What languages have you found most useful when traveling the world? Like which ones have come in handy in the most places? One day I plan to go, particulary to places like Egypt or Kenya, maybe some of Europe or whatever, but I figure it's best if I start learning a language earlier rather than in the few months before I leave. I already know English because I'm from NZ. Thinking about maybe picking up French as I took it as a class like 7 years ago.
Yeah there's no clean answer to this question, OP. I would argue French for two reasons: it's the co-official language of 29 countries, and it's widely understood in many more (the only meaningful conversation I had with any locals in Vietnam was in French, not English).
Second reason is that it gives you a toehold onto Romance languages in general, and Spanish of course is the other most widely spoken language. Speaking French you won't necessarily be able to have a convo with a Spanish speaker, but you'll be able to understand road signs, menus, etc, and use caveman speech in an emergency.
Look up Michel Thomas if you are going to pursue French.
i only speak english (murrica! fuck yeah!) and have never had a problem getting by. sometimes you have to get a bit creative with your communication and sign language (no, talking slower and louder doesn't help), and carrying a notepad to draw on can be useful. also just learning "yes", "no" and "thank you" in the local language gets you miles of good will.
Heh, if only. Plenty of people don't speak English in Europe. Anyway:
>English for Africa, Anglo-Saxon countries and general use
>French for Africa and a bunch of islands
>Spanish for South and Meso America
>Russian for former USSR
That'd allow you to get by almost anywhere except in rural areas of generally monolingual countries. Maybe throw in some German too, I've almost always encountered some natives capable of speaking at least some German, no matter where I was.
Most people in The Netherlands who are below 40 years old speak/understand English. Same with Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Belgium i think. Germany is slowly getting there same as the baltic countries.
France sucks monkey balls because herpderp "we have a beautiful language" but if you're in Paris they probably understand you a bit. Spain, in Madrid and Barcelona it was kinda ok for me to communicate in English. Only the Taxi drivers (not spanish) couldn't speak or understand a word English. Italy was kinda the same as Spain.
English in France is vastly underrated. I spent a few weeks in Lyon and Marseilles and was all excited to try out the French I had been learning and two thirds of people would just speak English to me.
>Yeah there's no clean answer to this question, OP. I would argue French for two reasons: it's the co-official language of 29 countries
Yea, but most of them are travel warning listed and will be for the near and far futures.
NZ bro just do what is related to your travel, and "a few months" is really all that you need. Learn languages because you enjoy them, mostly. Having a class 7 years ago is what most people do, live to forget it, if you don't use it. So, learn a language to watch some cinema or to use with a friend who can keep you current and improve you. If you can't? You'll forget it. Spend your free time learning something useful instead, something you can use to make money to travel more/longer/responsibly instead.
French, the snobby ones, just like to pretend they don't English. I did notice when in the Middle East, American movies in theatres were subtitled in French and Arabic. Are they the subtitled the same way in France? Especially with the high Arabic population?
How do I learn another language? I have all the resources and I really want to do so but I study for an hour and then forget everything the next day and after a few days of this I'm starting to get disinterested. And then I come home from work tired and don't do shit all day long and it's another day wasted.
I went to Latin America twice now and would love to speak some Spanish the next time I go...
I've been a language hobbyist since I was a kid--I've studied ten of them, six of which I can really speak. The ones I've found most useful are easily Spanish and Russian, in that order. I've used them in many countries each, including in places where the quality and/or availability of English were not great.
But in general, English goes a long way almost everywhere (it's near universal in Kenya, for example, and pretty widespread in urban or tourist Egypt), and the most important one to learn is the one they speak where you are going. If you want to travel in China, I recommend Mandarin--I've been a few times and can tell you that the man on the street does not speak English.
>It's hard for Americans, Canadians, Brits etc to learn foreign languages because you literally never NEED to use them
Mostly true, but I lived in a predominantly Spanish-speaking neighborhood in the U.S. for a couple of years during which I interacted with people who did not speak English AT ALL at least a few times a week. And I meet monolingual Cantonese speakers regularly, too.
maybe it's different outside of paris, but this is only partly true, from my experience. most movies are subtitled here, but sometimes a dubbed version is offered at select theatres/hours.
all of them, really.
english i use the most.
i always learn the hi/bye/thank you/please/sorry/where type of things before i go somewhere. a few numbers, too. i know these things in like... 20 languages at this point? increasing every year.
i tried speaking mandarin in china, it worked perfectly fine with my shitty pronunciation (my vocab is more extensive than the above).
psa: when in china, dare to speak chinese.
i'm just putting this out here, cause a lot of people discouraged me from it (also on this board).
half the time i was probably cursing their mothers as i cannot into tones, yet everyone was helpful and they always reacted to what i wanted to say.
Guess this is a good thread to ask, what's the best lingua franca for the 'Stans? Russian? Chinese? Persian?