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54

Absolutely. While you may sometimes have time to look things up, often you won't. I have absent-mindedly arrived overseas without learning "please" and "thank you", and noticed upon fixing that, and using them as appropriate, that everyone was instantly nicer to me, both strangers and the people I was there to interact with. It makes a difference. I ...


39

I have backpacked around a fair bit in India - I grew up there, by the way - and yet I still mostly had to use English to get myself understood when I was visiting other states. India has 22 official languages, so the curious thing is even for Indians it is often English that is the binding thread - the one language that I could communicate in any part of ...


28

While saying "No" in Asia is generally different from other countries in western Europe, I made the experience that - depending on how well you know people and in which environment you are - it is much more difficult to find out what the actual situation is in Japan than let's say in China, Singapore etc. I experienced the biggest differences to the Japanese ...


25

This year I travelled from London to Mongolia overland. There was a period from leaving Saint Petersburg, Russia to reaching Khiva, Uzbekistan - where for 10 days, I did not hear any native English. Two people had broken English, that was it. So no, it will NOT get you by wherever you are in the world. However, you can still get by - with hand signals, ...


24

English works everywhere with people buying and selling things and in the hospitality and tourism busniness. Hindi does not work everywhere and seems to not even be respected in the parts of the country (ie most of India) where it is not the primary language. I found very few people helpful in trying to teach me basic Hindi phrases, the opposite that I ...


23

While this phenomenon exists, it's not as big a problem as you think, and it affects primarily relationships with people you already know. If you ask a complete stranger for directions, they will say "no" or direct you somewhere else if they can't help you, and if they go out of their way to help you they're doing it entirely voluntarily. Sure, you might ...


19

I was in Montreal a few months ago, and I was worried about this. I tried my best to learn some French through podcasts (Coffee Break French - I really liked Coffee Break Spanish), but I still felt like I was floundering. Be aware though, that just 10 words can get you very far, if they're the right words. Hello, Goodbye, Please, Thank you, Yes, No, ...


16

Yiddish is only spoken in very specific neighborhoods by very specific people. Usually you would identify them by being rather old (middle-aged+) and very religious (you can see by their clothing). You would probably encounter them in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak. Some younger members of the certain Ashkenazi religious communities speak Yiddish, as well as some ...


16

The answer is yes, but you will have to speak a bit slower to most Brazilians, since they are not so used to listening to Portuguese with "Portuguese accent". The other way around is easier because Portuguese people are used to listen to Brazilian accent in soap operas. In Angola, Mozambique, etc. differences also exist but the understanding might be a ...


15

It's a common problem I had in South America - I really wanted to improve my Spanish while travelling as it gives you a much better insight into your travels, and can talk to locals more. But so often they'd just switch to English because they welcomed a chance to learn English themselves. You can either do the obvious (ask them to speak French so you can ...


15

If you know Russian, use it. Despite the political situation, Georgians are smart and open minded. They may not like the Russian government but they love Russian people and they love the Russian language. I'm pretty convinced after seven months in Georgia that people learn Russian there for just the same reason foreigners everywhere learn English: it's cool ...


15

You can say. ผมไม่อยากไปที่ท่ารถ. ผมอยากไป .(fill in your destination). ช่วยพาไปหน่อยได้มั๊ยครับ. ผมเป็นนักเดินทาง. ขอบคุณครับ. It means: I don't want to go to the bus station. I want to go to ..., please can you take me there. I'm a traveller. Thank you. Here's how you'd say it: Pom mai yak pai tee ta rod. Pom yak pai tee .(fill in your ...


14

You need a bit more information. Are you going with a tour or solo? I went solo and I don't really know any Russian aside form what I picked up while there. I stayed on the Europe side of the Urals, and bounced between hostels. It is definitely more difficult to go solo, but with some pedimiming and patience, it is easy enough. Contrary to a lot of ...


14

If you are planning on travelling to only places such as Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad - essentially the metros - English will not be a problem. There is no one language that really works in India. But in most urban areas such as the ones listed above, English will work without any problem. At most "touristy" places too, you are very likely ...


