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Linguaholic

Learning for travel?


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I'm very much of in favor of it. Not only is it stimulating to learn new languages when you travel, knowing the native language of whatever country you are traveling to comes in handy. It's very useful. Plus, you'll be able to communicate with locals and that'll make for a much more pleasurable trip.

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I think it's a good thing. I tried learning Chinese when I lived in China. I at least got down plenty of basics, so I could get around my city in a taxi, and do fine in a shop or restaurant. I'm focusing on Spanish more right now, and I want to travel some within Latin America. But I'm also from the U.S. and Spanish is very useful here without leaving home too.

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I am in favor of it because it enhances your experience in that country, meaning you wouldn't need to feel so much like a tourist and instead can immerse yourself as much as possible depending on how much you've learned. Though, I don't really consider it to be that much practical if you only plan on visiting the country once and only for a short time, since it takes years to study a language. It might be best to make an effort to learn the basics, though, just to be polite to the locals.

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For most travlling it is not very necessary, it is convenient if you know some of the language though.  Most places in Europe you will not need to know the language because English is so common.  In Asia, China an Japan at least I know there is a lot of English spoken and most travelers do not have a problem even if they do not speak any of the language. 

I think I would enjoy my travels more if I knew some of the language because I could participate more in the culture going on around me, but if that was not a possibility that's ok with me too.

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It's funny how the foreign language that I am more fluent in I have never thought of going to it's country. I have always thought of going to France or Italy on vacation but I only know a little French and nothing much in Itallian. It would be great to study these languages and know at least the basic as this would give me more confidence and comfort during my stay.

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I think it's a really good idea to have a basic knowledge of the language that is spoken in the country that you are going to visit. Even a simple phrase book can be extremely useful when it comes to elementary communication, or situations in which you need to rely on the language skills that you have. It often makes life easier when you at least know a few words, as words can be strung together and suddenly things make more sense. :)

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Seems like there's a general agreement then, I think having at least the basics down is a necessary...both for your own safety and enjoyment and just to avoid being rude to locals. Plus, when I travel I really want to immerse myself in the whole experience...a bit challenging if you can't even communicate on a basic level with most people around you.

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I think it's necessary actually especially if the place you're going to is not familiar with English. It's useful to learn a few words and also the culture. Get the basics down first, learn a few important words and learn the proper way to construct a sentence. Even though they're just basic it would take a you a long way and possibly stir you away from inconvenience.

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Depending on your travel priorities, learning a language may or may not be necessary. For my part, I try not to think in terms of necessity. Learning a particular country's language gives you a concrete experience of its culture that tasting their local cuisine and visiting historical sites may not be able to provide you with. It also contributes to your human becoming. Language connects you to the people of that country.

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I think it's not really mandatory to learn a new language completely when you get to travel abroad, but you must learn the basic words that can help you get by in the country like "how much", "where is the bus stop", etc. I have friends who were sent abroad by their companies on a business trip to Japan and Hongkong, but they never bothered to learn those countries' native language, maybe because English is spoken there. If the country doesn't speak English at all, then that is a big problem if you visit there.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I think that it is an amazing thing to learn a language of the place you will be visiting. People feel honored if you can speak their language even if it will not be perfect. They will find you friendly and may be willing to offer help should you need it because you put the effort to learn their language.

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I think it is not only polite, but necessary. Sure, English is nearly universal, but I don't wouldn't want to be caught in a situation where I need to know the native language of a place for survival reasons and instead be looking in a translation book. Besides that, knowing the language is really the best way to be immersed in the culture and get to know different people.

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I say that learning the language of the place you will visit would just enhance your experience, I don't think it is necessary. For example, when visiting France (Paris), since it is the capital it is probable that anyone you meet will be able to communicate in English, although if you knew French it would just make your trip more enjoyable. However, if you went to some more rural areas, knowing French would be more valuable and would help you out immensely.

