Monday, April 2, 2007

Sprechen Sie Spangermanglish?

I practiced the phrase a couple of times, amusing myself with what I fancy to be fine German pronunciation. Once I was satisfied, I called the hotel in Lindau, Germany, to extend my reservation by two days. I'll be there for a conference Wednesday to Friday, then John will fly in and we'll stay until Easter Monday.

KT: [dials phone]

Hotel: [answers and says ... something.]

KT: Guten Tag! Sprechen Sie Englisch?

Hotel: No.

KT: [Uh oh. I didn't plan for this. But. Um. Help? I'm not prepared to ask anything else, and even if I was, what would I do if, God forbid, he actually ANSWERED me? All I know in German is how to count to 10, say certain days of the week (but I'm not sure which ones), and, strangely, name breakfast foods. Schinken und Eier, anyone?]

[The few times I've been in non-English speaking countries and am confronted with saying something, I have this tendency to revert to Spanish, instead of English, even though my Spanish really isn't that good either. (Jamon y juevos, anyone?) Anyway, I tell you this to at least partially explain the idiocy that then came out of my mouth:]

KT: Esto es el Gasthof Engel?

Hotel: Yes.

KT: Hay un otra ... Is there someone else there who speaks English?

Hotel: No.

KT: (silence.) Danke. [Hangs up.]

Crap. Now what?

It ended up being pretty easy, actually. I emailed the organizers of the conference and explained my situation. Someone there called the hotel for me and wrote back with the price and reservation number, and I can confirm when I arrive. Whew.

Now I just need to practice a few phrases to explain myself when I arrive on Wednesday, and hope he answers using the German words for Monday, Saturday, ham, eggs, fork, spoon, or Biergarten.

Auf wiedersehen!

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