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In what language should I address foreign customs and immigration?

Unless you're completely fluent, you risk a miscommunication in a legal context. If you're at all uncertain about communicating to them, you should ask for a translator. In your case, if you're ...
Mark Mayo's user avatar
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60 votes
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Is it okay to mix in local language when I know it poorly?

It doesn't matter where you go in the world, the locals are pleased when an obvious foreigner makes an effort to be polite in the few words they know. (Even France, these days.) But as soon as it is ...
RedSonja's user avatar
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56 votes
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Is it rude to speak Swedish in Norway?

No, in itself it is not rude. You can do it in a rude way, by just ignoring the signals if the other person is not happy about it. Offer the person you talk with the choice. I would start with a ...
Willeke's user avatar
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48 votes

Do many Japanese people speak Korean?

No. Most Japanese people do NOT speak Korean. However, the English language is a required subject in the Japanese secondary education; although English education has not gone very well for Japanese ...
xuq01's user avatar
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47 votes
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What is the main spoken language in Kiev: Ukrainian or Russian?

TL;DR: as of 2016, it was Russian; its dominance is drastically decreasing nowadays; a foreigner who wants to speak on the streets of Kyiv should consider historical, political, and cultural aspects ...
Be Brave Be Like Ukraine's user avatar
40 votes
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Are there a FEW languages that, along with English, will let a person be understood by the vast majority of people in North-Western Europe?

I assume you speak English so I will discuss other languages. German will be understood by nearly everyone in Germany (!), Austria, and over half of the residents of Switzerland. It's spoken by ...
Relaxed's user avatar
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33 votes

In what language should I address foreign customs and immigration?

The answer to the general question is: It depends. The general options are as follows: I always address U.S. and U.K. border guards in their language, because I don't expect them to understand any ...
Alexander's user avatar
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31 votes

In what language should I address foreign customs and immigration?

Your best bet is to not speak at all. If they ask you to do anything (take your hat off, look into the camera), just do it without a word. Once you get everything stamped and taken care, they will ...
Michael Lorton's user avatar
27 votes

Which Norwegian language to learn?

As a native of Norway, I need to clarify something: Bokmål, Riksmål and Nynorsk are not spoken dialects. They are written languages. You cannot learn to speak or listen to them, you can only learn to ...
Fiksdal's user avatar
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27 votes
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Is English spoken widely in Ireland?

You'll get along fine with just English. According to Wikipedia: There are a number of languages used in Ireland. Since the late nineteenth century, English has been the predominant first language, ...
Glorfindel's user avatar
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26 votes
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Acceptable terms for describing black people in California

Black vs African-American (and in written English, Black vs black) is a complicated language and cultural question without clear answers. Entire books can and have been written on the subject. This ...
Zach Lipton's user avatar
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26 votes

Is it rude to speak Swedish in Norway?

It is neither rude, nor arrogant, but I am not sure if I see any point in doing so. If you don't understand Norwegian very well, you are very likely to have larger difficulties with the rural dialects ...
Tor-Einar Jarnbjo's user avatar
25 votes
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In what language should I write my city/country name abroad?

Odds are pretty high whatever you write will end up on the passport as is, so I'd suggest you write it the way you want to see it. In your case, "Paris" will be universally recognized, while ...
lambshaanxy's user avatar
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23 votes
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Most useful languages other than English in Asia and Oceania

I'm pretty sure your best option would be Malay. It's an official language of Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore, and mutually intelligible with Indonesian, which is a designated "working language" in ...
lambshaanxy's user avatar
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23 votes
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Using Modern Standard Arabic in Arabic-speaking countries

The first thing to be aware of is, while you can use Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) / Fusha (pron. 'foos-ha') to be understood, unless you also learn some local Amiyah (colloquial dialect) vocab and ...
user56reinstatemonica8's user avatar
22 votes

In what language should I address foreign customs and immigration?

As a European living in a part of South Asia where I speak the language: I speak to the natives here in their own language pretty much always. One of the very few exceptions to this is when I go ...
Fiksdal's user avatar
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20 votes

Is it rude to speak Swedish in Norway?

As a Norwegian I will say that we mostly wouldn't find it rude at all (rightfully so), problem is that the response will be in Norwegian and that might pose a problem for you as you have stated. For ...
sindre j's user avatar
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20 votes

In what language should I write my city/country name abroad?

I went to my appointment at the consulate and asked the employee which form is valid. They entered (or it was pre-entered like so) Paris, FRANCIA in the database (which is the same as what is in my ...
Nicolas Formichella's user avatar
18 votes

Is it okay to mix in local language when I know it poorly?

Personally I prefer speaking English if my conversational partner isn't reasonably fluent in my other language. "hello", "thank you" & "beer" are always fine as they ...
Hilmar's user avatar
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18 votes

Is any translation of driver’s licence valid for international driving?

No, it has to be issued by your country's government, or an organization they have authorized to issue them. Article 24 of the 1949 Geneva Convention (emphasis mine): The international driving permit ...
Nate Eldredge's user avatar
16 votes

What is the main spoken language in Kiev: Ukrainian or Russian?

Someone told me most people mainly use Russian in everyday life and at home (which is what's relevant to this question), and Ukrainian in official contexts. Is this accurate? This is fully accurate. ...
JonathanReez's user avatar
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16 votes
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How prevalent is Swedish in the Swedish speaking parts of Finland

Swedish is an official language along with Finnish at the national level, and in most coastal areas at the local level. Turku is an officially bilingual municipality, with a majority of native Finnish ...
Crazydre's user avatar
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16 votes
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Why is everything in South Africa in English, while that isn't the main language?

While English isn't the most common mother's tongue language in South Africa, it is the most understood language. This is actually the case in most African countries. While many people speak the ...
Philipp's user avatar
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16 votes
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El Yunque or "El Junque" National Forest Pronunciation

English Wiktionary and Spanish Wiktionary disagree on the pronunciation of the word, but they both could be reasonably approximated by the English J sound. English Wiktionary: /ˈɟ͡ʝunke/, [...
phoog's user avatar
  • 134k
15 votes

What is the main spoken language in Kiev: Ukrainian or Russian?

Both Ukrainian and Russian are commonly spoken in the city; approximately 75% of Kiev's population responded "Ukrainian" to the 2001 census question on their native language, roughly 25% ...
Fiksdal's user avatar
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14 votes
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Am I better off using French in Brussels, or should I stick to English?

As you state, some Belgians are overly sensitive to language issues. Usually, as a tourist you should not have problems due to that, but of course you can always get unlucky and meet the exceptional ...
Some wandering yeti's user avatar
14 votes

Is it rude to speak Swedish in Norway?

As a native Swedish speaker I will talk Swedish when with Norwegians and Norwegians with Swedes will usually speak Norwegian. However depending on your how comfortable you are with the respective ...
Viktor Mellgren's user avatar
14 votes

Is it okay to mix in local language when I know it poorly?

Usually in countries where knowledge of English is good, and my knowledge of the local language is limited, I generally learn (and use) "hello", "thank you", "goodbye", &...
Tristan's user avatar
  • 312
13 votes

In what language should I address foreign customs and immigration?

The entire purpose of forcing people to interact with custom agents is so the custom agent can intuitive evaluate the individual as some kind of potential threat. Nobody ends up in the backroom with ...
TechZen's user avatar
  • 231

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