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Seems like there's a general agreement then, I think having at least the basics down is a necessary...both for your own safety and enjoyment and just to avoid being rude to locals. Plus, when I travel I really want to immerse myself in the whole experience...a bit challenging if you can't even communicate on a basic level with most people around you.

You're right. I think most cultures are accepting of foreigners not learning the language especially if they are used to tourists but some would probably be more peeved about it than others. It's good to have a basic understanding just so it could serve as a good enough head start since learning from scratch with limited time is just too much to ask of a tourist.

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I think it is nice to learn a few words so that you can get around the country with ease. Learn greetings, how to ask for directions and where to eat or to say that you are lost. It makes a world of difference when you travel because although people speak English it is often time consuming finding someone to help you.

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I think it is very polite when you try to learn a few phrases. Learning "thank you" is a must! Showing gratitude can get you better seats at a restaurant and so many other things. People will be kind if they see that you put in the effort to try to learn.

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All learning is good. But at the same time, not all learning is practical. If you are only going to vacation in a foreign country for a week, it's not practical to learn their language. You probably won't even remember what you studied 3 months after your visit. If you intend to stay longer or continuously visit that country, i think then it is practical.

Now, if you are just learning because you really want to learn, then you should because again, all learning is good.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Even though it may not be necessary to learn a language to visit, I think that it is polite and shows your hosts that you are trying.  I've traveled to places where I could speak the language and other places that everything was done by hand gestures and nods.  Having a sense of humor and laughing at yourself when you don't get it right are essential either way.

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I think it is quite necessary to learn some common words or phrases of the countries you will going to visit. Those words like where is the market, thank you, hello, welcome and how much is this?. Some words can also be easily learned too by asking the locals there who understand English.

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I used to believe that learning the language of places where I am going to visit is necessarily.  I do not think it is efficient as I am not very good at language learning.  I rely on the tourist guides of the planned tours today.  This will relieve my language burden when travelling.

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I've only been to my neighboring Southeast Asian countries and Seoul, Korea. English is widely spoken in the SE countries I've visited. Thus, I'd say that it's not necessary to learn said countries' languages.

I've had the most difficulty in Seoul, though. Although I managed to get by, I also got a lot of "Sorry, No English." It was difficult every time it happened.

On the one hand, it's also much helpful if you learn some key phrases to help you get by. In Bangkok, my friends and I didn't have a problem with just knowing English. But it was a different story when we went to Ayutthaya. We went on a tour group, but decided to go to a one place not part of our itinerary. The tour guide agreed, but made us promise to still meet the group at the drop off point (the Elephant Park, something). However, we sort of lost our way and tried asking locals to help us. None of the locals we asked spoke English. So, we ended up doing Charades. But it turned out, we were so bad actors that the locals would just shake their heads in confusion. Good thing there was someone who passed by carrying a box with a picture of an Elephant in it. We kept pointing to the elephant picture, until one local finally got it and helped us find our tour group. It is funny relating it now, but I assure you it was very frustrating when it happened.

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I've only traveled in Europe and I didn't know the language of all the places I traveled.  When I did know the language I would try my best.  I would often apologize for not speaking the language very well, and in response I had many people say that they appreciated my effort in trying to learn it. 

One time when traveling in Germany neither my friend nor I spoke German. She spoke Dutch, though, so she used that when people didn't speak English and it was close enough to usually get the message across with a little work.

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Has anyone had a situation where someone tried to take advantage of them on an overseas trip? Like, the locals tried to steal from you or put you into a bad situation? But you were able to avoid it because you were familiar with the language. I imagine that happens pretty regularly. Criminals in particular probably look for naive and ignorant foreigners to take advantage of.

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What's your opinion on learning the language of places you plan to visit? Do you feel that it's necessary? Or at the very least polite? Does it depend on how long you're going to be there?

I do believe that it all depends on how long  you are going to stay there, if the visit is ver brief like two days , then I do not see the need, but if you are going to stay for a while longer then it is polite and safe for one to learn the language that is spoken there, just incaser you find yourself in an weird sitution, you might be able to bail yourself out if you know some of their language.

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