ever speak German after you killed 50+ members of my family in GERMAN concentration camps!!!! And yes, today's Germans are also to blame since I was called a "dirty jew" to my face multiple times when sorting out documents in Bavaria! You never changed, you will NEVER do!!!!!!75 years later same shits!!!!So no, your NAZI language would not be spoken by me!!!!!

Disillusioned Jew more than 1 year ago


I don't believe a word of your bollocks. Grow up and perhaps grow a pair. Nobody forces you to come to Germany. BTW, I am Jewish, too, and fortunately I don't anybody who shares your vile attitude. Liebe Deutsche, lasst Euch von solchen Ärschen nicht verarschen. Der Typ ist mit Sicherheit kein Jude.

Sick of This more than 1 year ago

antisemitism is not a thing

This "6 million jews" guy lies. I agree with the comment beneath ("Bollocks").

I am German. I certainly don't like this country given its arbitrary politics and sycophantism towards the US and illegitimate Israel, aka the fortress of corruption and vile. Germany is not a sovereign nation and its politicians do not serve the people. And that has many consequences that lead to severe misconceptions of who is responsible for this. In such cases people do tend to become racist. But nobody gives a darn about jews, because nobody sees 'jews' as a threat. And why would they? The problem is not jews after all but neo-liberalism, globalisation and Israel.

Germans are are not that bad. They are hard working people trying to prove themselves. They are also neglected and suffer under extortionate ignorance of their government. And yet there are still some among the kindest people to be found here. (It is only the young ones that fully retarded beyond hope, just like in the United States.)

Glaubt dem Lobby-Spinner kein Wort. Klingt nach einem üblichen Israeli-Arschkriecher. Die haben ihre Bots überall.
Deutschland gefällt mir auch nicht, aber das hat nur wenig mit Rassismus oder gar aNtIsEmItiSmUs zu tun.
Das Problem ist politisch und witziger Weise ist daran zu einem Großteil Israel schuld, was aber rein gar nichts mit Judentum oder Religion im generellen zu tun hat. Antisemitismus hat ca null Bedeutung hier und das sage ich, der mehr als die meisten Anderen über rechte Terrorzellen und ihre Verstrickung mit dem Verfassungsschutz (NSU) weiß, als die meisten Bewohner hier.

Und obwohl ich mich hier auch verpisse - weil dieses Land wirklich das Letzte ist, mit seinem Unterstützen von Terror in Afrika und dem mittleren Osten, mit seinem grotesken Russland-Bashing und der lächerlichen Anerkennung von Terroristen und rechten Spinnern wie Guaido (inzwischen ja nicht mehr, obwohl Maas im Alleingang alles daran setzte es die Aberkennung zu verhindern) oder Nawalny, mit dem vielfachen Verrat an Rentner durch das Verstümmeln des Rentensystems und - selbstverständlich - Agenda2010; der Schaffung des größten Niedriglohnsektor's Europas, mit der alleinigen Absicht die Arbeitskraft von Menschen auszubeuten, die ohnehin nichts - kann ich beim besten Willen nicht behaupten, dass Rassismus oder Antisemitismus auch nur im Entferntesten was mit meiner Ausreise zu tun hätte. Wenn überhaupt, sollte dieses Land endlich die USA hier raus kicken, die mit ihren Asitruppen hier nichts zu suchen haben und wir sollten israelischen Lobbyhuren das Maul zu binden, damit dieses Land endlich souverän wird und gute Politik und globale nützliche Akzente setzen kann; darunter, den Völkermord an Palästina anprangern und Klartext aussprechen, dass Israel kein legitimes Land ist. Dass die UN so untätig ist, liegt nämlich daran, dass sie von Israel gegründet wurde. Und Deutschland hätte das Zeug dies endlich mal klarzustellen.

antizion 239 days ago

antisemitism is not a thing

This "6 million jews" guy lies. I agree with the comment beneath ("Bollocks").

I am German. I certainly don't like this country given its arbitrary politics and sycophantism towards the US and illegitimate Israel, aka the fortress of corruption and vile. Germany is not a sovereign nation and its politicians do not serve the people. And that has many consequences that lead to severe misconceptions of who is responsible for this. In such cases people do tend to become racist. But nobody gives a darn about jews, because nobody sees 'jews' as a threat. And why would they? The problem is not jews after all but neo-liberalism, globalisation and Israel.

Germans are are not that bad. They are hard working people trying to prove themselves. They are also neglected and suffer under extortionate ignorance of their government. And yet there are still some among the kindest people to be found here. (It is only the young ones that fully retarded beyond hope, just like in the United States.)

Glaubt dem Lobby-Spinner kein Wort. Klingt nach einem üblichen Israeli-Arschkriecher. Die haben ihre Bots überall.
Deutschland gefällt mir auch nicht, aber das hat nur wenig mit Rassismus oder gar aNtIsEmItiSmUs zu tun.
Das Problem ist politisch und witziger Weise ist daran zu einem Großteil Israel schuld, was aber rein gar nichts mit Judentum oder Religion im generellen zu tun hat. Antisemitismus hat ca null Bedeutung hier und das sage ich, der mehr als die meisten Anderen über rechte Terrorzellen und ihre Verstrickung mit dem Verfassungsschutz (NSU) weiß, als die meisten Bewohner hier.

Und obwohl ich mich hier auch verpisse - weil dieses Land wirklich das Letzte ist, mit seinem Unterstützen von Terror in Afrika und dem mittleren Osten, mit seinem grotesken Russland-Bashing und der lächerlichen Anerkennung von Terroristen und rechten Spinnern wie Guaido (inzwischen ja nicht mehr, obwohl Maas im Alleingang alles daran setzte es die Aberkennung zu verhindern) oder Nawalny, mit dem vielfachen Verrat an Rentner durch das Verstümmeln des Rentensystems und - selbstverständlich - Agenda2010; der Schaffung des größten Niedriglohnsektor's Europas, mit der alleinigen Absicht die Arbeitskraft von Menschen auszubeuten, die ohnehin nichts - kann ich beim besten Willen nicht behaupten, dass Rassismus oder Antisemitismus auch nur im Entferntesten was mit meiner Ausreise zu tun hätte. Wenn überhaupt, sollte dieses Land endlich die USA hier raus kicken, die mit ihren Asitruppen hier nichts zu suchen haben und wir sollten israelischen Lobbyhuren das Maul zu binden, damit dieses Land endlich souverän wird und gute Politik und globale nützliche Akzente setzen kann; darunter, den Völkermord an Palästina anprangern und Klartext aussprechen, dass Israel kein legitimes Land ist. Dass die UN so untätig ist, liegt nämlich daran, dass sie von Israel gegründet wurde. Und Deutschland hätte das Zeug dies endlich mal klarzustellen.

deathtozion 239 days ago


What's the point of moving elsewhere if you dont learn the language
Yes Germans and Germany sucks but I always say the language has nothing to do with the shitty German attitude.

There are plenty of other countries to use German in and its a worthwhile investment.

I was around neukoln one day and it was all English. I was angry I ran into some corner far away and then just left. Was going to go for a meet up but decided to best not bother.

Yes Germans will use you as free language practice but you just keep speaking German and let them do the English bit. You will learn regardless

livinginberlin more than 1 year ago

Sorry, no German!

"My advice to all these Deutsch-denying dilettantes? Go back to your mum for some extra nursing or an extra kick in the Arsch. Or better yet, move to Brandenburg and see how far your English gets you there." GREAT ADVICE! Btw - I am German ...

EJay more than 2 years ago

Double standards

Europeans love double standards. Do u speak Korean in Korea Thai in Thailand? Yet people have to speak YOUR languages in your countries.

CC more than 1 year ago

triple standard

If I lived in Korea I would try to speak Korean...it's about expats not tourists.

Habibi more than 1 year ago

Quadruple Standard

Learn the language of the country you want to move to before and not while. Do YOUR work, and don’t expect others to be kind to you if you rely on others good will instead of your prowess and hard work. If you move here without speaking a single word of German you’re a piece of shit, and people will see you as lazy, rude and opportunistic unless you’re seeking political Asylum.

DeinVater 180 days ago

come on

gal, what's your problem?

michaela more than 2 years ago

People like you make German not fun

I tried hard to learn German but most locals would talk back to me in English. The germans in my social circle were unhelpful and arrogant. I'm so happy that I left the country. I can earn more money, have more career opportunities and better social circle in my homecountry. I came to DE for a german lover who turned out to be an arrogant cheater.
I'm happily learning Spanish which would be by far more useful in my career.

DisappointedExpat more than 2 years ago

Fuck off :]

Good, by the sounds of it you’re an insufferable cunt and I’m glad you’re gone pestering the Spanish. Would be even better if you were all forced back to your god forsaken isle but I’ll take you fucking off out of here for now.
Cheers lad, and please don’t ever come back!

YourKing&QueenRGerman 180 days ago

It's none of your business

If they don't speak German, what is to upu anyway? Obviously you can read and write English, communicate in English and that's it. It's none of your business what people speak, same time I don't see why you're so angry; you're not even German. It's not your place to defend or get angry over German language, leave it to the German people. You became a king supporter more than the king himself.

Duygu more than 2 years ago

Lernen Sie Deutsch!

When in Rome goes the old saying. Obviously if you are simply a tourist, nobody expects you to speak the language. However if you are living in a country, that is something else totally. My German is at the most passable, yet when in Germany I try to use it. I somehow manage, and people treat me kindly. Now if I were to go somewhere and demand they speak English, that is another story. I think the author was simply stating the obvious. When you are living in a country, you should at least try, to speak the language.

Ken more than 2 years ago

Wie Bitte

Here in Germany Expats are made to feel not welcome, like you are just a besucher. There's alot of talk about immigration, Asylum seekers, people just looking for a better life. I understand that some countries don't want this and are not open to it, but you must consider then that the majority of material items you use on a daily basis got invented and produced in another country. If you close the doors to free movement of people, then the doors should be closed on importing of goods to your country. The people in Germany want to.wear the designer labels, use the latest cellphones from America and Japan, perhaps you should try first to live on only German made products.

Retro more than 3 years ago

Did you read the article?

If I'm not mistaken, an expat has a better chance of successfully residing in Germany if he/she makes any effort to adapt himself/herself to the cultural norms and learn the language, the latter being the main focus of this article.

Digby more than 3 years ago

Sorry, no German ...

Trying to follow your advice in the US ... oh, is there anything NOT made in China? I might get a lot further on German products, but hey .... all this is soooo beyond the point of the article ...

Bubby more than 2 years ago

Sheer intolerance !!!

Hi JULIE COLTHORPE... I am stunned by your intolerance towards other languages.. Do you know that thousands of German live in India and for many years and most of them do not speak any native language.. But we still treat them nicely and do not get angry at them for not speaking.. i learned 3 languages while growing up and it taught me a very good lesson of accepting people from different languages and still treating everyone equally... I mean I can show you thousands of people speaking diff languages in my city and they are living there for ages now.. My native language is Marathi bus still we accept English everywhere and do not shout at people in restaurants if they are speaking Hindi or English or any other Indian language.. So I would request you please tell all the Germans living outside german to adapt the languages where they live.. !!

Amar more than 3 years ago

How is this "intolerant"?

This article talks about English-speakers in Germany not speaking German. The author isn't so much concerned with the presence of English and other languages as the absence of German.
Since Hindi and English are already national languages of India, it's natural that no-one there should get shouted at for speaking them, so this argument is moot.
On the other hand, if the Germans living in India weren't speaking English, then you might have a case.

Josep more than 3 years ago

Sheer intolerance!!

Do you know that only 30% of indians can understand and reply in english.. and 10% are fluent in english.. and over 56% germans can understand english.. !! for your information not everyone in india can speak english.. Now you tell me.. who should be more liberal!!

ArAmar Kulkarni more than 3 years ago

Germans The Secret World Coloniser - Then and Now

Yes, you will find Germans in their little cliques anywhere you happen to travel around the Globe, even abroad they huddle together in their German language bubble. I find it interesting that Germans have all the benefits of the EU, like landing in Britain and being able to find employment with little English and many locals willing to help them with their quick attainment of fluency in the language whilst earning a living. Whilst newcomers to Germany, are faced with a wall of silence and whispers of Auslander, and even the simplest factory job is off limits - i believe that places like Britain were set up with the facade of EU membership - when clearly an even and fair playing field was not the intention - just a leeching of hospitable member states assets and infrastructure. Whilst hoarding even their language from those keen to learn.

C. Nisbett more than 2 years ago


Just goes to show that stupidity and arrogance is international ... and Germans are no exception ...

lisa more than 2 years ago

Like Spanish in the U.S.

