Unlike the global cities of London and Singapore, Munich does not assist English speakers by posting lots of English signs and translations. When you get home from Munich, you might have a tough time reading your receipts, which will be in German and listed in Euros. Boarding a Lufthansa flight (Lufthansa doesn’t translate directly to anything, but is obviously very German) should be another tip that English may be in second place here.
This may force you into learning some of the local language, which is one of the better parts of the Munich experience. Speaking a new language is one of the best ways you can tell you are away from home, and taking part in something new.
In other foreign cities (again like London and Singapore) you can forget that you are out of your element. Everyone is speaking English whenever you need it. Munich is not quite as adaptive to the English language, although all of the tourist spots will of course assist in English.
Learning German will make the beer gardens, Hofbrauhaus, and Marienplatz all the better. Here are some other reasons to learn German (a.k.a. Deutsch):
- Books: Learning German will prop up your wider reading habits. Currently 10% of all e-books are published in German (2014 data).
- Wide Variety Of Places To Use It: German is the most widely spoken language in the European Union, so it will help you get around in Switzerland and Austria, as well as Munich. If you should happen to visit North Dakota, you’ll find plenty of German speakers there as well, but not as many beer gardens.
- Popularity: After Spanish and French, German is the third most popular foreign language to learn for native English-speakers. This means there is plenty of material out there to learn and train with. There are a few different dialects to be aware of, but “standard German” is the benchmark.
- Speed: If you decided to study French or Spanish, you probably threw away your textbooks after your first visit to Paris or Spain. Everyone talks too fast! A non-native speaker gets left in the dust. However, with German, which has words as long as this line, the language itself forces a more reasonable speed. Non-native speakers have a better chance of keeping up.
- Web Surfing: German is the second most widely used language on the Internet, behind English.
- You Already Know Some Of It: The terms “gesundheit” “bratwurst”, “kindergarten”, and “fest” are everyday English terms that come from German. And most everyone remembers Fahrvergnugen (driving enjoyment) from the Volkswagen commericals. You find plenty of other similarities.
- Go-To Phrase: When all else fails, and you get lost in the conversation, you can throw out “Ich hab keine ahnung was du hast gesagt.” Which translated is “I have no idea what you said.”