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8 In Travel/ Travel Talk

The Language of Wanderlust.

There is one question that I get asked all the time- How do you talk to people from another county? It’s something every traveler has dealt with, and I think the more you travel, the more comfortable you feel around foreign languages.

Every time someone asks me this I tell them that I always look up how to say pleasantries (hello, goodbye, please, thank you, how much…?, where is…?, etc.) in the local language. I try to memorize them, but I always write them down in my travel journal. A lot of times when you show that you’re putting forth an effort to speak in a local language it opens the doors and is seen as a sign of respect. Also, you learn to use this awkward/make-shift type of sign-language when communicating that usually can frustrate you at times and make you (and others) laugh at other times.

Despite the language barriers I think it is SO IMPORTANT to communicate with people as much as you possibly can in whatever method you can manage. Here are some quotes on the language barrier:

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“Those who know nothing of foreign languages, know nothing of their own.”

-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe-

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“Own only what you can always carry with you. Know languages, know countries, know people. Let memory be your travel bag.”

-Aleksander Solzhenitsyn-

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“Even on the emotional level, the language barrier is quite porous. People’s features, particularly their eyes, are wonderfully eloquent.”

-Paul Theroux-

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“Everyone smiles in the same language.”

-Unknown-

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“Language is an immense source of joy. Everything wise and wonderful about this quirky little nation flows from its language. The formal Icelandic greeting is “komdu saell”, which translates literally as “come happy”. When Icelanders part, they say “vertu saell”, “go happy”. I like that one a lot. It’s so much better than “take care” or “catch you later”. The Icelandic language, like the people who speak it, is egalitarian and utterly free of pretense.”

-Eric Weiner-

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What are your tips for breaking the language barrier while traveling?

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Anita Mac
    November 8, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    That is pretty cool. I would have thought French would be bigger for some reason!

    • Reply
      ashleypaige4
      November 8, 2012 at 10:51 pm

      Thank you. I was surprised by that too, and I thought Russian would be bigger too. Thanks for reading!

  • Reply
    Little Fingers
    November 9, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Great post, its amazing if we can speak to local language even if it is few words, irrespective of languages we speak, travelers share same passion and the language is never a barrier 🙂 I can speak 6 languages myself 🙂

    • Reply
      ashleypaige4
      November 9, 2012 at 8:28 pm

      Thanks for reading! I agree passion for language goes hand-in-hand with a passion for travel. I wish I could fluently speak more than English! I’m so impressed that you know six! That’s amazing!

  • Reply
    airplanes and waterfalls
    November 13, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    Love the quotes and ur blog! Thanks for stopping by mine 🙂

    • Reply
      ashleypaige4
      November 13, 2012 at 11:06 pm

      No problem! Thanks for stopping by mine, and for the compliments 🙂 It’s great to hear from fellow travel-lovers! Thanks for following my blog also!

  • Reply
    danetteandryan
    November 16, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    “Everyone smiles in the same language.” is one of my favorite quotes ever. Thanks for sharing this! I also thought French would have been bigger.

    • Reply
      ashleypaige4
      November 17, 2012 at 3:06 pm

      Thanks for reading! I loved that quote too, and it is so true! Thanks for the comment!

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