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Language in Bruges

Sunderland
7 posts
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Language in Bruges

We are travelling to Bruges in July for two weeks. My French is pretty good but I have been told that it is not spoken in Bruges. Can English speakers manage to get around and order food, etc?

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Leuven, Belgium
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1. Re: Language in Bruges

Dear Jennifer,

Most locals of Bruges, especially dose working with tourists, will have a fair knowledge of English.

You should have no problem at all, using English.

Bromley
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for Bruges
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2. Re: Language in Bruges

Hi Jennifer

Flemish (a Dutch dialect) is the local language in Bruges.

Most people in Bruges have a very good command of English and you will not have a problem getting by.

Stockport England
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for Bruges
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3. Re: Language in Bruges

Do not try out your French. English is widely spoken, often better than by the natives of UK.

Champlon, Belgium
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4. Re: Language in Bruges

You shouldn't have any difficulty using English in Brugge. Almost any local who has contact with tourists should be able to speak it well. It helps that the Flemish television channels carry quite a lot of broadcasting in English with Dutch sub-titles because the marketplace for Dutch language programmes is too small to support the costly procedure of dubbing them into Dutch.

In fact, even if you spoke good Dutch most people would switch to English as soon as they realised you were English. Whatever you do though, do not attempt to speak French which for historical reasons would cause offence.

Finally note that place names are ALWAYS given in Dutch even if they are over the border in France - that mysterious place called Rijssel is in fact Lille.

England, United...
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for Argassi, Zakynthos
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5. Re: Language in Bruges

As above, you'll have no problems if you just stick to English, they mostly speak excellent English & if you do have a problem just do what we Brits do anywhere in the world... if they don't understand you just speak slowly & loudly till they get it.... ;-) lol

Antwerp, Belgium
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6. Re: Language in Bruges

You forgot the gestures with your arms and hands ..... ;-)

Don't worry, most of us speak indeed good English and French.

London, United...
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7. Re: Language in Bruges

Most people in Bruges who deal with tourists would speak some French as well as they get quite a number of French speaking visitors. If they were offended by speaking French they would not print the menu in French.

I have seen houses for sale with "Te Huur/A Vendre" notices on them in Bruges, as well as in Oostende, Gent and along the coast.

Having said that, for an English speaker, it is better to use English if you don't speak much Dutch.

Stockport England
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for Bruges
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8. Re: Language in Bruges

Nonsense. The menu in French is for French speakers. An obviously English speaking person trying to speak French would be insulting to a flemish person, given the history of the region.

Take a look at the statues in the markt.

London, United...
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9. Re: Language in Bruges

What I was suggesting in my earlier post was that you could get by in Bruges using French

I did say that it would be better for an English speaker to use English if they didn't know any Dutch.

My experience in Bruges, and in other parts of Flanders, is that people are quite happy to use French. They would switch to English if they thought that you were an English speaker.

Antwerp, Belgium
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10. Re: Language in Bruges

The statue refers to the battle in 1302 !!!

Off course there are still Flemish people who have problem with the Walloons (the french speaking people in Belgium) that is why it took us more than 1,5 year to make a govnerment :-))

But I don't think there is anyone making a problem or being offended of the fact that a tourist speaks French.... So feel free to practice all your language skills when visting our beautifull country