Just learn a few words in each new language as you travel and life gets easier.
We met wonderful, interesting and friendly people all over the world. Knowing just a few words in their language helped break the ice when we fumbled for conversation and generally returned smiles. (It didn’t seem to help much in Moscow or Paris, but those are stories for another day.)
There were a few fails: our car thermostat failed in Spain and while waiting for the engine to cool we noticed the parking warden heading our way. I walked over to her, told her our story in what I thought was perfect Spanish adding, “My hubby is sad.” She burst into laughter and told me, complete with thumb and first finger gestures that I had said, “My hubby is small.”
Plus there is interpretation in reverse. I am pretty sure these signs don’t mean what they say in literal English:
Except where noted all photos © Rhonda Albom 2012
Do you learn just a few words when you travel? Have you a funny language story to share?
Rhonda’s Language Travel Tips:
Just Learn a Few Words in every language
- Key words and phrases include: standard greetings, please, thank you and “I don’t speak (language).”
- If you don’t know the numbers fluently, use the number pad on your phone when negotiating price, or your fingers if the numbers are different (Arabic, Hebrew).
- Try to learn before you arrive, but if you can’t ask at airport information or hotel check in.
- Laugh when you make a mistake, it’s universal. More importantly, never laugh when they make a mistake, it’s not always universal.
I am participating in the A to Z challenge during April 2013. My topic: