Do You Need To Learn The Language?

After my co-worker learned about my travel hobby/obsession/blog, he asked me where I’ve traveled. I rattled off a few places, such as Japan and Austria, and he replied that he’d always wanted to travel overseas but never did because he didn’t speak the language. He asked if it’s possible to visit these places if you are unilingual. I replied with a resounding, “Yes!”

Don’t let the fact that you don’t know the language keep you from visiting a country. Now, I’m not suggesting being a proud idiot and going in expecting everyone in a different nation to speak your language, either. Understand there will be difficulties in communication, which will become greater the farther you explore from the normal tourist areas. These are some of the quaint things you remember about traveling. It’s a good idea to try and learn a few phrases before you go. Things like good morning, good evening, excuse me, please, thank you and the ever important I’m sorry.

Here are a few examples of places we’ve traveled without knowing the language and the memories we have.

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How To Learn A Language For Travel (Or Because Learning Klingon or High Valyriand Would Be Cool) FOR FREE!

Joe and I have traveled to several countries where English was not the native tongue. Joe took Latin in school so his ability to translate is limited, but I took Spanish for 8 years, which helped when we went to Cuba in 2016, and immersed myself in Japanese In 10 Minutes A Day back in the mid-90s, which helped quite a bit the very first time I visited there.

Over the years we’ve noticed less and less need to learn much of other languages when traveling. If you have internet access, there are plenty of ways to get translation on the fly, and even without data access, there are offline apps, plus miming can go a long way, or you can even wear clothing that will help with the basic of basics.

That being said, it still helps immensely to have a little bit of knowledge under your belt of the language of the country you’re going to visit, even if it’s just a limited yes, no, thank-you, you’re welcome, I’m sorry, the numbers 1-100 and the “question” words of who, what, why, where, when and how. Obviously, for such limited words or phrases, you may not want to spend a fortune. Fortunately, there’s an online series of courses that can teach you close to 40 languages, and they’re FREE! And besides the typical Spanish, German, etc., you know what else they teach?

Klingon and High Valyriand.

I see your eyes lighting you, travel friends who are nerds on the side ;-)/

Continue reading “How To Learn A Language For Travel (Or Because Learning Klingon or High Valyriand Would Be Cool) FOR FREE!”