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24 Feb
ENG45  0

TALKING TO LOCALS

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Has it happened to you that you travel somewhere and don’t know the language? Here are some tricks to help you speak with locals and have no problem.

 

Learn some basic words in local language

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.

Just think about it. Unless you are a native English speaker, don’t you feel thrilled when a foreigner will say “hello” or “thank you” in your mother tongue? I am delighted whenever I hear it. That’s why I learn these words too whenever I travel. Instead of speaking English immediately, I start with a “buongiorno”, “bom dia” or a “hola!”

 

Don’t be ashamed to speak the foreign language

Do you feel paralyzed only thinking about saying a word in the foreign language? Remember, it’s not a grammar test. Nobody will notice your mistakes or laugh at them. Seriously.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. That’s how you learn. And if you refuse to communicate – on the contrary.

Also if you try to talk to someone in their mother tongue, which is not English, you are a hero immediately. Despite your level, everyone will be delighted that someone wants to learn their language.

Believe me. Russians and French often ask me “why my language?”. They can’t understand why would anyone spend time and learn this stuff. And they keep telling me “you speak great French/Russian” even if I only said one word or a sentence full of mistakes.

 

Prepare from before

Like in the example I mentioned at the beginning. Recently in Italy by Como lake, Adam had a bad toothache. Bad timing, we didn’t want to go to Italian dentist because this would exceed our budget quite significantly. We had to buy painkillers.

I assumed that nobody will understand any English in the pharmacy (and I was right!). Before going there, I checked how to say the same word in Italian. And due to that Adam didn’t have to show his pain with gestures.

If you have something specific to buy or ask, prepare before. Don’t try to use full sentences (we all know what’s the quality of translator’s phrases sometimes). It’s enough to know a few keywords.


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