I work retail in the Tampa area of Florida. Several of the maintenance staff can't or won't speak English. I've heard, but not seen firsthand, that exactly what you describe in Berlin happens in Miami, but with Spanish instead of English. I agree that moving to a country and not TRYING to learn the language is disrespectful. On the other hand, how do you feel about a specialty French restaurant, in the U.S., where everything is in French?

Corry more than 3 years ago

US has no official language

It might be hard to compare the working class maintenance staff (mostly of color) in Tampa, Fl lack of English skills to the privileged position of Expats (mostly of white European descent). Besides the US has no official language. Germany does. The writer is calling out privilege and entitlement.

kat more than 2 years ago

Official language US?

English IS the official language of the US ... go check ... and try to go around speaking another language in the US, ordering stuff etc etc ... it will be quite an experience, even for privileged white folks ...

Lisa more than 2 years ago

Spanish colony

Except Florida was a Spanish colony long before the British took over and it was a native american colony. Fact is people speaking Spanish in Florida is the correct thing to do. Its the British / English people who invaded.
So I invite you to learn Spanish or better yet seminole

livinginberlin more than 1 year ago

Deutsch will die

It’s a crap language. Period.

I needn’t get into why it’s an illogical language, Marks Twains essay on German expresses this more succinctly than I ever could.

The greatest problem is that Germans are lazy speakers. They mumble, almost constantly. Before you accuse me of being lazy or a bad listener, I’m not. I’ve tried for over two years and lived in Germany that whole time and I still can’t hold a conversation because I can’t understand what the hell they are mumbling about.

Interesting, ask a German to slow down and stop mumbling and they won’t. Ask the, why they mumble and talk too quick and they will admit that they do, and just laugh.

When German dies, the Germans (and Swiss and the other lot) are very much to blame.

Robert Tunn more than 3 years ago

Entitled much?

The German language will never die; millions of people speak it. I don't see other people (I mean those who speak German as a second language) having the same issues you have.
What Twain wrote was a product of its time. Even then, it was a satire. Do you expect to take satire seriously?
The one advantage German has over English is its phonetic nature; what is spelled is what is pronounced, unlike in English whose spelling is arbitrarily inconsistent.
Just because English is a "universal" language does not give its speakers the right to get around non-English countries without learning the local languages; it's just disrespectful.
Will the moderators here do their job right?

Josep more than 3 years ago

Another thing...

How the hell is this "mumbling" a fault of the German language, or vice-versa?
Do you realize that Germany, just like the United States, is a diverse country? What may apply in one region may not be the same in another.

Josep more than 3 years ago


You are acting (!) like an arrogant ignorant.

I could say the exact same thing about nearly any other language I came across.
Once I didn't even realise someone was speaking English.
Well, they were Scottish.

Did I make a scene?
Hell no!
Who am I to dismiss others based on my incapability to understand?
Eventually it worked out anyway and I have a nice memory.

People will try to help, to the best of their capabilities.
Of course if you are acting like an ass and not putting in effort yourself then less so.
Based on your comment I'd put you into the "acting like an ass" category.

Greetings from "the other lot"

Matthias more than 3 years ago

Right On!

German is sure to die out. To be turse:
Their lack of helpfulness and support from Germans turn foreigners off from learning the language.
There are 1.132 billion English speakers across the world, while only 132.1 million German speakers.
German schoolchildren all learn English in school as a second language. American students may take German as an elective course for one to two years.
More English words are popping up and taking over; with the use of modern terms and phrases.
English has spread so fast through the hugely popular Hollywood entertainment industry and foreigners’ obsession with American music, film, TV shows, social media, and clothing (especially with NYC and LA logos on them).
Face it – German is an ugly-sounding, inadequate language for the current and future times.

Megan more than 1 year ago

The joke's on you

Unfortunately, English spelling is notoriously inconsistent. To make matters worse, not only does English not have grammatical gender, but there is no distinction between formal "you" (in Spanish, 'usted' and in French 'vous') and casual "you" ('tu' in both French and Spanish). While the second and third may not be too important, as a native English speaker I frankly believe that the first one will be the undoing of English as an international language.

Besides that, most Germans (i.e. excluding elites like Angela Merkel) are getting sick and tired of American military power and NATO, and are seeking rapprochement with Russia. In a broader sense, the Anglosphere cannot afford to be the world's policeman any longer.

Digby more than 1 year ago

I can tell you this much...

All I know is childless Europe is going to be speaking Urdu soon.

Aktar more than 3 years ago

Well, that came outta left field.

Urdu, huh? Do you even live in Germany? Doesn't sound like it.

Kris more than 2 years ago

Expats and people working with the general public

I think few people expect that tourists have to learn the languages of all countries they visit. I would go further and say that I would not necessarily expect all expats to learn the language of the country where they live immediately. There are different kinds of expats, but many work in very specialized areas (science, research, international companies) where the work language is English, and many of these people are so busy that they won't get very far with learning the language. Yes, I think they should learn the language, especially if they live in the country for a longer time, otherwise they are missing out on a lot, but if they have not managed to reach a better level of the language, I think people should try to communicate, and the English language that is learnt by many as a foreign language can be helpful.

But I think it should be clear that people who don't speak the local language are not suitable for jobs in which they have contact with the general public (e.g. waiters, salespeople in shops). The problem is not so much with people who have the absurd idea that they can do this kind of work without speaking the local language, but with restaurants and shops who employ people who don't even fulfill this basic criterium for jobs that include contact with the general public. Well, you can say it's a market economy, and those who want to force their customers to speak a foreign language will certainly lose in the long run, but it is not just a bad business decision, but I think it is understandable that it will lead to resentment when they treat customers that way.

Now to all those who think it is "xenophobic" or even "racist" if people do not like it when they are forced to speak a foreign language when they go to a restaurant, a bar or a shop in their city - that is really a very arrogant and entitled attitude. I can imagine very well how these people go through life, expecting everyone else to adapt to them in many respects, obviously they meet resentment all the time, but somehow, they manage to blame others for this.

I certainly have no problems with communicating in English with an expat who works at a research laboratory where the working language is English and who has had little time for learning German. But if people expect that they can get jobs with contact with the general public (e.g. in restaurants) and not even fulfill the most basic requirement for such jobs - speaking the language of the place where they work - this is just absurd, and when they even insult people who don't like this entitled attitude of forcing a foreign language on people as "xenophobes" or "racists", as absurd as this is, they really should not wonder about the reasons why they are generally disliked.

Probably, the same English-speaking people with this arrogant, entitled attitude often expect of foreigners from other countries (e.g. Turks) to learn German and English when they move to Germany, but they think it does not apply to them.

Adrian more than 4 years ago

What a cunt

Definitely a racist cunt! You even hated on Turkish people.
Can you please just go ahead and jump off a cliff. We need less nationalist racists

fuckyouJULIECOLTHORPE more than 2 years ago

Adrian is correct

There is nothing racist about asking foreigners to make an effort to speak the local language. Honest question: if some foreigner came to your country without learning your language, how would you react?

Adrian did not say anything negative about Turks. He only mentioned them in passing as an example of a nationality whose country's language is neither German nor English. By putting words in his mouth and attacking him as racist, you have lost the argument. No amount of autistic screeching or ad hominems are going to change everything else he said.

"Comments are automatically posted but will be deleted if they are not on-topic and/or abusive."
Either the moderators are asleep or they have since permitted left-wing SJWs to attack anyone they disagree with, especially the author of this insightful article. Don't think I didn't see that hateful title.

Digby more than 2 years ago

Sitting In Your Ivory Tower - Typical German

Please explain why German (fluent) is required for a job on the factory floor, where the same 1000 words are all you will ever use, on the shop floor or with colleagues in the canteen - and you cannot get work unless the Job Agency (German) is sure you are one of them (ie convincingly fluent in German) - whereas a German, with very little English can rock up to an Job Agency in the UK and be at work, making a living, having money for language courses and socialising with English speakers in one day. Something is very wrong with this ease of movement. It appears to be only for the benefit of one side.

C. Nisbett more than 2 years ago

Honest question

How do you know if Adrian is German? Heck, how does what he said automatically make him German?

Josep more than 1 year ago

What an entitled little bitch the author is

You, madam, are a cunt. That's all.

Fich Dich in Den Arsch. more than 4 years ago

Cut the ad hominem crap

Just to let you know, Julie Colthorpe is English (the name doesn't sound very German, does it?). The editor of the piece also isn't German, she's French. This is a case of expats who learned the language urging others to do the same. It can't hurt.

Josep more than 4 years ago


ah, yeah?! so what she is English or French or whatever?!..then, both are cunts! oh the irony, writing an article an English for the expat community without even acknowledging the day-to-day shaming and struggle with the German language..this is a new form of discrimination against foreigners..i know a lot of foreigners struggling to learn this super difficult language..and instead of some sort of understanding and encouragement, they got bashed and mocked to the point that are indeed ashamed and discouraged to speak and practice what they have learned..English is not even my mother tongue, but it is a lingua franca, deal with it!.. Language is just a tool - to communicate and understand each-other. Whoever puts more value to a language instead of the people he is communicating with, is a cunt..a nationalistic, closed-minded one at that!

FU more than 4 years ago

Close-minded people who expect others to adapt to them and throw around insults

Aren't rather those who always expect others to adapt to them linguistically - even when they work in a service job for the general public - and treat any suggestion that they should perhaps get out of their bubble and learn the language of the country where they live angrily as a "xenophobic" insult the ones who are very close-minded?

Adrian more than 4 years ago


What I find most shocking about this entitled attitude is that probably few of the people who think others should be forced to speak English when they go to a restaurant in Germany would think the Turkish or Arabic language should be forced on people in Germany, probably they are among the first ones who think that those "lower" foreigners have to adapt. But they somehow think that because they speak English (probably a kind of master language in their mind), they are superior and they can force the English language on everyone.

When it gets really crazy is when those entitled people who think everyone has to adapt to them and they can go to any country and work in any kind of job without learning the language (after all, they speak English, they are not one of those "lower" foreigners who have to adapt) accuse those who don't like their arrogant, entitled attitude of being xenophobic.

No, such an arrogant, entitled attitude generally does not make people popular, that has nothing to do with their nationality or linguistic abilities.

Adrian more than 4 years ago

I rest my case

Josep more than 3 years ago

Agree fully

Agree fully. A person with inferiority complex, nothing more.

Duygu more than 2 years ago

Embarrassed Aussie

I am an Aussie who loves brunch but I am super embarrassed to hear that so many Australians are coming to Berlin and not learning German. It's just disrespectful. My boyfriend and I are both in intensive classes in an effort to learn and while it's not my forte (ie. I suck!) I have noticed that when I am trying to use my German in a service environment, I am met with genuine warmth and appreciation. If that's not worth it then I don't know what is.

I don't expect my German friends to suffer along with me in a social scenario, but I will continue to learn, and expect that other expats should do the same. The thing is, what us English-speakers are taking advantage of is our Western privilege. If I was a Syrian refugee, I would never complain that Germans need to "get with the program" and use my language. I agree with some of the commenters here, that learning the language can only ever enhance your understanding of the culture, and that is a wonderful thing.

Vanessa more than 4 years ago


You're so right, and it's obvious the angry folks in the comments are likely bitter, entitled brats. Probably with their hands in mommy and daddy's pocketbooks still. If you more to a new country, you should learn the language. To expect them to adapt to YOU is the height of arrogance. Anyone who came from a non-English speaking country knows the drill, so why can't they catch on?

J more than 3 years ago


I find the very angry push-back in the comments extremely odd. If you substitute any other major city in this scenario, the suggestion is patently absurd (Paris? Warsaw? Vienna? St Petersburg? Tokyo? Mexico City?) Someone working in service in Germany should be able to speak (at least a little) German. Just as someone working service in *any* country should be able to speak that country's main language. It's that simple. There is no discussion.

Clam Fandango more than 4 years ago

not really

I don't agree. For example, here in Helsinki you are starting to see restaurants pop up where the waiters and owners speak very little to no Finnish. It's widely seen as completely OK as almost everyone here speaks fluent English and agrees that Finnish is hard, so it would also be a totally unnecessary hurdle for foreigners seeking gainful employment.

Maybe it feels different inside a bigger language area, I don't know, but why should that be so? English is already the lingua franca and I can see only economic upsides to it being spoken ever more widely in Europe. If you're German and can't speak English, too bad -- I think you've been done a disservice by the German approach, and I'm not talking only about dubbing movies in German, although that may actually have a big effect (in addition to making foreign movies completely unwatchable even if you speak German).

Henri more than 4 years ago

Being forced to speak a foreign language

I certainly think people should learn foreign languages - as many as possible - and languages like English are particularly useful because they are learnt by many people all over the world.

