Speaking the Language

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What is your approach to foreign languages while traveling? Those of us who speak English are extremely lucky that much of the world bends over backwards to learn how to communicate with us, while we retain merely a smidgeon of the vocabulary we learned in our high school French or Spanish classes.

Engaging in dialogue with locals in the places we visit can be one of the great joys of travel. If we travel a lot, it’s unrealistic to expect that we will know or learn all the native languages we come across, yet making an effort to at least learn to speak a few key words can smooth over many interactions. Even more important than “Where is the train station?” are the simple niceties of a language: hello, please, thank you, yes and no. "Thank you" in particular can take you far!

So before your next trip, make a point of learning how the locals say these five easy words, then remember to use them with every stranger you meet on your trip. No one will mistake you for a native speaker, but they will appreciate the effort you’ve taken to be polite.

À bientôt!
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