Guten Tag! Bonjour! Ciao! Hola! Halo! Nin Hao! Annyeonghaseyo! Kon’nichiwa!
Hello! (in case you missed it the first eight times…)
Greeting people in a foreign land may seem daunting – just ask our friend Marlin how he felt meeting Bruce?! – but it’s super important to be able to communicate with people while you travel. And lucky you; you’re about to get a quick lesson in language!
- Know the basics! This includes
- Thank you
- Do you speak English?
- Bonus anti-wanker points for “How are you” “good” and anything else you have to chance to pick up along the way
- Speak slowly! I struggle with this one because I speak quite fast. English is often the second..or third or fourth..language for people. Slow down and avoid getting frustrated if people struggle to understand you.
- There’s an app for that! There are TONS of free language apps that can help you learn other languages and others that translate for you. Don’t pretend like you’re going to leave you smart phone at home…you never know when you need emergency translation.
- Ditch slang. I know its hard for us true-blue Aussie mates. Slang is so much a part of our language that we don’t even realise that its slang anymore. But you’ll be spewin if old mate can’t help you find the way to your to Macca’s for a sneaky wanker feed when you’re out on the piss coz he can’t understand what this ‘maccas’ is.
- Use your hands! You might feel like your entire trip is a giant game of charades. And there’s nothing wrong with that because charades in the bomb diggity.
- Not just your hands, but also your body language and tone are super important. Did you know that only 7% of all communication is verbal. That means that 93% of what your saying isn’t even the words that come out of your mouth. 55% is your body and the last 38% is your voice aka your tone, inflection, etc. So even if someone can’t understand the words you’re saying, the tone of voice and how you hold yourself says more than you know. E.g. You’re lost and sad. People will understand you are distressed and will try and help, even if they don’t understand why.
- Lastly, if all else fails, there’ll be someone around who can understand you enough to help. If the first person you talk to is having just as much trouble, move on to someone else. You’ll be fine 🙂
Have you got any tips for dealing with language barriers? Share them below!