We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Is English Spoken?

Which Cologne hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Manchester UK
1 post
Save Topic
Is English Spoken?

Dear All,

I am looking to book a weekend break for my brother and his future wife for a wedding gift, however neither of them have any language skills other than english.

Can you tell me whether Cologne is a place whereby they would be able to get by using english?

Thank you

Edinburgh, Scotland
Level Contributor
2,378 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Is English Spoken?

They would probably get by fine without English in Cologne. But it would probably be appreciated if they made some effort to learn the basic greetings and acknowledgements ie Guten Morgen,Danke schon, Aufwiedersehen etc Give them a phrase book as part of the gift!:)

Edinburgh, Scotland
Level Contributor
2,378 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Is English Spoken?

That should be without German. Bit of a "DUH" moment there.!

Mannheim, Germany
Level Contributor
222 posts
29 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Is English Spoken?

Dear RonManchesterUK,

I just moved to Cologne with my husband for 5 months. My husband is German and I am American and I do not speak German, yet. I was told that most young people speak English, but I have only run into a few people who do actually speak English. This may be because I am in an apartment and not a tourist hotel, restaurant, etc, but less English is spoken here in my opinion that Munich for example.

With that being said, I do not think it is too difficult to get around. Signs are in english and german, ticket machines for transportation are also available in multiple languages. The tourist office employes staff who speak english as well.

Sunnyvale...
Destination Expert
for San Jose
Level Contributor
5,992 posts
119 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Is English Spoken?

For what it's worth, I found the Rick Steve's German phrase book to be excellent.

I self-studied German for about a year from the about German website, from some grammar books & tapes, and from picking on some German expatriates around me. It seemed to help me get by really well. But I have to admit that I'm already trilingual and have studied about half a dozen other languages. To make things easier, the German people that I encountered all seemed exceedingly nice and friendly. That includes Cologne where I was a little panic'd trying to figure out how which platform to get the train to the Cologne airport...

One "essential" that I'd still like to learn auf deutsch is:

"What beers do you have on tap?"

Can anyone help me with that? Thanks!

Enjoy!

united kingdom
Level Contributor
18 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Is English Spoken?

hi Ron , i'm a little anxious about the language barrier too to be honest as i'm due to visit germany in a weeks time - i can speak french , but no german at all - i just hope i can blag it - ha ha !

cheers xx

Las Vegas, Nevada
Destination Expert
for Stuttgart, Baden-Wurttemberg
Level Contributor
14,362 posts
53 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Is English Spoken?

italytravellers,

I'm an American living with my German wife in Stuttgart. Many (most?) people don't "speak" English. However, many will understand it well. It's like me with German, I understand it fairly well, especially written, but do not like to speak it because I don't want to make grammatical and pronunciation mistakes and make a fool of myself (whereas I imagine no one really cares except yourself). I've had interesting conversations with museum employees who profess to speak no English, my asking questions in English and their replies in German, with occasionally one or both of us changing languages to the other to clarify things. German is now required in all German schools, some students starting at a very early age.

You are at a great disadvantage learning and speaking German because it is easiest just to let your spouse handle matters, especially if they are more complicated. It probably would be best for you to enroll in an accelerated German class where you are forced to learn the language.

Las Vegas, Nevada
Destination Expert
for Stuttgart, Baden-Wurttemberg
Level Contributor
14,362 posts
53 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Is English Spoken?

I'll add one thing. As new residents of Stuttgart we were eligible for a free month's pass for the local transportation network good for all U-bahns, S-bahns, and buses. I rode the entire U-bahn and S-bahn network and most of the central area buses. It's a good way to get to know your new home and familiarize yourself with the local transportation. Check to see if the Cologne transportation network has a similar offer.

united kingdom
Level Contributor
18 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: Is English Spoken?

are there any useful phrases that we could use to get by ???

such as

Please , Thankyou , where is the bus / train station?? etc ...

Sunnyvale...
Destination Expert
for San Jose
Level Contributor
5,992 posts
119 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Is English Spoken?

"are there any useful phrases that we could use to get by ???

such as

Please , Thankyou , where is the bus / train station??"

--> bitte, danke, Wo ist der Bahnhof (trainstation)? or "Busbahnhof"

The obvious follow up question for "where is this or that?" comes when somebody responds with something other than finger pointing. I'm not ready to understand responses much...

Can somebody please help me with this phrase:

"What local beers do you have on tap?" "lager, ale, etc?"

There's some really good stuff out there; and we want to be sure not to miss any do we...

Las Vegas, Nevada
Destination Expert
for Stuttgart, Baden-Wurttemberg
Level Contributor
14,362 posts
53 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Is English Spoken?

What local beers do you have on tap?

Welche heimische Biere haben Sie vom Fass.

There's some really good stuff out there; and we want to be sure not to miss any do we...

Have a look at: www.braugasthoefe.com

They list many small breweries that serve food and also accomodate guests. The one in my wife's home village of Ummendorf has both excellent beer and food. We always bring beer from there back to Stuttgart when we visit. Their Placidus Cobaldus dark beer is my favorite beer in Germany available in one liter bottles and also magnificent 3 liter presentation magnums. They also brew several other types of beer and some seasonal beers such as the Festbier which we are also now drinking. They also make beer schnapps and have a nice selection of beer glasses and mugs for their different types of beer including an unusual two liter glass mug. At our last visit before Christmas they gave us a new product they make, chocolates filled with beer or beer schnapps in two different kinds. They were quite good.

The brewery in Bad Schussenried has Germany's first beer mug museum and also a lovely beer garden although I don't care for their beer. The nearby Freilicht museum with old Oberschwaben buildings including an unusual one lane bowling alley, the Baroque monastery with nice library and church, and Steinhausen called rightfully the most beautiful village church in the world are within a few kilometers.

I used to live in Sunnyvale about 30 years ago.