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5

Traditionally, one would just point and shout their requests in English... As a nation, it's served us well for at least 600 years. The more advanced may wish to transpose a few words into the local language, numbers, 'please' and 'thank you' being the most common For example in French: UNE OF THOSE SIH VOOO PLAY


1

I think that "I don't speak this language well" is a phrase worth learning. That way you at least engage the person in their native language but state your preference. For your Korean example it would be: "Han-gu-geo-rul chael mo-te-yo"


5

I think it's actually important to specify the place instead of making the question generic, because it does matter. For example: Montreal is a locale where most people are bilingual with French and English. It's perfectly acceptable to reply "hello" when greeted "bonjour", and in fact, on the street you're better off just opening your mouth and speaking ...


3

It appears your situation is somewhat specific to a metropolitan area of South Korea. This country can be tricky in some cases, especially if your appearance is Asian but clearly not of Korean stock. As someone who was once compelled to study several languages and then lost speaking fluency in many but somehow retained literacy (so I get sent to X, Y and Z ...


15

This is much the same as has already been written by Mark Mayo but I have heard some arguments in favour of duplication of answers (basically that one answer may reinforce the other). I think inability to speak the local language is nothing to be embarrassed about. There are well over 100 “major” ones and nobody speaks all of these. Staying away until you ...


0

From my own experience I have found English to some degree is widely spoken, and when it isn't its very easy to get by on limited Spanish.


48

Generally most people respond well when you make an effort, even if you can't speak their language fully. Responding to "Hola" with "Hola", saying "dankie" (thanks), or whatever - little words. They'll quickly realise you can't speak their language fully, but appreciate the effort. Usually. However, it's those tourists that just walk in and expect to be ...


2

For what it's worth, I am from Canada and have lived/worked in Sofia for 2-3 years. English was useful and most people kind of understand it, but your mileage may vary outside tourist/business areas. You might find older people who speak French. It helped me a few random times in train stations or in some remote villages. Met really nice people this way. ...


3

The only advice she got from the travel agency is to use disability services. Not disability services, but you can use the meet and assist services from the airline that are provided to minors. The same service is available for elderly travelers and those needing extra assistance. This would make sure someone receives her at the gate, takes her ...


1

I have thought about that as I wanted to organize a trip for my parents. So here are my suggestions: Buy her a small phrasebook, so she'd have some phrases translated from her native language to English Write some notes like "Can you please help me find my gate?", "Where do I go for … Terminal #", "Where do I find representative of … airline …" and few ...


2

There are various ways to help her get from the start to the end: Have a phone with her. Make sure it supports all of the frequencies the countries use she's going through (most newer phones do, but some older phones don't), and a SIM card that has roaming enabled. If she can use a smartphone then also try to get a SIM card that supports data roaming as in ...


3

She will have boarding passes for the connecting flights, just wave one of them at nearly anyone in uniform and they will point which way to go. "Big international airports" deal with this kind of thing many, many times per day. Won't surprise them one bit. Does she read the roman alphabet? Recognize numbers 0-9? Knows the standard pictograms? She'll be ...


0

pnuts' answer is mostly correct but he uses a bit outdated sources. There were never U/R 50/50 ratio in Ukraine. I would say 70/30 and Russian usage is decreasing since most of the young population learns only Ukrainian. Unfortunately I have to agree with pnuts that if you want to travel to post soviet countries frequently you should better learn Russian ...


6

Don't focus on either language because you are unlikely to achieve reasonable proficiency in either considering a few hours per week for a few weeks. What you should focus on is reading, especially place names. Both the Russian and Ukrainian alphabets are similar to each other and not very different from the Latin script that you are familiar with. Learn ...


2

Russian and Ukranian are not so very close languages. But the locals used to practice funny type of conversations when one interlocutor speaks Russian (Ukranian) and receives and understands an answer in Ukranian (Russian). May be this not the case now... If I were you, I would concentrate on Cyrillic alphabet, so that I would be able to understand simple ...


5

Russian, no contest. Not quite where you mention (presumably thankfully!) but not far off: The Russian language in Ukraine is the most common first language in the Donbass and Crimea regions, and the predominant language in large cities in the East and South of the country. In Ukraine the ratio may be nearer 50/50 but there are approximately five ...


1

Five to ten hours a week for a for weeks is enough to understand a little bit of the basics of either Ukrainian or Russian. The languages are very similar, so in that sense it doesn't matter too much which language you pick. That said, if you're going to western Ukraine, it'd be more sensible to try your luck with Ukrainian as Russian is more common in the ...


1

It actually varies by region. Most people you will encounter will understand Russian but not necessarily respond to you in the same language for various reasons. So depending on where you will be visiting you may need to be able to do both and a few weeks crash course in either one will be insufficient unless you are familiar with other languages in the ...


4

It's possible to get around just with English, it depends a lot from your destination. In Sofia, Varna or some other big cities it shouldn't be a problem, in the most towns on the Black Sea shoudn't be a problem too. But there are also some urban areas where the local people don't even speak Bulgarian fluently and don't know a single word of English. As ...


9

Wikitravel has a section on this. Essentially you'll want to learn the script - even if you can't speak it. It at least helps you say words, or if someone says to try the cheese and tells you the word is 'Kashkaval', at least when you see the script saying 'Кашкавал' you'll be able to figure it out, even if slowly. It's immensely useful for street signs ...



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