Learn a Bit of the Language: Locals Appreciate It

There are many things that you can do to make your travel experience a wonderful one.  I think one of the best things that you can do is learn a few words of the language.  You do not need to become fluent within a few weeks but knowing the basics is always helpful.  People are likely to be much friendly if you can greet them and say a few

Montage of languages. Prototype header for the...
Montage of languages. . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
words in their language.  It also helps to avoid some confusion.

Great terms to learn are the following:

  • Hello

  • Goodbye

  • Thank you

  • Please

  • Where is the bathroom?
Depending on where you are going and the language they speak, you may already know some of these.  In Canada, many people took French at some point in their school career and likely remember at least those words.  We also learn some of them the various languages that we hear on television but many guide books will provide a few terms for you to learn as well as how to pronounce them.

Even though many of the people in tourist areas will speak some English (assuming that is your first language), it is always nice for them to hear someone attempting their language.  Chances are your accent will be horrible and you won’t say the words correctly, but it is definitely a case of “what you don’t try won’t hurt you.”.  In fact, you may even get rewarded for your efforts by a dessert at a restaurant or a nice souvenir.

Find out if there is a gesture that is expected as a method of greeting as well.  In Thailand, you would greet a person and give a little bow in a gesture of respect.  I’m sure that if a tourist forgot, they were easily forgotten, but as we are guests in their country, it is only right we do our best to abide and follow their rules and traditions.

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