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72

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 confident, there's no harm in addressing them, but if they address you first in your language (I'm presuming English), it's best to stick with that rather than ...


67

Generally most people respond well when you make an effort, even if you can't speak their language fully. Responding to "Hola" (Spanish for hello) with "Hola", saying "dankie" (Afrikaans for 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 ...


63

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 ...


51

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 Norwegian hello or good morning/day, and next try out which language sits best. One time in Norway I was asked to speak Dutch rather than English (I speak no ...


46

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 people, in general, most people can understand at least a little bit of English (except, of course, the very old people). (EDIT: As commenters reminded me, there ...


45

Actually, various sources on Google told me Here's one source, scroll down a little way. Edit: it was my understanding that the RFDS was entirely funded by donations but it seems this is not the case. I've removed that reference from my answer, but don't let that stop you donating!


42

Assuming we're a) choosing countries at random, regardless of size, population or popularity with tourists, b) choosing languages that let us communicate where English doesn't, and c) ignoring how hard it is to learn the language, I'd probably go with French and Arabic, although Spanish comes close too. As an official language of 29 countries, plus a whole ...


42

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 for their choice of language. Long story. Russian was the most comprehensible language simply because almost all Ukrainian speakers are bilingual, unlike the ...


38

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, ...


37

Unless you plan to read/watch something written in Nynorsk, you should go for Bokmål. Most Norwegians have this as their written language, and it's close to what is spoken in the Oslo/Hurum area. Bokmål and Nynorsk are not that different though... Riksmål is sort of the old-fashioned version of Bokmål (basically the name was changed to Bokmål in 1929), ...


36

French seems like an obvious choice: Spoken (to some extent, don't expect everybody to be able to communicate with you!) in 20+ countries, not much overlap with English, mostly standardized and easy to learn for English speakers (compared to Arabic or local languages), not limited to a specific region (unlike, say, Swahili which does enjoy some use as a ...


34

First of all, as a tourist in Norway you will be able to get by with English. Nobody expects tourists to have learned any of the Norwegian languages. I do not speak Norwegian but a friend of my does, learned it as a foreigner, and has a good view on the languages as she has lived in several areas. If you want to learn a few words, just to be polite, it ...


31

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 other I can speak nearly as fluently. I will always try to address French border police in their language, although I can't really speak it, because they are ...


30

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 usually say something, and usually in English. At that point, it would be polite to thank them in their native language.


27

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 read and write them. These three written languages are so similar that people who know one of them can easily read and understand something written in any of ...


26

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 ...


26

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 ...


26

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 answer is one (not-black) person's opinion, and really diving into it is probably more of a matter for a site like english.stackexchange.com. But none of that ...


25

I think it means "days". It's just a name of the field "days after entry" on chinese language. "Duration of each stay 090 days"


25

In general people speak both languages. And because they can tell you are a tourist from the way you breathe :) they will not expect you to speak Spanish, nor Catalan. Having said this, you should always learn a few common words in the local language, such as greetings and please/thank you, as it shows you are making an effort. You said you are already ...


25

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 in Trøndelag, and especially if you have a foreign accent when speaking Swedish, you can not take it for granted that all Norwegians will understand your ...


24

That's a lot of questions, son, but I'll give you a general rundown based on my experience. English signage in the major cities is sufficient for getting around, eg. the Seoul Metro and Korea Rail have all major signs and announcements in English (and Japanese and Chinese!), so you won't need hangul for a visit of a few days. Major tourist attractions will ...


23

While this question is answered (in short: English is probably your best bet), as a native, I'd like to provide a more complete explanation. First of all, the first part of Mark's accepted answer is highly misleading (even if we ignore the fact Wikitravel's Quick Facts now contain data that is 13 years old). The two major flaws in that logic are: The ...


23

"天" means "days". You might be confused by the "after entry" part and thought why "天" is translated into "days after entry". This is because of Chinese word order. In English, "after entry" is placed at the end of the sentence, after the number 090; while in Chinese, it ("入境后") is placed at the beginning.


23

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 ...


23

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 East Timor as well. So that's five countries right there, all easily reached from Australia, quite distinct and full of tourist attractions. Malay/Indonesian is ...


22

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, displacing Irish. According to the sidebar on the right, 99% of the population speaks English. As a tourist, you're not likely to encounter the other 1%.


21

You can say. ผมไม่อยากไปที่ท่ารถ. ผมอยากไป ..(fill in your destination).. ช่วยพาไปหน่อยได้ไหมครับ. 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 ...


21

The solution to the language barrier problem may be much simpler than 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 ...


20

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. ...


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