7.8 Languages

"Knowing some other languages (not fluently, just a couple dozen please and thank-you variety words) opens even more doors for you. The locals appreciate your effort, even if the majority speaks English, and it can help you even more in bargaining, getting directions while away from the tourist areas, reading menus, etc.. Picking up a limited vocabulary is usually quite easy while you are in the country as long as you make the effort." <Sean Connolly>

"It is almost impossible to find places in the world today where an English speaker cannot be produced to translate for you within a few minutes. But if you cannot be bothered to do people the courtesy of learning at least a few words of their language, you probably ought not to be travelling in that country. A basic vocabulary can be gotten very quickly and will open doors and hearts that are closed to others. The secret to getting along in a foreign country with a few words and sign language is not to be afraid of making a fool of yourself. The people may laugh, but they are laughing with you, in the joy that here is someone willing to meet them on their own terms. The worse you sound and the harder you try, the more they will respect your effort. Laura says that she does better in foreign languages if she concentrates on the face of the person speaking, and the overall meaning they are trying to convey, rather than getting hung up on individual words or keeping her nose in the phrasebook." <Larry Lustig>

"If you want to be able to communicate, you must either know the language or go to countries where your language is spoken by more than just people who deal with tourists. So a list of countries where English is spoken by the locals would be nice. Here are some: USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, Vietnam (especially in the south, French in the north), South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Israel, UK, and Ireland." <Davy Davis> Others: Malaysia, Fiji, Cook Islands, and Guyana.

French is a language a lot of travellers know, or would like to learn. Countries where French is spoken widely: Canada; Europe - Belgium, France, Switzerland; South Pacific - French Polynesia (Tahiti), New Caledonia, Vanuatu; French West Indies - Guadeloupe, Haiti, Martinique; Africa - Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Senegal, Seychelles, Togo, Zaire; South America - French Guiana.

"For any travel to Central/South America it is beneficial to make some effort to learn Spanish unless you are restricting yourself to Brazil (which is vast!), in which case Portuguese would be better! In other places, for the most part English is widely understood to some degree; although we found in Indonesia, that it was quite easy to pick up the language, and very useful on many of the less touristy islands. This knowledge also is helpful in Malaysia and Singapore." <Chris Finlayson>

"Esperanto is an artificial language, with more than three million speakers worldwide, in every conceivable country, and a strong sense of cohesion and friendship if at times eccentricity. You can learn it quickly, and it is very expressive with an incredible body of original literature, poetry and music (including rock, folk, easy listening). If language interests you in any way and you would like to make contacts worldwide, learn this one. Just search the web for 'Esperanto material' and 'course' -- you'll be surprised at how much you find. You can do an online course and be ready for the road in a matter of weeks." <Bernd Wechner>

Learn to say common words and phrases: hello, good bye, please, thank you, yes, no, excuse me, good, bad, where, how much, too much, and the numbers.

I Love Languages
Word2Word Language Resources
Ethnologue Languages of the World
World Languages
A Web of On-Line Dictionaries
UNESCO Education Resources Databases
Online Verb Conjugator
Babelfish Webpage Translator
FreeTranslation's Webpage Translator
Dictionary.com Translator

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