Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Travel Tuesday: Learning another language ... or not.

Welcome to Travel Tuesday! I have provided a suggested topic for this week, but remember, all travel-related posts are always welcome in my Travel Tuesday link-up. :) The suggested prompt this week is:

How much of a country's language do you learn before visiting?

Personally, while I would love to be multilingual, I know it's not reasonable to learn the language of every country before I visit, even conversationally. Most people I know pick a few key phrases to learn before they arrive, e.g. "Where is the bathroom?" "Where is the train station?" "My name is ..." etc. I always make a point to learn one phrase, and if I've learned that one phrase, I can generally get along with people just fine:

Above you can find the native phrase for "thank you" for each country I visited on my European extravaganza trip this summer. You'll notice "Swiss" isn't on there because I visited the French area of Switzerland and used "merci." (In fact, I'm told the Swiss language, "Romansh," isn't even taught in most of the Swiss schools anymore; residents speak Italian, German or French depending on where they live.) Also note I have the female version of thank you in Portuguese; men would say "obrigado."

Another good phrase I like to know in foreign countries is "excuse me" or "I'm sorry," for the inevitable bumping against other people in large crowds.

I'm excited to learn: How much of the language do you learn? Can you speak any other languages fluently or otherwise? Link up below with your travel-related post!

Next week: Freebie! I'll be sharing photos from my trip to Granada and Ronda in the Andalusia region of Spain, including a visit to the Alhambra and one of the world's oldest bullrings!


Mallory @ Sweet Smores said...

It's one of my dreams to be bilingual, but it's super difficult for me to learn a language. I'm currently living in Japan and I'm trying to improve. I'm finding it hard to motivate myself at times since I feel like I'm not improving, but I keep pushing myself to keep going!

As for traveling to other countries, I also try to learn the basics so I can at least find a bathroom or the train station and say thank you.

Rachel said...

Great post! My head would be swimming trying to keep up with all those phrases in different languages. I'm sure that was an amazing trip, though.

Liene said...

Hi, visiting from the Friends from Around the World linkup! What a wonderful trip, to see so many countries at once! While living in France I quickly learned that people would be much more forthcoming with me and my poor French if only I said bonjour to start the conversation and merci for any help - it's become a habit even though we've returned to the US!

Mandi Noel said...

I always find that I pick up on a language way easier once I'm actually in the country. Before I go on a trip, though, I usually just learn the basics: hello, goodbye, please, thank you, excuse me, bathroom, do you speak English?? haha that last one is so helpful. I've traveled extensively in France, and every time I ask a French person if they speak English, their response is always "A little." Turns out their "little" English is actually what I consider "a lot." I usually tell them that, and they get so excited to have their awesome English skills complimented by an American. It's always fun to see that smile on their faces!

Irene said...

Interesting post! Learning foreign languages is a hobby of mine and so far I've studied four - English, French, German, Dutch - and I'm about to start studying a fifth one, Russian.
I think it is always nice to know some words in the language of the country you're visiting, but I wouldn't go as far as trying to get to a conversational level.

Kym Fox said...

I only have experience living in Germany - I learned the basics prior to moving, however it wasn't until I was submerged into the country, culture and people that the language started to "click" :) Great topic!! xx

Anonymous said...

The only other language I have a decent grasp on, is Spanish. It's actually not decent, it's pathetic, but it got me around in Spain.

I learned "obrigado" in Portugal and a few other phrases.

I tried to learn some phrases for China, but my pronounciation was so off, they still looked at me like I was nuts.
Funny enough, I wanted to learn "excuse me" for Shanghai (because of all the crowds), and my friend's roomate (native Shanghainese) could not think of the phrase. She said no one really uses it.

emi said...

great post and blog! i learned french while studying abroad there, i need to keep it up! can't wait to follow..xo

the well-traveled wife

eemusings said...

Very very little, especially since we are on a RTW trip and often not spending a lot of time in each country. I usually just try to memorise key phrases/words (thanks Triposo app! The phrasebook is very handy) and that's usually gotten me by everywhere we've travelled.