Travelling across Europe by train is an integral part of discovering ancient historical cities, learning new languages and soaking up centuries worth of rich, unique culture. The disparity between western and eastern Europe could not be more diverse because Europe is a vast continent separated by a multitude of different people and historical heritage.
For any modern traveller seeking to broach the challenge of discovering Europe by train, one of the most unenviable parts of travelling through Europe for any British traveller are the obstacles presented by local language. As of 2010 there are no fewer than 23 official and spoken languages in Europe.
Each European country holds no small number of unique attributes for the tourist to master ranging from grasping language and religion to understanding simple etiquette, tradition and currency. On the latter most of the countries in Europe have adopted the Euro but there are plenty of stubborn references to be found to currencies long since gone but certainly not forgotten.
Germany in particular, once a divided nation is now a major tourist destination for travellers from across Europe, including the United Kingdom. Grasping the niceties of the German language is no small task for an unfamiliar visitor.
Here we look at some vital phrases that will help you survive a journey across the European nation of Germany. In some cases translation is made all the more difficult as there is no suitable English translation or equivalent meaning. Fortunately ‘translation has changed the world‘
Some of the German words are for all intents and purposes completely untranslatable into the English language yet it is through the power of good translation that the world and our experience of other nations has changed for the better.
A street crowded with so many road signs that one becomes lost.
The feeling of enjoyment obtained from witnessing misery in others.
Communicating effectively is vital to enjoy a trip to Germany or any other European nation. While it is not essential to be able to converse fluently with native speakers, all visitors to a foreign nation ought to be able to understand basic phrases.
Phrases such as common greetings, or asking the time or even basic directions are essential if you are going to be able to converse properly with local people and find your way around an unfamiliar nation far from home.
Europe of course has no common language besides English, while many people do speak the English language as it is taught in most schools there is no substitute for being able to communicate in the local tongue. Arguably of course a traveller will garner much respect from being able to converse in German, Italian or French, particularly if you herald from the UK. The English are not renowned for their ability to converse in other languages after all.
Understanding strange languages shows that as a traveller you have taken the time to learn common phrases, many locals are likely to extend extra appreciation. Language after all is a powerful but simple ally. Of course travellers must ensure that basic communication does not get lost in translation. Therefore when travelling across Europe it is always a good idea to take a guide or phrase book to help you get across the more awkward phrases and questions.