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Speaking The Language – Necessity Or Option?


One reason that many people give for not traveling overseas on holiday is the fact that there is often a language barrier between destination and home. This is particularly common among people from English-speaking countries, regrettably, with English being a particularly broadly spoken language in global terms and therefore leading to the assumption that there is no real need to learn another.

Another result of this is the impression that even if we do travel to a country with another language, we can just speak our own language and expect people to understand. Many multi-lingual people who speak English as a first language will recoil in embarrassment when hearing someone ask a question in English, and when met with incomprehension just repeat the same thing, slower and louder.

It’s not easy to learn another language – there are different grammatical rules, sometimes a separate alphabet, and a whole new vocabulary to learn. But it is not beyond the wit of man to at least learn some key phrases that will make the exchanges between visitor and resident at least somewhat more pleasant. Even if all you can say is “Do you speak English?” it shows you have made some effort.

And effort is important in this respect. It shows a sense of respect for the country which is hosting you and the people who live there. Expecting them to be able to speak your language is really somewhat arrogant. If you try to talk their language, it shows that you are at least trying to communicate with them and be polite – which will ease matters considerably.

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