I am conscious that once again I am about to travel to another country, this time Germany, with little or no knowledge of the local language beyond ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ and ‘Do you speak English?’
What is it about the British that arrogantly assumes that we can always speak to others and be understood by them in our own language, and expect them to respond to us in English as well? It amazes me as I have travelled around Europe (to date I have only left Europe briefly, and that was to the USA), that everywhere I go; most people speak or at least understand English. It makes us British lazy, in that we do not attempt to learn other languages, (and I include myself in this), and it embarrasses me when I deal with our European customers that I do not have the knowledge, or even if I do, the confidence to speak to them in their own language, even when they are struggling to communicate with me in English.
For now, I apologise in advance to all the German people I will meet in Berlin in a couple of weeks for my lack of knowledge of the German language, and I will try to do better, before I go abroad again!