But the fact that someone has learnt a forced language certainly does not mean that he or she should be forced to use this language when they go to a restaurant or a shop in their city. If there are really shop and restaurant owners who disrespect their customers so much that they want to force them to use a foreign language, they certainly deserve to go out of business.

I find this attitude that everyone who has learnt a foreign language should be ready to use it all the time in everyday life very arrogant.

Why should someone move to another country without learning its language? To live in a little bubble? Yes, it can take some time to learn a language, and there can be many reasons for moving to a country. In many countries, there are quite a lot of jobs without contact with the general public where the working language is English, but it should be obvious that service jobs like in restaurant should be out of the question if someone does not even fulfill the most basic requirement for such jobs.

I know English quite well, and I read research papers and other kinds of literature in English all the time, but types of food are not something I specialize in. This idea to mock people who don't like it when a foreign language is forced on them in everyday life is completely inacceptable, in my view. Some people don't know it well, others generally know it quite well, but they have specialized in other things than types of food. It is certainly extremely bad customer service.

Adrian more than 4 years ago

local language etc etc

I lived in Rabat as a kid and speak fluent French (and Italian and German and English) and got by, but unfortunately not Arabic. (German/English bilingual) When I went back recently, due to some mis-planning, I ended up in this godawful Club Med. Very "international" they considered themselves: only French spoken, you could order pork and beer and go topless. If I From the point of view of the locals, in a way, it seemed like a perfect arrangement: a good way to plan and make space for some types of "travellers" - put 'em amongst themselves, serve 'em what they are used to, lest they feel disturbed by anything new, get 'em to pay extra for all that walling off from real life they require for their endless reaffirmation of how glad locals should be that they are bringing them "international expat culture" and, by analogy, when they have satisfied their thirst for being hip in Berlin while telling Berliners how to be, send 'em on their way...they get what they came for, need to touch no unscreened non French speaking local anything, pay way more than those able to maneuver on their own in local- speaking land, damage nothing worth preserving and off they go. Super concept!! We do have it it in Berlin in some clubs and such. Oh, and thank you for teaching us how to be truly "international", all you Bachelor and Bachelor-ette celebrating crowds, or those of who feel really cheated by, for example, the massage that was just a massage, "not even a hand job", and that crowd of youngsters who asked me one night, and not too nicely, where they might find a bar in Friedrichshain - we were standing on Boxhagener Platz - and when I pointed to about five and answered in their language, they lectured me, no those were not bars they meant with dancing and music, and when I helpfully, I thought, suggested they might be searching for a club, they lectured me, quite insistently, NO, a bar...and so on and so on. As a local I can not possibly know what things are called in Berlin. I need to be taught. Yes. Whatever. And no, it doesn't bother me in the slightest that you get to buy your overpriced vegan lactose free latte and fair clothing and spend many many Euros here. I don't need to engage with you at all except maybe if you want to spend a ton of money, maybe then I will, and you don't need to engage with me. It's cool. There are still plenty of actually cool locations where you are not and PLENTY of super cool people from abroad that are actually worth speaking to and making space for and showing stuff that is dear to me.

Lisa Glauer more than 4 years ago

Speak english

Considering that tourists are the ones who pay the bills in berlin (good luck finding a Berliner who actually has a job) we can speak whatever language we want.

Ken more than 4 years ago

Learn German

Considering that Berliners also pay the bills in Berlin (they have lives too) there is no excuse for not learning German.

Josep more than 3 years ago


what a stupid comment - go back to london or melbourne you sucker

not required more than 3 years ago


i think some of the comments are a bit over sensitive ... she isn't complaining that people speak English in Berlin,...she is complaining that staff that are serving the general public in Berlin ONLY speak English., with little to no German. I don't think it is too much to ask that they should at least be able to take an order in German.

sal more than 4 years ago

häää, was steht hier?

Wo ist Babel oder der Google-Übersetzer.

Keine Ahnung more than 4 years ago

If you were an expat...

If you were an expat in a foreign land, you would quickly find that English is used as a universal means of communication, and most German expats are thankful and take advantage of their above average ability at English when they are away from home. The editor is revealing her envious undertones, which is typical of some aggressive Germans in Berlin: envious of the way their language and culture never quite took off in the same fashion that the U.K, Espaniol, US, and Francais did. If the editor, or any disgruntled, xenophobic German/Berliner reads this, my humble advice is to relax, count to ten, and learn to benefit from those who find your home a great place to visit/live, and maybe they will be encouraged by your newly found hospitality to learn your language; Your German expats abroad are given stellar treatment no matter their foreign language ability. Other expect the same from you when they visit your nation. Don't be so bitter.

Ace more than 4 years ago

She is... an expat

Just to let you know, Julie Colthorpe is English (the name doesn't sound very German, does it?). The editor of the piece also isn't German, she's French. This is a case of expats who learned the language urging others to do the same. It can't hurt.

Walter more than 4 years ago

just chill

They're not exactly providing an important service that will impact your health and life quality long term. It's an Australian restaurant in a international European capital. We expats work hard to learn your language when we plan to stay here long term.These guys might have been hwre for a short term stay to learn more about Germany. Sour people like you give us expats the impression that germans are arrogant, uptight and unsympathetic. Why should we plan to stay here long term if this is the impression we get from the people here. It is obvious that you embellished your story a bit to fit your xenophobic bias. Just chill and enjoy your dining experience. You're not getting a surgery or getting tour taxes filled.
Instead of harshly criticising, you and other Germans should encourage expats with a bit warmth and empathy to learn German. We don't want the German cold pragmatic and conformist general bias confirmed by people like you.

chillersjoy more than 4 years ago

She's not German.

Does the author's name look at the slightest bit German to you? She's made it clear she's a native English speaker.

Josep more than 4 years ago

I try!

Okay so I honestly haven't left a comment on an article in YEARS but felt this was worth commenting on. I'm English and have *loved* the German language since I started learning it at age 11. I'm not fluent but I can certainly hold a conversation without major problems. My only problem is that all of my German friends would rather speak English to me than German! All of them! What's with that?! I don't understand it. I'm actually moving to Berlin in a week's time and I'm hoping more Germans will be a lot more open to actually helping me with learning their wonderful language.

Sophie more than 4 years ago

Outside expat districts

If you socialize outside the usual expat districts, people will definitely speak German with you.

Flurry more than 4 years ago


Honestly, I can't stand foreigners trying to speak and/or sound German. I will just reply in English because it makes me cringe to talk to someone who isn't fluently speaking German without an accent. Wrong pronounciation hurts me physically, though I appreciate the effort in trying to learn the language. But that's just me.

Steffen more than 1 year ago

Big Deal

Big Deal. Come to Richmond, BC Canada. Lots of restaurants where people don't speak English. Food is pretty tasty though.

Mykill more than 4 years ago

Narrow minded Germans

I thought Germany was meant to be the Capital of Europe, well educated German people in a country that has supposedly nothing to export but intelligence. German people seriously need to get with programme and have some understanding for other nationalities and their language abilities.

I'm from South Africa, which is a third world country, and in school we learn 3 languages. How would it be for a German speaking person when the only language a South African would speak with you is either Afrikaans or Xhosa, and refuse to.speak English to you because of the only reason being, this is my country and this is the language we speak here. It's narrow minded and stupid, its no wonder German people are seen as stiff and unfriendly.

Saffa more than 4 years ago

Stiff Germans win

Apperently loose and friendly is only enough for you to be a third-world country. Stiff and unfirendly does the trick!

Noah more than 4 years ago

Politically correct mucj?

I live in America, and I have noticed how many labels are in English AND Spanish. Spanish only became added just to appease the Hispanic population. This reduces the impetus to assimilate into the local Anglophone American culture and learn the official language, English.
I have nothing against Spanish (it's much easier than English IMO). I'm just saying we do not want Germany making this same mistake: bending over for foreigners who refuse to adapt to a new culture and language.

Josep more than 4 years ago


English is not the official language of the US(there is none!), that is meant to change with the population- one of the strengths of it's constitution. So in the future US schools could theoretically teach French, but Spanish is guaranteed to take the place of what in other countries is known as an 'official language'. Just FYI....

FYI more than 2 years ago

No way

Have been living in Austria for 2 years... I cannot even say my name in German.
German is simply too complex for my brain. :)

I am mother tongue in Italian and French.

Cristian more than 4 years ago


Why does no one have to speak English in canada. What happened to my considerate polite country? Can our immigration policy be so bad that we have lost our heritage of an undefind policy of the open door? Is it coming to the point that Donald Trump is credible? I do say I am sorry a lot.. May a little over accomidating..even a sucker. I prefer good and kind but I am not getting the same consideration in return. I try to understand other languages..explain how to say an english word..there seems to be no interest. I am laughed at and no one will tell me what they are saying about me. I like my kind culture that is disapearing. ..sorry ..lol. About the apelling.

Vallerye Cookson more than 5 years ago

patience on both sides

I notice that a lot of the comments about German reactions to English-speakers' attempts to speak German are angry or hostile, whereas I've found the switch to English seems usually motivated out of friendliness (the Germans I have spoken German to in Australia have always loved it, why wouldn't the same people assume we would appreciate the reverse?) or they are trying to be helpful. Very often all it takes is persisting in speaking German and people will switch back. Admittedly, that also probably has to do with my German being more than basic. For those who are at an earlier level, I'd recommend being patient both with yourself and those you're speaking to. Speaking a second language, especially at the early stages, is usually uncomfortable if not outright embarrassing or intimidating, because as a social species we're wired to communicate for survival and we're used to being able to communicate effortlessly in our first language.

So before jumping to the conclusion that someone has switched to English because they're showing off, or think your German is appalling or are simply being an arsehole, remember that you might also be feeling defensive or embarrassed (I know I do). Also, the German you are speaking to is quite possibly also feeling uncomfortable (like humans do generally, when communication is even a little difficult) and that may be why they've switched to English. Not switching to English might be, for them, like trying not to shout when you're straining to have a conversation in a noisy room. My experience is that, if you have patience with yourself and with the person you're speaking to, you'll get less flustered and so feel more able to persist in speaking German, even if you're answered in English. You may end up having a conversation where, ironically, you are each speaking your second language to the other, but you still get to practice your spoken German and find out if you are comprehensible, and you can always practice your conversational comprehension by eavesdropping in public.

Lastly, you should be able to tell, when someone answers you in English, whether they understood your German or not. If you find they're not (or, as some people feel, they're "pretending" they don't) when you feel your German is pretty good by now, check your accent and your intonation (with a native German-speaking friend or teacher). These are the things (especially intonation - ie syllable stress, the "melody" of the language) that most commonly get in the way of a second language speaker being comprehended, and are the hardest things for the speaker to detect in themselves.

af more than 5 years ago

It's not simple

As a native English speaker I was always of the opinion that we were lazy and didn't try. Well that was until my wife and I moved to Germany with her job in 2013. I've had three years learning German and without being big headed I'm pretty good, but as soon as someone notices they try and shift the conversation to English. "But I like English", "I study English" or "I prefer English" come the voices back at me. Well if you like it so fucking much quit your job in Rewe and fuck off and work in Tesco!!!

Christian more than 5 years ago

Be open-minded

Speak in a language that is most comfortable for both speakers. It doesn´t have to be the language of the country you are currently geographically situated in. Do not make it unnecessarily difficult for others by demanding they speak your native language if one clearly does not have a good command of your language. This is the 21st century already. There is no more excuse for nationalist ideologies. When communicating, the most important thing is that one understands the other, not what language one speaks. Be more open-minded. You don´t need to be hostile to foreigners not speaking your language in your neighbourhood.

Vincent more than 5 years ago


I think if you're in a bar in your own country and can't order a drink because the staff don't speak the language of the country they live in that's not right.

Christian more than 5 years ago

It isn't that simple

When people have different native languages it - that is, real life - it isn't that simple. It is imperialistic and a forma of imposing a privilege to force people to speak your language while in their country. This is the 21st century. One should respect their country's culture and language.

Filipe more than 4 years ago

Good tip

Thanks Robert, I'll give that one a try. I'm pissed off with being answered in English when I speak to people in German. I've also tried the 'sorry-I-don't-speak-English' angle with some success.

David more than 5 years ago

thumbs up

I liked your article, and the comments are possibly even better.

Slobodan more than 5 years ago


In 2001 you could get around quite fine without any serious knowledge of the German language.

nigg1 more than 5 years ago


This is the second time I am reading your article. I read it a year ago when i came to Berlin and now a year later after passing a B2 exam in German and living here for a year I am not treated any better :( To tell you the truth i was searching for a reason why we respect germans so much in most of the foreign countries i lived in and why you radicals treat foreigners like shit in your country... I cant understand. Since i live here i was attacked twice by nazis. So sad... looks like we did not learn everything needed for peaceful life in world war two. And please don't insult me for my spelling errors, english is also not my first language!

