Language Learning – How a Small Time Investment Helps Your ExperienceOn February 2, 2017 by abah guru
You have bought your ticket. You have planned your trip and made all your bookings. Now all you need to do is sit back and count the days until departure and think about packing – right? Wrong!
If you are visiting a country where the local language is not English I strongly suggest that you invest some time in learning some basics of the language. This does not need to be a terribly time-consuming or long drawn out process, but you will enjoy yourself far more if you can do more than merely say good morning and thank you in the local language and use sign language or rely on finding English speakers for the rest of your communications.
With only a few hours and a slight effort you can take a some steps which will make that phrasebook you are planning to pack infinitely more useful, and help you feel more relaxed when you walk into a local shop or restaurant, or even when you are talking to the owner of your B&B. The difference between the traveller who has taken time to listen to some basic audio recordings in the target language, memorise greetings and a few useful phrases, and even learn some fundamentals of grammar before hopping on the plane, and the one who relies completely on his phrasebook, or his misty memories of eighth grade French is enormous when it comes to asking for information, or even picking up lunch at a place that doesn’t cater exclusively to tourists.
Imagine that you are working in a bakery in your home town and a customer comes in who does not speak a word of English, points at a loaf of bread, holds up two fingers to indicate how many he wants, then does the same for the next item, and finally looks at the cash register to see how much to pay. Of course you’ll serve them, but you are probably going to be rather impatient, especially if you have other customers waiting. If they are also trying to get information or directions you will probably not bother to help. Contrast that with your response to someone who is clearly trying to communicate in English, a customer whose English may be oddly accented, and not fluent, but who can manage numbers and the basic names of things. You will certainly make a far greater effort to understand and help the second customer than the first. As a tourist, you will find people much more friendly if you try to be the second person rather than the first one.
In as little as three carefully targeted hours of language study (although more is helpful), you can become comfortable with greetings and basic phrases, you can learn to conjugate a few verbs so that you sound like a person rather than a robot, and you can build a stock of helpful vocabulary which will make your trip much less stressful.