Should Germans (Frankfurters) speak more English? 

For anyone reading this and actually knows me, you will believe me when I say I am writing this with a big grin on my face! I’ve been told more times than I can remember that I should speak more German and integrate better. Well, integration is overrated… :). Ok, maybe not, but Frankfurt faces an interesting dilemma…

Frankfurt has already taken in many immigrants and refugees and now the city is pitching itself as the main beneficiary of the Brexit mess happening over the channel. The city already has the highest proportion of foreign residents in Germany and business leaders and local government are insisting that Frankfurt is an international city on par with the any city world.

Well isn’t it about time that they offer English language services on a level with other international destinations?

Germans already speak pretty good English compared to many countries but you still can’t walk into the tax office or even the immigration office and expect to be able solve things in English. Or the central school administration! Boy, were they unhelpful and very direct! Imagine not being able to take care of some of these essential tasks in English as a newly arrived foreigner believing the welcoming post-brexit promises…

This wouldn’t be a problem in Hong Kong, Singapore, Zurich, or any number of Nordic countries…

Admittedly, Brits and Americans are hardly the best role models for learning other languages, but now that English is the international business language, Frankfurt really needs to up its game if it wants to join the ranks of global cities. I mean, the least they can do is translate the city website fully into English. All of the really useful pages are only available in German. But at least they have the tourism section in English…

10 thoughts on “Should Germans (Frankfurters) speak more English? 

  1. I find it so interesting they told you to integrate more… I literally had to beg people to speak to me in German. Although yes, the Ausländeramt was purely German speaking and I actually could have used some English there 😉

  2. You’ve been told to speak more German and integrate???!!! Totally different experience here in the city where I get away with silly sounding German because I’m in Frankfurt. Also, it’s annoying that I can’t get myself on an affordable language course because as I was told at the VHS “I don’t need German to live here”. Looking into Goethe or some other private schools now.

    1. Trust me, I still get by with silly sounding German! I simply find ways around any situations needing good German ;)… Goethe is definitely a good choice but you are right that it is pricey

  3. Well, I experienced that too but in Stuttgart, The ABH people kept talking in German when I extended my visa even though they clearly speak English. But, Look at the bright side, Wir können Deutsch sprechen :).
    It is a good piece by the way.

    1. On the off chance that you are going to hate me….
      You live in Germany now, so speak german!
      I used to work in the UK for a long time and no one would dream of speaking german or french for me there.
      I am not sure about Hong Kong or Singapur but I guarantee no one will speak english ( outside the workplace) in Zurich or scandinavian cities either.
      Stop moaning!
      Every one is welcome here – every one is equally welcome to fuck off if they do not like it.
      Make some german friends, they will be delighted to practice their doddgy english and teach you proper “hessisch” in return.

      1. You live in Germany, but… English is language used in most of the industries , especially in Frankfurt where most of the international companies are operating. Also, since 2016 , Frankfurt is the first city in Germany , where the Germans are minority (47,6 % of residents ) and where people speaking 189 different languages. Most of the workers in restaurants, shopping centres ,hospitals etc are from other countries, and if you can speak turkish, arabic, serbian, croatian, polish, romanian,russian etc languages , you can have more benefit.But if you want to integrate and live in Germany until end of your life, perfect, that is different story. Knowing more languages is benefit definitely, so who want’s to learn German , just do it. Can’t hurt anyone.
        I am doing my online course now.

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