“Sprechen Sie Englisch?”
(Do you speak English)
Depending on the answer, you will know what you are dealing with. If the answer is:
Name: “bureaucratius nonhelpfulus”.
Description: They can’t or won’t speak English. Get out your phrase book. They will look askance at your German.
Environment: Large Instutions, such as the Post Office or the Bank.
2. Nein, schlect.
Name: “deutschius speakerus”.
Description: They haven’t learned English. Try your German, they will try very hard to understand you.
Environment: The Doctor’s office personnel, aside from the Doctors.
3. Ein Bisschen
Name: “unconfidentius speakerus”
Description: They know a little English, but more than they think. If you stick to talking about what they sell, you may be okay.
Subtype: “colleagueius fetchicus” If you overwhelm them, they will fetch a colleague who they think speaks better English.
Environment: Large Stores, such as Saturn or Staples.
4. A Little
Name: “prettygoodius speakerus”
Description: They actually speak English fairly well but won’t admit it. You can speak about what they sell/do with no problem.
Environment: Large Stores, such as OBI.
Name: “confidentius speakerus”.
Description: They can speak English very well.
Environment: Owner-owned stores, Doctors, people who work for large companies.
6. Of Course!
Name: “overconfidentius speakerus”.
Description: Why wouldn’t I speak English? I can’t believe you even asked.
Environment: High End stores, such as Tommy Hilfiger.
7. Bonus Type of speaker
Name: “Sneakius speakerus”.
Description: Recognize that you speak English from your conversation with the people with you or your terrible German Accent, even though you ask for “Zwei Hamburgers” answer you in English. Seem to be happy that their English has come in handy even though they are working retail.
Environment: Fast Food places, Grocery Store.