Jana more than 5 years ago

I have a question...

I don't care about your spelling. It's the underlying message that counts.
The attitudes in one part of Germany (e.g. Munich) will be different from the attitudes of another (e.g. Stuttgart).
The question is, do the German tourists who you respect make any effort to speak the languages of those countries?
It's one thing to ask a foreigner to learn the host's language. It's another thing if a foreigner ask the natives to learn his/her home's language.

Josep more than 4 years ago

Who can read it?

Also ich muss zugeben Deutsch ist nicht die einfachste Sprache das ist wahr. Und an die, die in den Coments geschrieben haben das sie es scheiße finden das sie dort kein Job gefunden haben, weil sie kein fließend Deutsch sprechen oder das viele sie auf Englisch nicht verstehen können. Was wäre wenn mehrere Deutsche nach England oder Amerika kommen würden für einen Job? Würdet ihr nicht auch verlangen das sie gut oder perfekt Englisch sprechen könnt? Das wäre genau das selbe nur umgekehrt. Und an die, die irgendetwas mit Nazis geschrieben haben. Die Zeit ist vorbei kapiert? Und warum ich das hier auf Deutsch schreibe? I don't know. An die dies lesen können. Respect

Chris more than 6 years ago

Learn english

You realize this article is in English right? When you come to the uk or Spain during holidays and don't speak a word are you treated the same way?

more than 5 years ago

Holiday = Migration

cant see whats wrong with that train of thought

Lukas more than 2 years ago

Bravo Chris!

Gute Antwort, genau meine Meinung and I'm English.

Sylviw more than 5 years ago


Naturlich kapiert.
Thanks for your wise ass comments.
I would speak English in one sentence, fluent German the second, just to totally be annoying and confuse you.
Wuensche dabei einen guten tag.
Stuff that in your bag of goodies.
See ya.

Madison more than 4 years ago


A German with no English CAN come to the UK and get a factory job or hotel job etc the next day
without fluency, earn a living, whilst further studying and socialising, without the weight of where to find rent and money for bills and food, have free NHS and settle in very easily, An English person will NOT be so lucky in Germany, they will be shunned by employment agencies - for even the most basic factory work - and they will be stressed trying to find an income to pay rent, bill, food AND chased for health insurance payments - learning a language whilst stressed is not really possible. On top of that the Germans are withholding with the language and really do hate foreigners - just admit it. And worst of all - most Germans speak bare German, no depth and using same phrases over and over again. So a complex language that even the locals really dont like to utilise to its fullest.

C. Nisbett more than 2 years ago

How Berliners could help

An important part of learning a language is using it day-to-day. Sadly as soon as a beginner shows signs of weakness in their attempts to speak German, most Berliners will revert immediately to English. This is no good at all. I enjoy going to the bank or Apotheke because they less often do this - they will meet you in the middle, simplify and slow down their speech and be understanding in trying to understand what you are saying. This is fantastic and exactly what is needed. It is also what people do in other cities, where they don't speak much English.

There are a few reasons for this I guess, two spring to mind. First, Germans sometimes want to practise their English - which is cool, but don't do it then complain that Anglophones are not learning German! Second, impatient staff at bars and shops seems to have customer service low own on their priorities, and just want to get customers out of the way as quickly as possible. I guess when there's a queue of people that's fair, but if there's time then persist with the German and help integrate people more, then do it!

And perhaps drop the crappy attitude toward non-German speakers. Perhaps aggression and animosity encourage some people to learn, but I'd guess gentle encouragement and support would help more.

Ben more than 6 years ago

Being answered in English

I think being constantly answered in English because you have a foreign accent or are making lots of mistakes can be frustrating, especially when you are already quite good at the language.

However, there are a few things you can do about this. For example if you ask for, say, directions in German and the reply comes back in English, just repeat back to the person what they just said in German 'for confirmation'. 90% of the time they will realise you do actually know the language and will continue in German.

Quite often though, the person is showing off or just using you to practice their English. How you deal with this is up to you, but if you are faced with an a**hole and you are a native speaker of English remember that if you talk completely naturally as if you are talking to another native speaker the a**hole will lose the thread of what you are saying within about ten seconds. Then you repeat what you just said in German.

In a bar or restaurant if you order in German and the barman speaks back to you in English, keep talking back in German. If they persist make it more difficult for them by saying something like 'You wouldn't happen to be able to see your way to getting us another one, could you?' instead of saying 'One beer, please.' They won't understand, and you can then stare at them for about 3 seconds before repeating your order in German. Works every time.

Obviously, if you do this you have to keep a totally innocent-looking face on you at all times so that it doesn't look deliberate.

robert more than 5 years ago


Wonderful. I'll learn that one phrase by heart 'You,wouldn't....'

Rainer more than 5 years ago


Wonderful. I'll learn that one phrase by heart 'You,wouldn't....'

Rainer more than 5 years ago

it is easier to run the Marathon than rent in Berlin

My latest joke is really happening.
Ive run the Marathon and been given another lie why a German landlord wont rent to me.
Its a surreal situation being passed over for a 15 year white brat that has no job and pays no tax.

For what reason should we learn German for the none industry or the racism?.
The only way i can live here will if i rent off an xpat.

joe bentley more than 6 years ago


I applaud you for pointing this out. As someone who had lived in germany but over 30 years ago, I work very hard at my German just in case I get to come back! I'm still not very good at it but you can bet I will put my best effort out there because I want my experince in Germany to be Deutch, not generic Americanische/Englische. If I wanted that, I'd just stay here.

Lisa from California more than 6 years ago


Wie ironisch, dass jeder hier klagt auf Englisch über niemanden sprechen Deutsch.

Wolf more than 6 years ago

Ich Stimme, von England

Ich stimme zu! Meiner meinung nach jemand kann ein bisschen Deutsch lernen. Die A1 und A2 prüfungen sind nicht zu schwer, aber viele Personen sind zu faule bei fremd Sprache lernen.

Tom more than 6 years ago

Perfect article

I am living in Cologne and don't speak a word of German - well I can get my stuff in kiosk or in rewe..enough..but unluckily, cologne is not as international as Berlin and here is lucking english speaking community! Cologne was probably a wrong choice!! Well, be honest - German is not that attractive language and I am not staying that long, so I rather learn languages I need for my career (I already can speak three). But if Germany only to Berlin next time!

Bora more than 6 years ago

fuck you

berlin is a great city. not everyone is able to learn german - for instance i studied for 6 years but i just cant grasp it... so only those that can or are intelligent enough should be able to live there? i love berlin but ill never be able to grasp the language .... i thought germans wanted to be European not german? either way id give my left leg to live there but ill never be able to have a full conversation in german only basic convo ... so i guess im not good enough to live there?

jack more than 6 years ago


well germany is a weird country i wanted job there at the factory but they all want someone with almost fluent german, do they really can't speak any english at all? They expect me to know it perfectly before i can even go there cause I they wanna check it on the phone doggone nazis at it again...

V8 more than 6 years ago

When in Rome...

Hoe would you feel if a foreigner came to your country and demanded that you speak his/her language? Since when is it the natives' fault that you can't speak their language? I think this mindset you're showing is the same one the author is complaining about in this editorial.
You're in THEIR country. Ergo, you have to adapt to their cultural norms. The concept is simple, but the actual process is not for the faint-of-heart.

Josep more than 4 years ago

Naive racist or both, Germans are back at it again

We try understanding expats who are new in the uk, there is no excuse or justification for behaving rude to anyone who can't speak the local language, maybe if they are regulars at a store and for more then three months but behaving rude as described here is another example of racism in germany, Germans do not speak a word of Spanish in Mallorca when they get pissed at a hotel or beach, sorry but the whole immigration subject is probably propaganda to relieve their behavior towards foreigners, especially European expats who they resent for stopping their slave camps during the war.

Mia Rafael more than 5 years ago

The last part is bogus

The slave camps are meanimgless here. Today's Germans have nothing to do with the war.

Josep more than 4 years ago

Another thing...

We English-speakers can set an example for them. I've heard of Britons not learning the language either, but that doesn't make the German tourists you bumped into any less guilty, especially since Merkel has opened up the German borders to let in millions of Muslims who refuse to speak German and assimilate. This open-borders policy is a sham.
P.S. as I said before, why bring up the war? It's all over now.

Josep more than 4 years ago

Not sure what the point of that was

Open door policy reflects tourism? I dunno, but I can walk down in England and only hear Erdu so I guess we’re all guilty

Willy more than 1 year ago

re: fuck you

"ill never be able to have a full conversation in german only basic convo ... so i guess im not good enough to live there?"

you guessed it.

chris more than 5 years ago


German is not an official language in Germany. You can look in consitution and you'll be very disappointed. So fuck all moralities. I speak both and don't care weather you speak only English or only German or both 😂😁😀

Laughter more than 6 years ago

Are you depressed?

I really enjoy this article. Maybe you were trying to be direct, but it sounds a little bit snobish. Sorry, my english is not really good. I was migrant / foreign / expat in London, whatever you want to call me, and I was not able to learn the language completely.
You are right. The moral of your fable is right. But maybe because this website is called ex berliner, it sounds like a sad and long story in the german winter weather!

Frank Gaviria more than 6 years ago


I'm from Russia. Me and my wife had a vacation in Greece. On a lonely beach we met a german couple. I tried to speak German to them, which i'd been trying to study for many years, albeit without success. They ansewered me in English ALL the time. When i offered them to go on a tour together to some greek town they just fled away saying they had no time. Ridiculous and ..k these fuck..ng Germans

Ильнур Сафин more than 6 years ago

how well aquainted are you with german tourists?

just saying but going on a holiday as a german is no funny buisness, we know what we will do, when we will do it and how much we will like it before we've enter'd the plain.

when they said they dont have time im rather inclined to bleief they already planned out the whole holiday, prepaid everything and are just in execution mode.

Lukas more than 2 years ago

Rather bitter than sweet

I wasn't sure if this was just me or not but like other commentators here, I used to live in different countries in my life. In May this year I moved to Germany. I was happy that I would finally master German and live in Europe again. This is the end of August and I'm sick and tired. I do not even complaint that I cannot find job here, is it more about how Germans (of course not all) treat immigrants. When I learnt Japanese in Japan, I was eager to speak as soon as I started to learn, they were very supportive! Same with English, Ukrainian etc. But with German?! This is nuts. I start to really heat up when while struggling in German as I response I receive "WIE BITTE?!?!?!" - supportive as hell! I hate it when somebody calls me, again I struggle in German, pointing out that I'm learning and still bad in German, they simply don't care, no slower speaking, no simple German use, instead again and again and again I hear "you are in Germany, you should speak German". For the God's SAKE!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm learning your language, I'm trying hard as hell, but at the end of the day I'm always compared to some lazy ignorants (who according to Germans I guess...) threaten "German language continuity...." All in all, I must admit, I wasn't prepared for such an obnoxious behavior from many middle-aged Germans. I didn't hoped they would all speak perfect English, but to be more supportive. Hate to bring the Polish-German topic here, but when they come to Poland, they don't even use polish names for our cities but german, and they speak absolutely NO polish. Moreover, they expect everybody to speak German, since those lands used to be theirs during the war. However nobody makes a big deal out of it, as nobody wants to evoke some unnecessary discussions about the past.

Lena more than 6 years ago

Spot on!

Yip the article gets it right. I´m sorry to say it seems that many coming to Berlin don´t make an effort to learn the language.
Just try, nobody expects you to be fluent or perfect. A few words in German can break the ice, and it IS very much appreciated if you do.
On a serious note, if you really plan on living and working in Germany how on earth do you think that
will work if you don´t have a firm grasp of the OFFICIAL language?
You will end up living in your little parallel cosmos imagining yourself part of the nouveau vogue.
Please don´t be one of them…. you´ll miss out!

Douglas more than 6 years ago

As for German Neukolln it is German now(.

This is new experience to see the whole Immigrant community done over by the Germans.
Berlin is throwing away the whole city.Might aswel learn Russian the Billionaires will take the whole lot next.
Dare the media write about all this).

joe bentley more than 6 years ago

can you speak German

The joy of renting in Berlin.Us dumb immigrants no one can speak English and when you ask what is the name on the buzzer they dont know there own name.I hope this doesnt happen to Germans its funny but slightly annoying.

joe bentley more than 6 years ago

That's Berlin

Every time someone is whining about expats, it's always centered on the crappy rude and uncultured American. Even though I can count the number of Brits who speak another language on one hand, and no Aussies that do, you have decided to take the one arrogant American and glorify his idiocy. Perhaps you should also mention the lack of Aussies anywhere, I mean anywhere, that speak anything other than English. I know more Americans who speak fluent Chinese, Russian, Spanish, French, Italian and Germans than the entire population of the UK and Australia I have met combined.

