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Yvon Marier of Travel  Info Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Yvon Marier giving a presentation for Travel MedEvac, Mazatlan, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIn Mazatlán, you can get by just by speaking in English. Mexicans don’t speak perfect English, but all the major services- restaurants, stores, etc. always have somebody somewhere who speaks English. If you speak a bit of Spanish, of course it would help, but you can go almost anywhere in Mexico and find that most of the Mexicans speak English. If you just speak English, it would not be easy every day, but it would make some tasks a lot easier if you spoke some Spanish.
 
I get by with my Spanish here in Mexico, but I’m far from perfect. My wife is still learning Spanish. In fact, she even took some Spanish classes here in Mazatlán. Fifteen years ago, I couldn’t speak or understand a single Spanish word. I had no Spanish ability at all, but I got by. Now I know enough Spanish to understand people.
 
 
(Yvon Marier giving a presentation for Travel MedEvac, Mazatlan, Mexico, pictured.)
Ivan Castillo of Secure Title  Riviera Maya – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
You can get by in Mexico only speaking English. English is a second language in Mexico. Every single school in the country teaches English.
 
 Depending on the areas that you’re going to be living, you can even get your utilities turned on and talk to the cable guy in English.   The service providers would be more likely to speak English in in tourist and expat areas like the Yucatan Peninsula, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, and Baja areas. So in these areas where there’s an important community of foreigners, it’s easier to get around just speaking English.
 
When dealing with the government, however, it is done in Spanish. However, you can get by speaking with certain individuals. So if you want to go pay your utility bills, the government officials that will be receiving the application from you have dealt with foreigners in the past that they know exactly what needs to be done.  
Gary Coles of Paradise For  Gringos – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account

Spanish is the dominant language in Mexico but you may be surprised to learn that it is not “the” official language. There Indigenous Dancer inMexico City – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Livingare many indigenous languages such as Nahuatl and Yucatec Maya. The government recognizes all indigenous languages and must provide official documents in those languages if requested.  In the southern part of the country, I met people who could speak no Spanish; only their indigenous language.  

 

Many individuals do speak English, but unlike the indigenous languages, it has no type of protection.  If you enter into a contract or need official documents, you will need to have an official translation.  In one instance, I needed a copy of my birth certificate and even that very simple document needed to be translated by an official translator.  If there is a dispute, any real estate contract or other contract will be determined by the Spanish language (or possibly the indigenous language).

 

The English language is very important in tourism and business so you will find many English speaking individuals in tourist areas or big cities. In Mexico City and Tijuana, I see signs everywhere advertising English language classes.  The major companies and stores almost always have individuals who can help in the English language.  I do not need it now, but in the past, I was always able to get someone at my bank, the Internet company, or the phone company who could speak English if I was patient and friendly.  This was especially important on phone conversations because that is the most difficult place to communicate with no body language to give clues.

 

The more rural areas, it may be impossible to find anyone who can speak English.  You can still get by if you want.

 

You can get along without speaking Spanish --- but it is much easier, if you, at least, learn the basics.  The people of Mexico are friendly and try to understand even if you only speak English, but they really do appreciate someone who attempts to learn the language.


My first trips to Mexico, I could not speak any Spanish  --- I “got by” with no problems.  But I feel that my experiences become richer as I learn to speak more Spanish.
Carmella Peters Romero of Peters & Romero – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Wax museum, Tijuana Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingMexico is a Spanish-speaking country.  In the tourist areas, everyone from waiters to shop attendants to taxi drivers will speak at least some English.  However, outside of these areas, many Americans and Canadians are surprised to discover that the average ´man on the street´ doesn´t speak English.  
 
Here in Mexico City, educated people will speak at least some English, and many will be fluent.  However, most of transactions you will need to do on a daily basis will require you to speak some Spanish.  No one at my local bank branch, for example, speaks English.  No one at the supermarket, at the department store, or at the pharmacy I go to speaks English either. I cannot call the cable company or any utility company and expect help in English. In smaller towns or rural areas (outside of the tourist zones), even fewer people will speak English.
 
Can you get by if you only speak English?  Certainly you can very easily if you are in tourist areas or other areas where expats tend to live.  You can also manage even in areas where most people don´t speak English if you are just interested in ´getting by.” I know people who have lived here for 15 years and still speak almost no Spanish.  I suppose the question is would you want just ´get by´?  Learning the local language makes life here so much more rewarding a full – it means you can make Mexican friends, learn about Mexican culture, and navigate daily life without help.   It can be challenging at first, but you will find that people are very helpful when they know you are trying to learn Spanish!
 
Brenda de Groot of AvensaTravel – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Folkloric dancing in  street, Oaxaca, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIn the big cities such as Mexico City, Monterey, Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta or in the peninsula Yucatan, you can speak English since there are lots of expats who live in those places and Yucatan is very touristic. In other places in Mexico, you will need to speak Spanish.
 
I believe that if you decide to move to another country, it is important that you learn to speak the local language since it is part of the culture of the country in which you are going to live. Even if you live in the places where people speak English, it is still better if you know how to speak Spanish because you can have more meaningful conversations with people and life will be easier because you can communicate well.
 
In Oaxaca English is only spoken among the foreigners. It is not yet very common for local people to speak English, however this is changing. Nowadays children are having English at school and more and more people start learning English. I noticed that people are very kind here to try to understand you when trying to speak Spanish. With a half sentence people try to understand you, and because the people enjoy hearing the foreigner trying to speak their language, it makes it much easier to learn! This way you are not so afraid to try speaking and by practicing you learn faster.  
 
In Oaxaca, next to the official language Spanish, 40 other indigenous languages are still spoken. Oaxaca´s richness of culture is a result of the many different ethnical groups that have lived and still live in this one state, for example the Zapotecs, the Mixtecs, and 14 other ethnical groups. If you visit a village outside the city or you go to the local markets, you will hear many other languages which you can not understand even if you speak Spanish!
 
(Folkloric dancing in  street, Oaxaca, Mexico, pictured.)

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