I know exactly what you mean... I too have experienced the very same reception.
I am now living in Germany; the first 6 months I really did not learn a word, apart from Hallo, bis bald etc. Why, well all my friends were far too happy to practice their English. I was quite happy at first as I was a little nervous to speak the language and travelling back and forth to the UK (for work) meant that I really had little time to immerse myself in the language.
After 11 months the work situation got better (by that I mean I didnt have to travel every week). Fantastic
. Now I could really get my head around the language, right
wrong. My friends tried to speak with me in German for Ohhh at least one sentence and then it would revert back to English. Even if I ordered a coffee in my bestest
;) German, Id get a reply in English
so everyone around me was improving their English at a very nice pace, while little old me was still struggling to put two sentences together
. It must be me, Im rubbish!! The final blow came when I was out with a friend for coffee (of which the main purpose was to communicate in German). After 15 minutes or so, he stated that we should now speak in English, as its too difficult to communicate with me in German. Honestly, I nearly cried. My very first foreign language and felt like a thicko! Even my boyfriend (whos English is now rather perfect I must say) seemed unwilling or frustrated to speak with me in German
it must be me!
Im living here so got to speak the language right! With that thought I booked myself on an intensive German course with the Goethe institute (probably the best language learning school in Germany). And blow me down with a feather, my confidence shoot through the roof
. It wasnt me! I passed all the listening, written and spoken test with flying colours. Also compared with some students at my level, my pronunciation was extremely impressive (that was a little note on my A2/1 certificate).
Interestingly enough a friend from Peru, who speaks almost zero English claims she has never had this problem
everyone speaks with her in German
. I wonder why!
So yes, Germans definitely want to practice their English.
They listen first for correctness and then for understanding.
They want to be and think they are being nice by saying
its easier, lets speak in English. (or rather
speak English its better)!
John, don't be put off I am now refusing to speak with anyone in English (unless i get excited about something and forget). and it's working a treat... I've even had conversations where I have spoken German and my friends have spoken English.