Thursday, June 25, 2009

Don't Speak the Language?

Thinking of traveling and don't know the language? Here are some simple things that may help.

Bring along a small cheat sheet

Make an index card, or write the list inside the cover of my dictionary or guidebook, of words you are likely to see on signs, especially those that have opposites, such as:

in, out
up, down
exit, enter
push, pull
wait, go"

Go back to school

Sign up for a class at your local community college. You can always continue with tapes. But it really helps to understand how all the grammar works and how to compose sentences.

Pave your way with a smile

Remember that a smile is well understood in either language. Many do speak English and are more than happy to attempt English if you're friendly and attempt at least please and thank you in the local language.

Master basic phrases

I always make it a point to learn between 50-100 words in the language of the country I am traveling to. Most important are key phrases like 'Where is the...,' 'Please,' 'Thank you,' 'I'm sorry but I do not speak ____ very well.'

Make learning the language the point of your trip

It’s fun and after a few days you may no longer be nervous about trying to speak the language.

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