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John W.
The most spoken and widely understood European language?
Dear all,

Beside English, which is the most spoken and widely understood European language that could be very useful should I travel to places such as Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Austria and Switzerland?

Kindly advise me. Thank you very much. Have a nice day and stay safe during this outbreak.

25 مايو 2020 06:24
Comments · 14
John W.:
German would definitely be easier for an English speaker to learn than the other languages mentioned (Polish, Czech, Slovenian, Hungarian). Note that Hungarian is not even in the Indo-European mega-family. Polish, Czech, and Slovenian (a type of Yugoslavian) are all Slavic languages. German pronunciation is much closer to that of English, and there is a lot of vocabulary in common. Irregular verbs are very similar. The German case system is often a bit tricky for native English speakers, but the other languages’ case systems are a lot more challenging. Why don’t you take a look at some basic textbooks at your local library or bookstore — that should give you an idea of what you’ll be getting into.

25 مايو 2020
Wow ... why anyone would have downvoted Phil's latest contribution here is beyond me.

It's correct, well worded, and to the point.

As for the complexity of Slovenian:
It knows 6 cases (as opposed to the 4 in German) for nouns and offers a "dual" for the verbs to make things even more interesting. The "dual" is a conjungation expressing things two people do:

I walk hodim
we two walk hodima
we (more than two) hodimo

he drinks pije
they (two) drink pijeta
they (>2) drink pijejo

26 مايو 2020
“The most spoken and widely understood European language” for those countries? German.

German is the main language in Germany (larger than any of the countries you’ve mentioned), Austria, and Switzerland. It’s also popular in Hungary and to some extent the Czech Republic and Slovenia. Other than that, Polish has a lot of speakers — although mostly in Poland. There’s also a bit of mutual intelligibility with Czech, Slovak, and Ukrainian.

25 مايو 2020
Ok, I get that now. My apologies. I have retracted my diatribe, except for my enlightening information on the Uralic language family. And yes, I have to learn the one with 18 cases.

ALSO ... Can you tell me how Comments vs Answers works? It seems most people Comment but not Answer. Who, then, chooses the Answer? The Asker? The Comment with the most upvotes?
27 مايو 2020
@Glenn, this is a discussion thread. John posed another question after Phil's initial answer ... to expect that every single post only addresses the initial question seems to defeat the concept of discussion.

P.S.: And yes, that's impressive extra information; but as you pointed out, that really bore no relationship to John's initial question or his follow-up questions. ;)
26 مايو 2020
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John W.
Language Skills
Chinese (Other), English, Japanese
Learning Language