There are many people who are learning German; in Munich, you have to. Foreigners like Berlin's international feel that doesn't require German. I have lived in 7 countries in the last 15 years and studied 5 languages, but I will tell you, the Germans are the LEAST supportive of your efforts to speak German at all. They simple chuck, relishing in your feeble babbling and confusion with genetiv or dativ, etc. They just tell you how hard it is, laugh at your mistakes, and remind you how impossible it is. They are so critical of everyone and everything and do nothing to actually encourage you to learn or continue. I can see how it would be annoying that you were in an Australian restaurant (if you love Germany so much, why not eat German food and really participate culturally?) and you wanted them to speak German, but you forget how many foreigners from many countries come to work here because they have no options at home. They are doing their best, and many of them don't even speak English and are really struggling to learn German.

So, perhaps your rant is a bit unfair. Also, German is difficult, and not everyone is able to pick it up as quickly as you; you don't need to treat everyone like an idiot.

Kathrine more than 6 years ago


Nearly two thirds of all native English speakers are American, so therefore it of course follows that most boorish mono-lingual English speakers are American. But Katherine I think your contention is also correct, that Americans in Germany are more likely to speak good German that citizens of the other English speaking countries. But this I cannot back up with statistics, it is just a personal observation.

Mario more than 6 years ago

Very well said.

I hope the 800,000 illegals flooding Germany can speak German. The Germans may get annoyed!

Colorado Bill more than 6 years ago

Chauvinistic Germans

I am a native Dutchie, but spent a big part of my high school years in the US. There I haven't learnt a word of German. As I am a currently studying in Germany, I am struggling with the language. You think you get a lot of criticism as a native English speaker, as a Dutch person I get even more (negative) comments for not speaking the language. It is true that our languages have similarities (although Dutch grammar is so much simpler, who made up the whole einer, einem, einen rule?!).
But even when I am trying my best to speak German, I get laughed at for my poor pronunciation and my grammar mistakes.

Normally, I want to learn the language of the country I live in as fast as possible, but here in Germany I barely make an effort anymore. The arrogance is disgusting, when I just arrived people just refused to talk to me if I asked if they spoke English to take care of administrative tasks for my stay (Foreign office, city hall in general, student admissions office). Conversational German is one thing, getting administration done filling in really complicated German forms is another. And who hires monolingual people for a FOREIGN OFFICE?!. At least get someone there to speak English.
My experience in the doctor's office was similar. None of the people at the desk could speak a word of English (in Bremen, not a small town or anything). We actually drove over the border to Holland to get treatment, cause I lost all faith when the doctor just stubbornly continued in German with an occasional English word thrown in.

I don't demand German people to speak Dutch in Holland. Most German students I met who were studying fulltime in Holland could barely put together a sentence, never mind pronouncing it the correct way.
90% of Dutchies can hold a conversation in English, the majority speaks more than 2 languages (French or German). And we don't scoff or laugh at you when you try the Dutch language, we are actually flattered when people want to learn and try to help them as much as possible.

You can't demand from people to speak YOUR language when YOU can't even bother to learn a second language yourself. I am not surprised even, the German people I met here (Northern Germany), are so clique, why should you learn another language? If you only hang out with other Germans.

I have lived in the US, Australia, England, Wales and Italy which have all been wonderful experiences and I was sad every time I had to leave, but I won't moarn one moment when I leave Germany. I have declined two amazing job offers here, but I can't see myself staying here for another couple of years. That's right, I'd rather live in a country with a high unemployment rate and shitty economy than in high and mighty Germany.

Funny thing is that the Germans I met in the US and Australia were really open and extraverted and totally not like the German people here. Which was part of my motivation to study in Germany. Apparently all the 'good' Germans emigrate :P

Marissa more than 6 years ago

Stereotyping (a bit)?

I'm very sorry that you've made such bad experiences with people laughing at your german proficiency - Actually, the dutch accent sounds charming to german ears.

As a german studying at HKA Arnhem in the late 90s I've never made such experiences.That might be dure to the fact that I, noticing how many of my fellow german students simply expected to be accomodated by the Dutch (the Arnhem folk speak a very, very good german - but it's still the Netherlands, and not a german Colony), got into the habit of asking "Mag Ick Deuts met u praten?" or "Mag Ick Engels met u praten?" whenever I stumbled over a phrase.
The dutch seemed to be delighted with that very simple courtesy ("A polite german! Quick, grab him - somebody get a camera!"). I do have to admit I was pretty anxious about moving to the Netherlands, since there a poll revealed that about 75% of young dutch people (at the time) thought the majority of germans to be neo-nazis.
I did have some unpleasant experiences with nationalist prejudices against germans, but by & large I found the dutch to be friendly, helpfull and ... more relaxed that us. Not in a "slacker" sense, but they lacked this basic low-level tension/anxiety (or stiffness) that is so much part of german culture I only noticed it when abroad. You could say that many germans "never fully relax their shoulders".

What you are right about is the grammar - and here we germans do indeed have an advantage learning Dutch. The vocabulary is veryvery similar and the dutch grammar is closer to English, our first foreign language, whereas most dutch people study german as second language.

I can also attest to the Ausländeramt being particularly obnoxious about language - I work at University & one of my favorite stories is how my colleague Arijit (Indian), who spoke decent English, but no german, told us they required him to bring a german to translate for him. It took me five minutes to realize the obvious, and when I got to his office and asked him HOW they had explained to him that he needed a translator, he told me with a small grin: "In English, of course!".

Germans study english as first foreign language for either 6 or 8 years - but until very, very recently, they never really needed to practice it after school - a Canadian friend told me that germans are the best at apologizing for their inability to converse in English - speaking English. For the most part that is them feeling awkward - since they know how rusty their english has become - but I don't doubt that some are also simply asshats.

@Mekirin: However, I cannot help but agreing on with my former alma mater in Arnhem: "If you want to live and study in our country, learn our language." While the dutch were very friendly and acommodating, they were adamant about that rule - despite their excellent german. They simply didn't want to be taken advantage of.
Especially when you work in the front office - you have to speak the language of the country you live in

Andreas more than 6 years ago

Nederlands vs. Duits

Ik vind het jammer dat er niet meer duitsers zijn die nederlands leren, het is echt veel makkelijker voor hen dan voor nederlanders. Ik ben amerikaan en ik heb beide talen geleerd, hoewel ik moet zeggen dat ik tamelijk beter duits spreek. Ik vind het jammer dat europeanen niet meer vreemde talen leren, alle denken dat ze gewoon met iedereen in het engels kunnen praten. Het is altijd beter als je met mensen in hun moedertaal kunt communiceren!
Overigens, ik hou van jullie land! Nederland is echt leuk voor fietstochten :)

Jack more than 5 years ago

The opposite is also true

I have just moved to Austria, having learned 2 months of German from where I came from wasn't enough to prepare what I was about to experience here. The task of furnishing my apartment with half of my A1 level completed was much harder than I had thought. I have been hung up on the phone by customer service staff more times than I had in my entire customer-service-dealing in the past, because I don't speak enough German for them to understand my problem. I even got a blatant (from what I gathered due to the tone and a few words which were similar to English) "this is Austria, if you want to speak English, go call some English-speaking countries." I mean, I can also speak 5 other languages, but they wouldn't understand them either. I bought the washing machine from their company, here, why should I call another country? In a city where it's full of expats working for International organizations, they certainly don't care enough for non-German speakers' business. When I bought that washing machine, they didn't tell me I have to speak Deutsch before I could buy it; my money couldn't speak German, why did they take it then? Most locals here think I am one of those who've lived here long enough to know German or those who refuse to learn, but I wasn't. I was 2 weeks old (now 4 months and still struggling), a lone female trying to furnish her apartment. I am learning German, but fluency/half fluency is not going to happen overnight. I was told that Austrians learned English in school, but from what I gathered, their English is more rusty than my A1 level of German. I continue to patron non-English speaking shops who are still most times rude to me, but take my business anyway. This is why most of my colleagues, have try to either buy goods from international companies who have some staff who speak English, no matter how basic, i.e. Ikea. My boss had enough of such attitude (his wife is Austrian but even she cannot stand it), he simply gave a call to Italy and the next week they shipped & installed the beautiful Italian kitchen the following week.

In the country where I came from, we're very accommodating to foreigners, and English is common spoken in shops, and signs everywhere. hence I cannot understand this "speak German or die" culture here. I told my German teacher why I wanted to learn German, she said if I speak/understand perfect German, the locals would be more rude to me, since they know I would be able to understand all the swear words. I didn't have any discrimination against Germans before coming here and even have German friends, but after experienced many very rude German customer service treatments, I am beginning to think "this is normal" for them. But I am from a culture where people are polite and treat each other nicely. Maybe I should start treating German-speaking tourists who come to my country badly as revenge? Narrow minded such.

mekirin more than 6 years ago

I don't like political correctness

If what you learned wasn't enough, then grow a thick skin and learn some more.

Josep more than 4 years ago


I've been traveling for 10 years now and have spent the past two years as an American expat in Atyrau, Kazakhstan. It is an oil town so there are people from all over the world who work here temporarily. I feel this writer's frustration because it tends to be monolingual people from the English-speaking countries who make little effort to learn the language of where they live. No one is expected to be perfectly proficient, but I think that everyone can make an effort.

Diana Zhao more than 6 years ago

heil hitler

Only german speakers should live, all others should die..... nothing changed about your opinions since WW2, oder?

hitler more than 6 years ago


Seriously??? You didn't get the article, right?

Cara more than 6 years ago

Are you dumb?

Or maybe you're just illiterate.

Herp Derp more than 6 years ago

Germans abroad

I'm wondering what would happen if, when on vocation abroad, Germans were treated the same way they treat foreigners in Germany.

emily more than 6 years ago

Read the $%#&@ article

The author is a native English speaker. Does her name even LOOK German by any means?? She is talking about foreigners, particularly English-speaking expats, not assimilating to the host country's culture, let alone learning the language. It's not black or white.
This immediately reminds me of how Spanish became an official language in the United States when it wasn't supposed to: the immigrants failed to learn English, so Spanish had to be added to accomodate them!
P.S. 'Nazi' is short for 'National Socialist'. Last time I checked, wasn't socialism a leftist ideology? The same leftists who force political correctness on us?

Josep more than 4 years ago

German Learning

Completely agree with you i also faced the same problem in language differentiation.But then i followed http://preply.com/en/skype/english-native-speakers it has really helped me in polishing my language skills.You can also try it

Deepika Aman Jain more than 6 years ago

its great to learn

I am currently living in duisburg and I have to say I came here thinking it will be fine I can get a job I speak english They will understand me . No one speaks english or are to scared to make a mistake which is very fraustrating But then I thought hold on im in there country I should speak there language so joined a class straight away HOWEVER when applying and trying to find out about the course not one single person in the school could help me as they had no idea what I was saying as they didnt understand english. Luckily for me I have a english speaking germen girlfriend who I had to call to come and translate for me.
This got me thinking how hard it must be if you dont speak germen or english and what a barrier this must be and so intimadating for them no wonder people stick to there own language and for communitys.
but I do agree some people are lazy shits and only want to reap the benifits of a system or culture not realising with there aragunce they are spoiling it.
fear of making a mistake is my biggest issue lol but I have just landed a bar job to boost or destroy my confidence .
who is to blame ? The person ? The system ? What

carl more than 6 years ago

What a loud of horse$^£&

How narrow minded can you get? That was a waste of my time reading this shit. Open your mind and maybe keep your stupid opinions to yourself.

Ed Hoare more than 6 years ago

Not a load of b****cks, when you think about it.

Freedom of speech. Wenn du schon mitten drin festgestellt hattest, dass der ganz Artikel nirgends hinführte, hättest DU dir entscheiden sollen, aufzuhören.

Außerdem war das Adjektiv «stupid» schon gar nicht angemessen, du NIMMST an OHNE jegliche Begründung, die Meinung der Bloggerin sei bescheuert/stupid. Wieso? Julie C. hat sich mindesten die Mühe gemacht, ein Argument zu gegeben. Schießen und weglaufen. Sehr ehrenhaft.

Wenn man so eine »Kritik« hinterlässt, musst man sich derselben unterwerfen: «Maybe keep your stupid opinions to yourself.»

