According to just about everybody who travels for a living, and those who just travel a lot, it is important to know a few words in the language of the country you are visiting. It just makes things easier and you feel less like an infant who can’t do for yourself.
You can invest in a phrase book I suppose, but personally, I get so lost in those that they just become dead weight in my bag. It works better for me to just learn some words and do a lot of pointing.
No Money is No Excuse:
If you don’t want to shell out the big bucks for a whole language program try one of these options for FREE.
- You can learn some Italian for free by borrowing good traveler’s Italian cds from the library. The Beale Library will let you borrow for 3 weeks.
- You can sign up for one week of free Italian lessons at http://italianpod.com/ Italian pod uses text and audio. The lesson sets and learning resources are geared to your current language level. After your week you can sign up for as little as $9.00/month all the way up to $39.00/month. Of course you can cancel your subscription at any time.
- The FSI program was used by the US Foreign Service Institute to train diplomats. It is old – from the mid-1980s but still useful. The course is so old it has entered the common domain and is free to anyone who wants to use it. http://www.fsi-language-courses.org/
Gotta have these Words and Phrases:
‘Go Away’ is a very important phrase you will want to use when you encounter Gypsies. A few years ago, leaving the Bologna train station loaded down with luggage and an excruciating headache I was accosted by a Gypsie couple. They kept shoving a newspaper in my face and calling me kind lady. I think they said something about needing rent money. Anyway, I kept saying ‘Andiamo!!!!!” Andiamo!!!!’ and wondering why they didn’t leave. Later, in my hotel room, I realised I had been saying ‘Lets go!!!!” not ‘Go away!!!’ I am still not sure what ‘Go away’ is in Italian but I will know by June 10. Here are some other phrases you will want to be able to use.
According to Rob Sangster, author of Traveler’s Tool Kit (pages 337,338), there are certain words and phrases that should be written down or memorized:
“hello, good day, goodbye, please, thank you, pardon me, my name is…, what is your name?
“yes and no.
“toilet. (so very important!)
“Food related words (including ‘may I have the bill please?’)
“lodging related words
“transport words: airport, bus station, train station, subway station, gasoline, taxi, bus
“phrases for bargaining in the market place (‘How much is…?’, ‘That’s too much’)
“time of day
“verbs to be, to have, to go
“pleas for help such as ‘I don’t understand’, ‘Please speak more slowly’, ‘Stop!’ ‘help!’ ‘go away!’ and ‘I need a doctor’