It’s me again, just done from classes and somehow finding time to write before work today. A shift until 11, yay (not really). Now, I am going to covering one topic that can frighten people out of traveling, and that is the matter of different languages in different places. Now, almost every place has people that speak English, as other school systems are better at teaching foreign language than we are (way to go America!). Anyway, here are a few tips for the average traveler when it comes to this.
If you even know 1 foreign language, you already know a bit of the place you are going, whether they speak it or not. Every language has words that come from other languages or regions. I can use 2 examples off of the top of my head, English in Chinese and Arabic in Spanish. If you travel to china, there are many words that come from English due to the American or Western ideas that they are based on. For example, the word for soda, Kele, comes from the English word “Cola” (there are actually 2 words for soda, qishui and Kele which means cola). Bisa comes from the word “pizza” and shares the same meaning. If you know Spanish and go to Morocco, which speaks Arabic, there will be words that sound almost identical. If you don’t know, Spain was invaded by the Moors around the 10th century (I think, I’m not sure on the dates) who spoke, you guessed it, Arabic. Words like sugar are almost the same between the 2 (Azucar and alsskkar) as well as the words for Guitar (guitarra and ghitar) and pants (Pantalones and bantaluns). These are just a few things, but I can assure you that if you listen, you will understand a lot more than you think.
The Arabic Alphabet
Another obvious choice is to only go to a place that has a language you understand. This is the downer of the group honestly because it sets a limit, which I hate to do on this blog and try to avoid as much as possible. It is honestly better than going around using google translate for everything. But with this you will be missing out on so much the world has to offer. But you will get explore a many great places that speak English (assuming) that range from north America, to Europe, to Africa, to the middle of the ocean. While you are limited, you can enjoy greatly where you can go.
Another idea, Study your heart out. I am not meaning learn the entire language the night before you go to the country, but at least try to learn a little bit of the language. One great thing that my grandfather did when he traveled to china for business is that he carried a Chinese dialogue book constantly in order to communicate with the rest of the country. While a good number of them speak English, they will love that you are making a step to better understand their world. I know have this book and many others, ranging from French, to Arabic, to Japanese, to German. It will help you in the long run to fully experience the new world.
A beginner’s Japanese language book
Now obviously, these will be different with each person and each place, but try to prepare the best that you can. Try to learn their alphabet, as I am now trying to do with Korean (if there are any South Korean people reading this, please give me some pointers). Trying will not offend anyone, in fact they will feel honored that you made an effort. The only thing they will not like is if you push their culture away only to your own.
The Arabic Letter Teh (or T for westerners), I just thought this one was fun ت
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Ni Mingtian Jian!
Photo Credit: Hangul (korean alphabet): https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/korean-wallpaper-drawing-ancient-coin-hangul-13655740
Japanese Book: http://japanesebookclub.com/article/beginner-s-japanese-1976