P. S: wie soll es bitte schön «naschlirrow-minded» sein, zu sagen, man soll(te) sich die Kultur/Sprache aneignen? Welche Haltung erweist sich als mehr weltoffen? Diese oder die, die meint: »Wo ich auch immer ich hingehe, scheiß ich auf die lokale Kultur und erwarte ich, dass ich MEINE auf die Einwohner aufdrängen kann, obwohl ich zuhause verlange, dass Ausländer meine Sprache sprechen.«? Gewiss pauschalisiert dies die Möglichkeiten, dennoch weist hoffentlich nach, dass das, was du Julie C. unterstellst, eine mangelhafte Kritik ist.

Ditto more than 6 years ago

learning German

I'm in German only for 20 days now ,learning German ... German language is a kind of language that you feel you can't wait to master...I feel Jealous when i hear german people speaking :)

MEMO more than 6 years ago


i need to learn it for school stfu i feel like raging this shit and setting the school on fire, all these dumbfucks cant learn english so the rest has to change and learn german, not very logic, im only 14 and im quite good at english, now i need to learn fucking german too, wtf why

assshitfuckgerman more than 6 years ago

This is ridiculous!

Geeze, person, entitled much? While I agree that anyone living in a country should definitely try to learn the language and that there are entitled jerks out there who believe the rest of the world should cater to their laziness, there is nothing wrong with immigrant communities speaking their native language with each other. In every country you will find communities like "Little China" or "Little India" in which they cater to their own culture and language. Many of the people in these areas speak little or nothing of any language but their native one. It's normal to want to hold on to your homeland as it's a huge part of who you are. If you don't like English restaurants and American food, then don't go to those restaurants.

Also, did it occur to you that those restaurants are a perfect place for new immigrants to work while they ARE attempting to learn the local language? Who else is going to hire them in a new country where they only speak their native language? Where will these new immigrants eat/shop/socialize until they can speak enough German to not feel alone in a room full of people? Try and look at from the other person's shoes.

Peramia more than 6 years ago

Only English?

Can you tell me about more places where there's only English speaking staff? A friend of mine moved to Berlin and is starting to learn German but in the meanwhile she needs to find a job and I guess her best option would be to find a place where she could communicate in English. Do you know any place around Bellevue or Tiergarten?

Cesar Vicente more than 6 years ago

ha ha

she shd go to Neukölln Prenzlauer Berg Mitte etc.

Jacinta Nandi more than 6 years ago

Thank you, Julie

It's very simple: if you're coming for a holiday to Germany/Berlin, you certainly don't have to learn German. If you're planning on staying you really should. I was mortified when I recently went to a cafe that was all-english: the staff didn't speak German, the menu was only available in English...I ended up translating most things for my friend. It upset me a lot. It feels like the people come to Berlin because it's a cool city and then they miss out on so much that makes this city unique. If you're not ready to integrate into a society, just leave, please. And yes, I have learned the language every time I've lived in a foreign country (USA, Peru, Switzerland).

Berlin,Alter! more than 6 years ago

Oh please

lol, I will be delighted to tell German students to F off out of the Netherlands for not learining to speak Dutch which would be a good 80-90%.

Marissa more than 6 years ago

Echt waar?

Ik begrijp niet hoe is het mogelijk in Nederland te studeren zonder kennis van de taal. Ik ben Duitser en heb in Amsterdam gestudeerd. Maar dat was 1979. Andere tijd. En vanzelfsprekend was dat alleen mogelijk omdat ik Nederlands kon spreken en verstaan. Schrijven was echter altijd wat moeilijker. ( I can't understand how it is possible to study in the Netherlands without knowing the language. I am German and I studied in Amsterdam. But that Was 1979. Different times. And that was only possible because I spoke and understood Dutch. Writing however was more difficult.)

Rainer more than 5 years ago

ik ben akkord

Het is echt jammer dat (vooral engelstalige maar ook duitstalige) buitenlanders nauwelijks nederlands leren als ze naar Nederland verhuizen. Ik woon helemaal niet in Nederland maar ik kan het tamelijk goed spreken omdat het voor duitstalige mensen echt niet zo moeilijk is. Zo veel luie mensen in de wereld... :P

Jack more than 5 years ago

They deserve it!

Just look at how "well" Germans adapt to foreign languages abroad or at home.
No need to criticize expats on speaking English.

Thomas more than 6 years ago

@Thomas »They deserve it!«

Hmmm… on the one hand

(1) P(learn & use the local language | person is German) >> P(learn & use the local language | person is Northamerican). Brits are part of europe and learn the languages of their neighbours, so I wouldn't lump them with the isolated Northamericans, it is in fact (2) P(learn+use local language | German) ~ P(learn+use local language | English).

But I agree with you to some extent. This is the destructive pragmatic tendency of the world: the neglectful or wanting extermination of diversity through mindlessly following and obey big movements of natural selection in sociological evolution. Germans are as bad as Anglo-Saxons if not worse, they promote a foreign language in their own country to the detriment of their own. In Britain its the other way around: foreign languages are promoted (just go into any airport, observe the french, german, russian, jewish schools — yes this exists in Germany too, but Germany promotes one foreign language (english) lopsidedly above all others, whereas in Great Britain foreign languages are generally more equally nurtured) and the local language is upheld with pride. In Germany one thinks, one HAS to be ashamed of using the local language, or even apologise for using it with foreigners. In England one forces foreigners even with broken to 0 knowledge to live/work/operate in the local language.

Thank you very much (sarcasm), people, for destroying, being ashamed or not promoting local languages!

Daniel more than 6 years ago

Kritik der reinen Unvernunft

Es gibt mehrere Faktoren, die schon zum großen Teil von anderen aufgelistet worden sind. Hier also mein Beitrag: in Deutschland erlebt man eine etwas heuchlerische Haltung. Das Land ist (trotz seiner Vergangenheit) noch ziemlich ausländerfeindlich — vor allem gegenüber denjenigen, die seit Generationen hierher eingewandert sind: es wird über sie gemeckert und heißt oft, sie beherrschen das Deutsche schlecht, lehnen Kultur ab, usw. Andererseits, wenns um Englischsprachiger geht, isses plötzlich in Ordnung, dass sie sich verweigern, die Kultur anzunehmen, die Sprache zu verwenden, usw. Der Nordamerikaner darf sich seiner Landessprache bedienen … aber der Russe und der Franzose nicht. Was soll das? Gabs nicht genauso eine starke Verbindung zu den Russen und Franzosen wie zu den Amis? Die Russische Kultur wurde praktisch vom Land vertrieben, und die (nicht englische sondern) US-amerikanische genießt Verehrung?? Deutschland hasst Araber, Perser, Vietnamesen, Polen und Russen, wenn die zu Hause arabisch, persisch, vietnamesisch, polnisch, russisch sprechen … aber der Einmarsch des Englischen ist erlaubt?? Überall in Läden, im Radio, im Fernsehen an den Unis, in den Banken, knien die Deutschen —nicht vor der wahren Quelle des Englisch: den Engländern — sondern in Deutschland herrscht eine Rivalität zu denen— vor den US-amerikanern. Warum?

Will Deutschland eine echte Integration fördern oder nicht? Wenn ja, dann muss und sollte mal ALLE Fremdkulturen sowie -sprachen gleich und nicht parteiisch behandelt werden.

Ein zum Teil besseres Vorbild hierfür ist Frankreich: vielleicht der einzige andere große Staat neben, der auf seine Sprache in der ganzen Welt stolz ist. Die übliche Ausreden lauten etwa: „Ja, aber es ist anders. Unsere Sprache ist zu kompliziert, klingt hart, und keiner würde uns verstehen.“ Von wegen unschön und von wegen kompliziert! Kompliziert sind Sprachen wie Polnisch, Chinesisch, Türkisch, Russisch, Isländisch, Ungarisch, Finnisch, Estnisch. Und was es das Verstehen angeht: pah! Frankreich scheißt drauf, und singt immer noch auf die Landessprache bei der Grand Prix — genauso Island und Ungarn (trotz deren viel komplizierteren Sprachen!). Warum muss sich immer „Germany“ vor anderen wegen seiner Sprache zurückhalten? Die Sprache gilt doch als meist gelernte Drittsprache!

Was es jetzt andere angeht, die nach Deutschland kommen: wenn ihr einmal die ganze Zeit englisch reden wollt, dann (1) falls ihr aus englischsprachigen Ländern kommt, fragt euch bitte, was für ein Vorbild ihr seid für die anderen Ausländer; fragt euch bitte, wieso ihr euch eurer Sprache bei der Arbeit und an der Uni oder mit Fremden bedienen dürft und sie nicht; (2) falls ihr NICHT aus dem Englischen Sprachraum kommt … warum zum Henke habt ihr denn Englisch gelernt, nur nach Deutschland (oder welchem Land auch immer) zu fahren/leben/arbeiten/studieren? Warum nicht mal diejenige Wirtschaft unterstützen, von wo genannte Sprache herkommt, die ihr so sehr liebt?

Senf more than 6 years ago

Du sprichst mir aus der Seele!

Ich bin mit allem, was du geschrieben hast, ganz einer Meinung. Ich finde es zum Kotzen, wie der durchschnittliche unbekümmerte Amerikaner durch die Gegend hüpft und bedenkenslos sich der englischen Sprache bedient, als wäre er noch in den Staaten. Dabei muss ich aber auch sagen, dass die Deutschen (hinsichtlich der Sprache vor allem englischsprachigen) Ausländern die Integration nicht besonders leicht machen, da so viele sofort auf jede Möglichkeit, ihr Schulenglisch rauszuposaunen oder einfach zu üben, drauf losspringen. Deshalb verlieren auch so viele Leute den Mut, Deutsch zu lernen, weil immer von deutscher Seite aus so viel Druck ausgeübt wird, auf Englisch umzusteigen, wenn ihr Gegenüber beim Deutschsprechen unsicher wirkt. Das habe ich aber nicht nur in Deutschland, sondern auch in vielen anderen westeuropäischen Ländern erlebt, sprich: Niederlande, Frankreich, sogar Spanien! Allerdings war ich in den jeweiligen Hauptstädten, wo sowieso mehr Englisch gesprochen wird, aber trotzdem. Lustigerweise wurde ich aber in Ungarn trotz meiner elementaren Ungarischkenntnisse fast nie auf Englisch angesprochen. Trotzdem ist dem Englischen heutzutage leider Gottes kaum mehr aus dem Weg zu gehen, was für Sprachenliebhaber wie mich besonders nervig ist. Ich könnte zu diesem Thema bestimmt noch einen ganzen Roman schreiben, aber ich halte mich da mal zurück :P Inzwischen ist mein Deutsch gut genug, dass mir in Deutschland nie auf Englisch geantwortet wird. Viele merken nicht mal, dass ich kein Deutscher bin. Nur wenn ich mal erwähne, dass ich geborener US-Amerikaner bin, merke ich, wie die Anzahl an Anglizismen im Redefluss meines Gesprächspartners gelegentlich steigt (immer diese Angeber... seufz...)

Jack more than 5 years ago

and yet these Americans are probably the same ones...

And yet these Americans, clinging stubbornly to the language of their birth, are probably have the same mindset as the folks in the USA who shout the loudest "Learn English" at immigrants gathering in the "Little Ethiopia", "Little Italy" or "Little Mexico" enclaves here in the States. SMDH.

IMHO: If you live in a country you should make some attempt to learn some level of fluency in that country's language.

Now, if I could just get the locals to learn any one of the 300+ First Nation languages, we'd be set!

Hell_On_Wheelz on Twitter more than 6 years ago

This rant is spot on

I've lived in 17 countries and have encountered the behaviour described here among ex-pats (the word of choice for immigrants who happen to speak some English) in all 17 of those countries. The funny part is that the most anglocentric ex-pats I've had the bad luck to encounter were usually not native English speakers, who somehow learned some English and felt the need to share their newfound discovery on the rest of the world. Oddly enough, I find that most native English Speakers, like myself, many Americans, the odd Brit, and even some Aussies are often interested and keen on learning other languages. It's sad that these wannabe ex-pats need to speak English (rather than their own language, or the language of their host country) to feel better about themselves, and I feel embarrased for them.

Ryan more than 7 years ago

So true!!!

So true! I met a Russian at language meetup here in Germany who had lived here for over two years and still spoke no German! She was apparently convinced she could just waltz on through her life in Germany and just speak English with everyone (which she did). All I could do is facepalm... ugh...
And then these Expats get even more excited when they find out you're from an English-speaking country! They all clammer to practice their English with you. My answer is always: "NO". :P

Jack more than 5 years ago


I've noticed lots of middle-class Americans and W Europeans here speak none, or very little German. Yet the poor Turkish shop keepers speak their native tongue, fluent German, and a good bit of English on top. Its certainly no sin to not learn German if you really don't care. But I think what rubs people the wrong way about it is the huge sense of entitlement some people have. Some people think its their job to be out partying all night long and that the Turkish shop keeper, for example, who already works 14 hours a day, will spend his/her few free hours a week brushing up on English, now that their are so many non-Germans here.

