Frankfurt - Post Report Question and Answers

How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

I would recommend learning some German because people here expect you to speak some. Germans are very direct and they often seem to have the expectation that you will speak some German. It is, however, not strictly necessary. Young people and physicians almost all speak English. - Aug 2023

I was thankful to have taken German prior to post because making doctors' appointments (and we had many for the children), it was absolutely necessary (as the staff at nearly all of the specialists' office did not speak English). However, all of the actual doctors spoke English and navigating appointments was fluid. MED helped make a few initial appointments, however we were on our own for all of the rest, so yes knowing German can go a long way. - Oct 2022

Having working knowledge of basic phrases isn't just a good idea for your own navigation throughout your day, it's also a nice gesture to the locals. English education in Germany is very classist in my opinion and only offered to people in "higher" professions like doctors. It seems very seldom offered to anyone in something like a customer service or receptionist role. If a receptionist is talking to you in English, chances are they went out of their way to take night classes or something to learn it, so be kind. - Feb 2022

English is spoken by many younger and professional employees, however our experience is the Germans are either put off by having to speak in a different language or too much of a perfectionist to try. Courses were offered while I was posted there, but they seemed to be low quality. - Oct 2021

It helps, but it's not necessary. - Sep 2020

You can take classes at the Consulate. I have found that medical services are hit or miss when signing in but dr's have been great with English. Shopping and dining out it would help to know some basic German. Most German's were taught English in school but may or may not be any good at it. - Mar 2020

Classes are available through work. Most Germans speak English. - Mar 2020

Hard to say. I would guess not too much. There's a lot of English in Germany, although you might get resting disapproval face if you don't understand their German. You can order most delivery food online, so you don't need German for that. The Consulate has an active language program, and the city offers lessons as well that are either cheap or free. - Feb 2020

Some German would be helpful but not really necessary. - Sep 2019

None, but "bitte" and "danke" are appreciated. Frankfurt is an international city, so local Germans appreciate the effort, even if the resting disapproval face doesn't always reflect it. Lots of classes, some for free through the city government. Consulate has a good language program. You can probably find tutors, but I didn't know anyone who had one. - Apr 2019

You can get by with very little German, but it does help to know the language. - Jan 2017

Basic knowledge of German will make your life easier, but Frankfurt's a very international city, so you don't really need it. - Aug 2016

Not much. You can get by with English only but you'll feel constrained. You'll only need a little German to get by and that much is easily learned. - Feb 2016

Probably don't need any, many speak English but they appreciate your effort to communicate in German. It is helpful to know basic signs and phrases, though I know many people who haven't learned any. - Dec 2015

Not much, but Germans will appreciate it if you at least learn the basics. - Jun 2014

I don't speak a word of German and do fine BUT lots of folks that speak German have a much richer cultural experience and the Germans DO appreciate you trying to communicate in German. They all learn English in school but loath to speak it unless they can do it well. They are a proud people. - Mar 2014

Some German is needed because when visit a local doctor, the staff may not speak English. - Nov 2013

None. - Apr 2012

You can get by without German, but not as readily as everyone says. Really helps in small towns to speak the language. - Mar 2012

I didn't think I would need much (I didn't receive language training).I have been surprised though at difficult I find not knowing German is when you live here. It seems that educated Germans who work in specific professions speak English quite well. However, people who do manual labor jobs, who work in stores, gas stations, bus drivers, tend not to speak it - or at least they don't want to. - Oct 2011

A little German won't hurt. But most people speak a little English. - Jul 2010

Almost anywhere you'll find someone that speaks English, but try to learn some German. - Jul 2008

Knowing German is quite helpful. I recommend getting a Rosetta Stone and learning a little to save the frustrations when dealing with locals. - Feb 2008

A little German is helpful. If you at least try to speak their language, Germans usually become very nice and helpful. - Jan 2008

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