14

It is important to learn some words when traveling so you can be polite and avoid mistakes. My favorites are, in order of importance:- No - so you know what not to do, Thank you - polite people get goodwill, You are welcome - more goodwill, Where is the toilet? - necessity, Hello, my name is... - you are there for adventure; have one, What does this ...


14

The solution to the language barrier problem may be much simpler then relying on the immigration to provide the interpreter for the native language of your family member. Given that he/she is coming from your native country it is much simpler to do one of the following: Find a person on the plane who speaks one of the major languages as well as the native ...


13

I was in Southern India earlier this year and noticed many Indians speaking English with each other. This is because they simply don't speak each others native language. I don't think people in the south don't want to speak in Hindi, they simply can't. That's why English is so important, because most people speak better English than any second Indian ...


12

Since she'll be traveling between two EU member countries (Romania and France), the formalities will be minimal. Assuming that she has Romanian citizenship, she has the right to travel freely inside the EU. She needs to have a valid passport or identity card. Unless something really unusual happens (e.g. her papers are damaged, her name matches that of a ...


11

While some people have mentioned that you sometimes get a translation in English on signs, I've found that especially in ex-Soviet states, this often isn't the case. That doesn't mean you can't get by. Sometimes a picture with the words is worth a thousand words: (landmine warning on the Tajikistan border with Afghanistan)


11

In general all major airlines will have flight attendants on board that speak at least the following languages : The main language of the country they are flying FROM The main language of the country they are flying TO English That's not to say that every flight attendant on the flight will speak all of those languages, but there will be at least one ...


11

The "North vs South" divide exists. South Indians feel North Indians are loud, boorish, and have a superiority complex, and do not attempt to learn or respect local culture, language and such. North Indians feel South Indians are unfriendly, are sambar-rasam people. Both parties have some pre-conceived notions. In the end it depends on you, and the ...


10

As a general rule when travelling, I've always been surprised by how helpful pharmacists are. They often speak quite a bit of English In many countries they have the authority to provide certain prescription drugs otherwise available only from doctors They often are surprisingly good at telling you what the local equivalent is for an American medication, ...


10

I'm in Russia now - just got off the train in Volgograd. I know only a few words and am travelling on my own. Fair warning - Russia (my second visit) is the hardest country I've travelled in. I struggle with the Cyrillic - but it's definitely worth learning. It gets faster to read quite quickly. One of the best suggestions is to write requests down. ...


10

If it's more than a day or two, I would try to memorize the following words in Russian: numbers 1 to 3 hello, bye please, thanks excuse me/sorry Those alone will get you a long way. Also, it certainly helps you to get around and find shops/hotels/etc if you're able to read Cyrillic. A lot of international words are the same, just look differently. From ...


10

Unterkunft - the most general word that includes everything else (just like accomodation) Hotel Gasthof, Gasthaus - translates best as "inn", may or may not offer rooms as well as food Pension - similar to bed&breakfast, the most common in rurual areas Berghütte, Hütte - shelter for hikers and mountaineers in alpine areas, generally offers only shared ...


10

To answer your question, it is useful but not that important. You are correct in saying that the majority of people in Montreal understand English. The majority also understand French too. You will also find that there are many people who live here which speak neither of these languages and have been in Montreal for a decade or more! You should be prepared ...


10

I was there (and Quebec City) back in March. I knew a few basic words in French, and I think most people like it when you respond in the same language as them. I generally responded in my mangled French, they'd usually smile and without asking, switch to English to communicate with me. No fuss, no question, they'd just change. Very hospitable. Basically, ...


9

You don't have to be able to read the alphabet to travel but learning it will save you from a lot of confusion when you're trying to synchronize the map, the signs and what you heard from the other people. Cyrillic ain't that hard—the hardest part may be to realize that some letters don't match (Cyrillic “В”, “Р”, “С” and “У” are actually “V”, “R”, “S” and ...


9

I traveled around Maharashtra (including Mumbai) and Andhra Pradesh and I had no problem getting by with just English. I did try and learn a few phrases in Hindi, Telugu, and Urdu, however, I hardly used any of them. In the few instances where I did try and speak in the native language (e.g., when trying to bargain), I was often met with a blank stare. ...



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