Annie more than 7 years ago

the way

What a way to handle a good topic in a such a poor and limited point of view, this is not an article its just bitching out loud, so bitch please, Travel a little bit more to see what your german buddies do overseas or get a piece of understanding about globalisation and celebrating our differences instead of hating them. Peace girl, dont go so hard on the coffes.

andrea more than 7 years ago

Your Narrowminded View

The article is called a rant for a reason, a rant specifies that this is subjective and usually emotionally driven which is exactly what you were complaining about, the whole thing being a rant.
The point of this Rant is not to make fun of other cultures but point out how people with an English speaking background are living in Germany choosing not to learn German because they feel they should be entitled to speak English for whatever reason (cause they won the war or some silly self empowering opinion). The point Julie is trying to make is that if they come over to Germany they should make some effort and learn the language instead of snobing everyone who cannot speak english, might aswell go to paris if i want to get snobbed

Jonathan more than 7 years ago


It depends on your reasons. Loads of people move there to specifically work in the English language. As a country/province/state, you can't make money off of a language without its presence being felt. You really can't blame the people. You need to blame the system. If the language is so important, make it required. As long as people have free will, why would they do something that they don't have to do?

Derick more than 6 years ago

sad comments....

I have met Germans all over the world and they all speak the native language of the country they live in - they wouldnt last two days if they didnt. Some might have naively arrived in a country with just a few words but pretty soon they go to classes etc. Germans on holidays is a different matter. I dont understand why people get so arrogant and bitchy about this - it is common sense, you would not last long in France without French.I would be appalled to arrive in Paris or Rome and find English only restaurants with English only menus - I go there to experience French/Italian culture not English or American!! Yes, have menus in English too as a courtesy to tourists but not only. The arrogance and indifference is sad. At the end of the day theyre the ones who are missing out! Imagine spending a few years in Brazil and all youve seen is the inside of an Irish bar where everyone speaks English, a few scrappy conversations with Brazilians and yay I know ALL about Brazilian culture and what its like to live there, ha ha! I do know a few bars in Neukölln however that are run by English-speakers but they do speak a bit of German and muddle along, thats ok I think, theyre not trying to make an English enclave but welcome everyone and many Germans go there etc. It is, as someone else said, a question of the attitude.

Betty more than 6 years ago

the way

What a way to handle a good topic in a such a poor and limited point of view, this is not an article its just bitching out loud, so bitch please, Travel a little bit more to see what your german buddies do overseas or get a piece of understanding about globalisation and celebrating our differences instead of hating them. Peace girl, dont go so hard on the coffes.

andrea more than 7 years ago

Negative Junk

These debates over learning languages of host countries, always, inevitably, go back to the same negative crap of bashing English speakers for their supposed 'careless', 'arrogant', 'we don't care' attitudes toward foreign languages. What an old and inaccurate refrain. FIRST, it's based on a dated and inaccurate assumption that English speakers (and dare I suggest that us Americans usually are singled out?) don't learn foreign languages. I speak advanced French, Korean, and German, and basic Spanish and Italian. My good American friend from a small town speaks Russian, Hindi, French, and Italian fluently. My other American friend from a small town speaks Spanish fluently and some French. My other friend, Spanish fluently and advanced Swedish. ....Has my point been made? Stale, inaccurate stereotypes are more annoying than someone not speaking a language.
SECOND... World... English is the international language of science, business, academia, etc. I, as a native English speaker, will take this moment to apologize greatly to you for this terrible reality. I did not make it so. Nor did any of the other millions of native English speakers around the world. History made it so. However World, while I sympathize with you having to learn my terrible, awful language (because I really do understand that you have to put a lot of time into it, and I really do sympathize), I can't be hated any longer for choosing to speak my native tongue when most of the world requires it, and the rest is always asking me to teach it. When Arabic or Chinese or Elvin becomes the world's global language, I will have my punishment.

A more than 7 years ago

Is it true?

My (Dutch) boyfriend has told me that the Germans hate to hear their language 'mangled' and so has asked me not to try and speak any German while we are here. He is fluent in German, Dutch and English. I was very upset and embarrassed as I have worked really hard trying to learn the language as I love learning. Today we were in a restaurant where the owner was keen to use his English so he and I talked and I answered a few of his questions about vocabulary and pronunciation only to be told by my boyfriend that I probably confused him! I can already speak French, and even though he admits he cannot speak it he still corrects my accent. Am I going mad? Is he being helpful or a control freak?

Frances Taylor more than 7 years ago

Dump your boyfriend

He's the one being the completely dickhead here. Not the German people. And it's probably indicative of how he behaves in other situations.

Walter Crasshole more than 7 years ago

Give less advice

Do you fail to take the effort to comprehend what you read or are you one of those overly sensitive tumblr types who flies into an incoherent rage the moment you notice something with even the slightest potential to offend?

:I more than 7 years ago

What rage?

That's not rage... I merely told her to dump her boyfriend. She's the one who laid her problems on the table. I don't get the bit about comprehension and saying I'm flying into an incoherent rage.

Walter Crasshole more than 7 years ago

My individual view

For me, it' exactly the other way round. I really love to hear people try to speak German, especially a an American friend of my always makes me smile while trying. And I really appreciate if somebody tries to talk to me in my native language (German) :-). Plus I would never expect to have flawless conversations with expats, travellers or friends that I have.

Most of the people of other countries I met in Germany so far (mainly Americans, English) tried at least to impress me with some few words German - and that's cute!

Actually I agree with most of A's points. English is the one language spoken nearly all over the world, so whoever is interested in more than his/her own little allotment should be willing to learn this language - or any other language of contries he/she is interested in, would like to live and work.

Lately, I tried to learn some few words in Swedish, sma grodona ;-))). Besides, I speak a little more than basic French, a few words of Greek, Spanish and Chinese. Well, I guess I'm just gathering few words of any country I visit.

pandemonium more than 7 years ago

View of a German

He wants to keep you away from speaking to German men... Germans are happy if you speak some German, because most foreigners don't even try

Answer more than 6 years ago

speak German, its okay!

It sounds like your Bf is jeolous.... And an ass. People appreciate it when you put forth effort to speak their language, trust me. c:

carlos more than 6 years ago

he sounds terrible

seriously, germans love to speak german with englisch und amerikaner. your boyfriend sounds like a control freak and a douchebag

keinauslander more than 6 years ago

Annoying That People Can't Be Bothered

This depresses me. I'm an American, who is learning German and French for the simple joy of wanting to communicate with people in their first languages as well as read great literature in their original languages. That snotty comment from the American musician is unbelievable. I can't believe, in this day and age, that ignorance and arrogance are worn like a medal. I refuse to travel to a country I don't have at least a survivalist grasp of the language. I feel that it is disrespectful of the culture you're visiting to not even try to speak the language. But these are expats! I thought part of the expat requirements was that you *had* to speak the language of the country you're immigrating into. Ugh.

Jessica Rivera more than 7 years ago

I agree.

I'm a student in England, I am british and monolingual despite my father and grandparents being German (my dad didn't teach me or my 3 other siblings any German, he still gets ribbed for it.) What I would say is that I intend on living in Germany for 3 months, but not one bit do I plan on relying on my English. If you're upset about your expensive schooling in America, that's because America still hasn't understood that higher taxes means healthcare and education, your fault buddy, not Europe's. I am proud to have a large German family and feel very embarrassed when they go out of their way to speak English to me, so I have decided to change that and move to Germany and pick up the language as quickly as possible. It may be that I have to get a job in somewhere like a Hard Rock Café as my English is an advantage in somewhere like that, however learning a new Language should not be treated as "It's obnoxious that I have to speak in the native language of a country", learn how to say hello, please, thank you and may I have and you're pretty much set, in Germany I've found it's the effort that counts, not the fluency.

Alex Muller more than 7 years ago

Sad but true

It's not something to be proud of, and I've always experienced that when it comes to speaking lots of languages, English-speakers are the worst, 'cause they only speak one. You will never be part of a country if you don't learn its ways.

It's not a matter of schooling, it's just trying, practicing, studying... and by a process of trial and error... learning.

Not putting any effort into it is maybe ok in Berlin, as Germans are quite learned in languages. British expats in Spain often end up sticking to other Brits and shutting themselves out of the real world.

Michele more than 7 years ago

Chill out!

The tone of this rant comes off borderline racist. Many of us English speakers are not taught German growing up. Nor are we surrounded by German media in the way that Germans love consuming American and British pop culture. (Even though its always translated into German) Your kraut rock and cinema never really made it over the pond. Furthermore, as a American, I cannot tell you how lucky you are to be privileged with such cheap schooling. How easy it must have been to learn a foreign language when you don't have to work 2 jobs to pay for college. If you had to pay what we pay, you would have a real issue to cry about. You don't know how good you have it. So... a word of advice, take a deep breath and put yourself in someone else's shoes. Don't be so negative. In a country begging for foreign workers, get used to it. Be a part of the solution, maybe you could help your "friend" learn a few words instead of making fun if her on your blog. Also I would never call someone a friend and then complain about them behind there backs. No wonder people are afraid of Germans.

Ana more than 7 years ago

The writer of this blog

is English not German. Germans hardly ever complain about English-speakers not speaking German. They LOVE it

Jacinta Nandi more than 7 years ago

Educate yourself!

Wow, I wouldn't complain if I was so utterly uninformed. (English) Language education takes place in High school for the most part. Which essentially explains why most of Europe speaks at least a little English or French, maybe Spanish or another second language. Although there are many other reason not related to university education (like countries with various official languages). Just a small share of the population studies at a university and a fracture of that studies languages.
Although I do agree that American tuition fees are outrageously expensive that doesnt't justify your condescending and biased stance.

Atelenor more than 7 years ago


come on, really?! "I have no money to learn German"? You will live here, so learn this language. This egoism makes me sick.
Also whole companies have English as company language but are based in Berlin or remaining Germany. This can't be true.
Guys, learn German or try it at least

ThisCan'tBeTrue more than 7 years ago


You DID notice that A) the author's not German but a native english speaker herself, thus confronted with many of the same problems, B) many people learn other languages beside English that they have not been exposed to anymore than you have to German, and C) that this is about people who already live here - being in the country is the best and quickest way of learning the language PROVIDED you immerse yourself? Besides, way to assume everyone outside the US gets their surplus education shoved up their bums. Ugh! The US side of my family? All their highschool kids *can* take another language. That's the same amount of foreign language education I was provided with.

Kantorka more than 7 years ago

excuses much?

Sorry to break it to you Ana, but my schooling in my country was damn expensive. I had 2 (sometimes 3) part time jobs while completing my (second) honours degree. So don't give me any of that crap, you're probably the same person who complains when your waiter in America doesn't speak good enough English.
Oh, did I mention that german is my 4th language? I didn't start learning until I got here and after 1.5 years I was regularly mistaken for a native. It's about having enough respect for the country that opened up it's doors to you. You adapt to their customs, language and culture - not the other way around.

Also, *their backs. Make use of your expensive education and at least speak the language you'd force germans to speak properly.

Bec more than 7 years ago

missed the point, eh?

its not about people who make an effort to learn at least a few words of German or expecting everyone to be fluent when they arrive - read the article again.

Betty more than 6 years ago

Every German I meet wants to learn English from me

So I never get a change to practice my not terrible but not very good German.
I've been here two years. It would be so much better if I did speak good German.
Languages wax in relevence or die out all the time. I'm Irish, English killed our native tongue.

English is the only true international language. I have a job here mainly due to being a native English speaker.

Now when Germans thank me for trying and tell me condescendingl that it's okay to speak Enlgish, I usually throw them a few insults in Irish before giving up and switching to English.

Congrats on 'being more German than the German themselves' but I'll be giving Integration a miss.

Especially when Germans who know well I'm Irish, for some reason take pleasure in calling me German. Talk about not learning to avoid wars that can't be won.

James more than 7 years ago

German Acceptance

I feel what allows people to do this in Germany is that it is hard for Germans to move on from the past. They are putting so much effort into accepting everyone that they seem to have forgot that they can still keep their culture. I just went to Germany this past Summer, and I can't wait to go back, I would love to make a career and live there too. Germany is a great place, and the most upsetting part of it, was how many people started out by speaking English to me. (Obvious American accent here.) After I explained to them that I spoke German (well enough) they would get very excited though and would gladly talk with me in German.

The most upsetting instance wasn't actually from a German, it was an Italian at an ice cream shop, I was having trouble saying "stracciatella" (It's not even a German word.) and the guy there said "Just speak English, man." Needless to say I didn't get ice cream there again.

Josh Absher more than 7 years ago

lern the language of the country you live in. Period.

I don't care where it is one decides to live, but one should learn the language of the country you chose to live in. I agree with that 100%. No need to have perfect grammar if you don't need ,it but common let's be honest if you don't want to learn the language of the country you live in then just move on, go somewhere else. Like Paris, good luck telling the French you expect them to speak English in their own home country.

Ella22 more than 7 years ago

Calm down!

Melbourne person here, while I would agree that it's a good idea to try and learn the local language demanding people MUST learn it gets in to dangerous territory. In Melbourne we have a very significant immigrant population, there are many restaurants with people who speak hardly any English at all, people here don't say 'oh at that chinese restaurant they didn't speak any english, I'll never go there again, they are ruining Melbourne!' Ok there would be some disgraceful people who think like that but they are clearly terribly bigoted, and most people don't. The amount of people you encounter in Melbourne who aren't fluent in English is pretty high and somehow we cope! So maybe the German only restaurant would work rather well! Actually there seems to be a lot of German backpackers and things in Australia so maybe they should go ahead! That said a majority of the German speakers I have ever met have pretty excellent English anyway.
I would of course agree that if you live in Germany (or anywhere) and don't speak the language it is all your loss, it is not the full experience and certainly not the best experience you could have, but I feel this article had an aggressive and angry tone that I found uncomfortable. Most major cities have a significant immigrant or tourist population, it would be nice to try and view this as enriching the cities. In foreign restaurants here, there are usually menus with pictures of the food and often the items on the menu are numbered, and it is easy to know what things are and order for everyone.

melbournian more than 7 years ago


A German only restaurant would fail in Melbourne and you know it. German backpackers want to go to "authentic Australian" restaurants and Melbournians wouldn't learn a language just for a restaurant. I would, but I'm not a majority. I'm not even in a noticeable minority. :P We'd say they were "ruining our culture" and tell them to "fk off". Howard was elected on that sort of nonsense, and so was Abbott, so there's a lot of latent nationalism in Australians.

"it would be nice to try and view this as enriching the cities"

Oh come now, you're making excuses for willfully ignorant, selfish, and racist people. Don't do that.

CJ more than 7 years ago

Prawns love not shrimps!!

I just happened upon your article as I'm heading over to Berlin for Christmas and was doing a little research. Funnily enough I am an Australian. I think I can speak for the 22 million of us when I say never once have any of us put 'A BLOODY SHRIMP ON THE BARBIE!' Occasionally we have been known to barbeque prawns. A tourism campaign aimed at Americans in the late 1980's thought they wouldn't understand what a prawn was so they were simply renamed for the target audience.

I have also worked in the restaurant and varying other service industries for over two decades. Verbal communication only accounts for 30% of all communication. With that in mind I have a feeling even if the staff member couldn't understand German she would've clocked your body language and conceivably had the back of house staff do all manner of things to your overpriced food!

I found it amusing the last time I was in Germany about 10 years back that I was accused of having a war monger president. I politely advised my accuser that Australia had a Prime Minister (albeit not a good one). Every country is inherently racist and discriminatory. The United States is widely regarded as an insular society, the bulk of the populace unsure of anything happening out with it's own borders, however Germany is in a similar situation and after reading you article you have reminded me of this fact.

Traditionally Australia and the UK for that matter (where I have resided for 13 years), have been poor at educating their children with language other than English unless the children were of course from migrant families. It was compulsory for us to take on a language at the beginning of high school. I was forced to 'learn' German! This was ridiculous on 2 fronts. Firstly, by the age of 12 or 13 secondary languages are extremely difficult to pick up and secondly, Australia is part of Asia and unless you're a vintner, German has little use.

I make a point of learning some choice phrases in most countries that I travel to, I think it is only good manners. I do agree with you on that front. Cheers for the heads up on the Aussie restaurant in 'Little Melbourne' , as a homesick Melburnian I'll make a point to check it out!

DARREN PALMER more than 7 years ago

@Darren Palmer

"With that in mind I have a feeling even if the staff member couldn't understand German she would've clocked your body language and conceivably had the back of house staff do all manner of things to your overpriced food! "

As someone who's worked tables and kitchens, no, that wouldn't happen. I mean it could but it's not a very good restaurant if it does that and there's not a whole lot of people dumb enough to do that. There's so many regulations concerning food in most countries that messing with a meal is a good way to get fired without apologies or excuses.

"Firstly, by the age of 12 or 13 secondary languages are extremely difficult to pick up"

As if. Language education is generally pathetic but learning a new language doesn't all of a sudden become extraordinarily difficult. Sure, it will become increasingly difficult to just listen to a radio and learn a language passively as one gets older but it doesn't suddenly become "extremely difficult".

"Australia is part of Asia and unless you're a vintner, German has little use"

This is Australia, the current PM is so nationalistic that schools don't learn Mandarin, or Indonesian, or Cantonese, or Japanese, or Korean, or, well, it's basically just English. There's kind of a language education push going on but it's very small key. Arguing that German is useless since we don't trade with Germany would only make sense if we were busy learning languages we do trade with. Except we don't. We stick with English and act aggressively towards any and all refugees, swearing they're just lazy. If everyone in Australia learned German in school then for most kids that would be an improvement over their current curricula.

CJ more than 7 years ago

Like the ironic and provoking tone of the article

I do think the author overexaggerates for the sake of provoking extreme reactions but also for waking people up! I do not see it as a huge problem, that parts of the city are changing to English-only zones and I actually love hearing more English than German on the streets. But then in the long run, might Berlin not actually loose the charme and become like any other metropoly? I think this article tries to put attention to a change that is slowly happening and has not yet really changed whole Berlin but might if the internationals do not try to adopt a little bit of the city and culture when settling down. Well, I have lived in New York, London and Sydney and love all these cities, so I love the internationality around me a lot

The point below, that the article is discrimatory is just exaggerated and the person clearly did not get the purposely provocative tone of the whole RANT :)

And another thing, I have also read the comment of fast learners and slow learners. I think if you really intend learning basics, it is possible for everyone. Of course it depends on your priorities etc. but do not give up in advance. German might be a hard language, but please do not get discouraged especially not by other peopel correcting mistakes. I do a lot of language tandems with Spanish and English speaking people. A tandem might be a good way of practicing your German while also having the other person praciticing your language. So you do not feel inferior because you are both in the same situation, and the Germans would probably be not that hard with you either :)

Now everyone, enjoy Berlin!

Sarah more than 7 years ago


I like this...a lot.
I've been having similar problems and observations in Prague. I'm learning Czech and can communicate fine but I get replied to automatically in English from the Czechs, while many foreigners come in for the nice beer and disrespect the place and never learn even a few polite phrases.
So I'm now moving to a new Czech city :)

David more than 7 years ago

Ich stimme das.

I really liked this article. I'm an American living in Berlin, and wouldn't have gotten my job without German (even though it's imperfect) or really felt like I'm a part of this city. I went to eat at one of these restaurants with English-only speaking staff, and was there with a German friend who actually speaks next-to-no English. I found it funny and ironic that I had to translate for him in his own country. I understand not being able to master German, nor wanting to master it, but speaking a little (as would be the case in any country) just feels polite and respectful.

JR more than 7 years ago


Hey, just take it easy. In all major cities (in Berlin same as in Munich) you will run into people who rant. Others take it as a welcome opportunity to practice their English. People are not uniform but the vast majority of us are kind and friendly. Actually, I would be delighted to teach Julie and her friends some high German German. Best over a good piece of veal and a bottle of Baden Riesling.

Karsten more than 8 years ago


I believe that wherever you are - you will first address an unknown person in the language of the country you are in. If you're in Italy - ask the person first in Italian - as broken as it may be. Should they not understand you in this language - offer other languages if you know them.
That is the way to be courteous. Speaking in English in Germany is fine. Addressing someone in English first in Germany is not the right tone and disrespectful. How do you know the person may not even speak English? Especially as a person in a service position it is your job to always adapt to the customer. On a personal level this should also be taken just as seriously.

English may be the international language, but if you assume that everyone on this planet speaks it, and should - then you are on a very colonialist path of thinking. People that can not speak English in a country that has a different official language are not ignorant. They have a different culture that needs just as much respect as a culture in which English is the primary language.

ZZ more than 8 years ago

nobody likes a smug person

l've been for 4 years l should of said:-)

Sharn-Mari Luke-Harper more than 8 years ago

nobody really likes a smug person:-)

The writer of this article seems too smug for my liking:-) l have been in Berlin for years and my German is far from perfect, but l not giving up:-) what annoys me are people that are too picky about the grammar. I have many people tell me that l shouldn't be speaking German until l am word perfect, funny that because l believe that practice makes perfect! Nothing worse than snobbery like that. Must note that this is not from German people but from a mixed nationalities! Kind of off putting:-) l came to Berlin to study and work and over the past few years l have built up my own businesx ( because l refuse to take from another countries social system and l don't have mummy and daddy paying for me) l may not or ever by word perfect in German but l am proud of my achievements here in Berlin:-)

Sharn-Mari Luke-Harper more than 8 years ago

Very well balanced

I'm both Aussie and British. Yes, I was born in one place and naturalised in the other and I'm eternally grateful to warm-hearted attitude of my second country for taking me in. I don't expect this from Germans but I've already received similar warmth and kindness, when I evinced no grounds for their generosity other than I'm human, and I'm here, and my life could be easier.
So, out of some respect to these wonderful Germans - not the INDEUTSCHLANDMANMUSSTDEUTSCHSPRECHEN clowns, I'm trying to learn a language that doesn't exactly roll of the tongue, in any direction. Yes, it will hugely help me to earn a living but heaven knows, from my unironed trousers to allergies to pünktlichkeit I'm not going to fit in. And I do pity their oft-swallowed pride when their parents can't read signs as their capital is written in languages other than their own - walk around plenty of the old British sector and if it's not in German, it won't be in English, either. And irrespective of how the youth want to be cosmopolitan, metropolitan, and whatever attitudes are great in skinny jeans but fade as their hair thins and their Raybans require prescriptions, there's no place like home. Especially if yours is changing but history teaches you to behave well. Very well indeed.

So, I'm really surprised how virulent some of the reactions to this article are. Ms Colthorpe has, in my opinion and no doubt hers, a few valid points in a universe of others. Rant indeed, but there's absolutely no need for prevaricated hostility. For the character who advised that the author's partner would break up with her - really, is that necessary? I can't imagine how it is even humane.

And the worst thing is that, when we can't rant, it will bottle up and eventually explode - just when we thought what a beautiful country we lived in, how grateful we are to its culture, how privileged our kids are to be brought up here. Just then the calmest, most patient and conscientious libertarian will explode, quite out of the blue, INDEUTSCHLANDMANMUSSTDEUTSCHSPRECHEN. And after the initial shock, feel quite elated for it afterwards. And then vote for the party that promises to keep it that way. Be warned. Let ranters rant.

Daniel Masmanian more than 8 years ago


She said it was a RANT, and a RANT it has been. Take it for what it is. :)

Me, enrolling in a German course was one of the first things I did when settling down in the city. Been here two months and I'm learning steadily. German will be my third language alongside my native Italian and my pro English. :)

Don't be monolingual people, learning languages is good for you!

Elena more than 8 years ago

generalized, untargeted and irrelevant mix of arguments

Exberliner, couldn't you find someone to write an article about this subject that puts things a bit more into perspective? This article simply doesn't do more than provoke and encourage extreme responses. My opinion, as a German speaking expat in Berlin (lived here for 6 months):

- I can understand that it is annoying to have ignorant expats that don't make any effort to learn the german language, but I believe it is exactly this kind of extreme outrages that demotivates expats (or who ever else, for that matter) to learn the German language (or what ever else, for that matter).

- The author clearly has no clue about what kind of behavior, comments and responds expats or other not German speaking people in Berlin deal with from time to time, when they do make an effort to learn the language - namely by trying.

- Moreover, the authors arrogance seems to show that she has no idea about the difficulty of the German language. It also shows that she doesn't feel any understanding for people that may not be the fastest learners. If people live in Germany for 6 months, I can tell from what I've seen around me, that for some people it is extremely difficult to learn even the slightest bit of language. As with everything, some people are fast learners, some people aren't.

- Last but not least; I'm astonished by the amount of discrimination in this article. In this tunnel vision, a lot of hugely generalized, untargeted and irrelevant arguments are mixed up.

exberliner more than 8 years ago

a good aussie friend

of mine (who lives in Berlin since early 90s) once said: Hell are other Australians. I couldnt believe how true that was unless I been to... Fitzroy, Victoria :)

Os. more than 8 years ago

I agree, however

This article is so poorly written, I agree people ought to make the effort but you sound like such a bitter person because people aren't you.

Colin more than 8 years ago

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