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My big trip this year will be to Japan. As is my habit when traveling abroad especially to a country where English is not a common language, I make an attempt to learn a few phrases of importance (to me at least) to help me move about. I'll be with a tour group but I will have some free time. So I checked a Pimsleur 5disc basic Japanese set out of the library and tonight I will begin. Does any one share this trait with me or am I being a bit phobic?



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I think that's pretty cool. It does make it easier to get around in another country if you know a few phrases of their language. I have a lot of Spanish speaking friends who taught me a few things in Spanish. And it did help when I was in Costa Rica and Columbia. plus the people like it that you're trying to learn their language. I envy people who can speak more than one language fluently. It does make for an easier way to communicate.

I took a year of Spanish in high school way back in the early 50's.  I thought I had at least remembered enough to understand enough Spanish when my former husband and I were on vacation in Monterrey, Mexico, in the early 80's, and we wanted to visit a factory I had read about that made all kinds of ornaments - mainly Christmas ornaments - out of tin.  Guess where we ended up, due to my wonderful translation?? We were at a factory that made tin cans!  Well, at least we learned a bit about tin cans!!!

I do the same thing.  I had 3 years of Latin in high school, 2 quarters of German in college,and 2 years of spanish in college.  When I went to Brussels an The Hague for three weeks each, I studied some basic phrases in French and Flemish.  I was able to buy stamps, order food, ask where the restroom was, ask for directions (of course, I had to stop at every block to ask, right,left or straight ahead to get to my destination the first time!), please, thank you, and do you speak English, I speak very little (whatever language)  I was also able to read open and closed signs, and get tickets for the train.  Most people spoke English, but they all appreciated that I had taken the time and made the effort to at least try to speak their lanuage and didn't assume that they spoke english.  I did the same before I went to Italy, and I knew how to say good morning, good evening, please and thank you in greek before I took my cruise, but I have to admit I gave up on turkish and arabic for Turkey and Egypt!

I think learning a new language would be fun, but I'm not up to it anymore.  There are days I have trouble with english.  Seriously, it is cool to learn at least a few phrases in a language wherever you're going.  A friend of mine took her granddaughter to Spain when she was about 10 and the kid was conversing with people and my friend had no idea what was going on.  Mikayla ordered food in spanish.  She had a year of spanish in 5th grade that year. 

I think that is a good idea!  I know lots of folks speak english there But sometimes u meet someone that might not & they do appreciate the effort, believe me.  I went to deep in Mexico & it was a good thing that I could translate 4 my family & the folks there appreciated it & gave us discounts on things too.

Good for you. Hope you enjoy your trip. My nephew lives in Japan has, been there about 3 years I think, he really likes it, his wife is on the waiting list to move to the US>

You're not phobic at all, Carol.  It's a great idea to learn as much of the language as you can, very smart too.  I would do the same thing. 

The only foreign country I've been to is Canada, I never bothered to learn their language and we seemed to get along fine. However, the French I took in high school really helped me out in Montreal during the expo.

I would if going to any other languaged country, learn a few phrases. I have refereed a few international soccer matches and was usally able to find out how to be polite in various languages. We had an Italian referee, me as his assistant and another Italian as the other assistant. One team was from Minnesota the other was from Hungry. It was a boys match under 16s. The Italian referee wanted me not to talk. He said that only he would talk. After the coin flip, he asked me: Come se dicce, Buona Fortuna?  I answered, Good Luck. He told the two captains "Good Luck" The Hungarian team had an american interpreter so they understood too.

I think it is important to know a few good phrases and even try to figure out how to enter a conversation when ever meeting people who speak different languages.

i think it is a very sensible thing to prepare yourself like others have said.

However I'm a tad perplexed, as I thought the folk in Canada would speak Canadian...

ozzie, Montreal is in Quebec, and French is the language most of the people in Quebec speak.

Golly gee, my Geography is less than desired, thanks TW,

I have been assuming that Canada was somehow an extension

of America and that the language was all the same.

By and large Canadians speak English, either as a first or second language. However, I have met many Canadians who are more comfortable with French, some in the Toronto area are displaced from Brazil, and are more comfortable with Portuguese. Canada is at least as diverse in cultural backgrounds as is the US. I've only met three native born Canadians, the rest have been born in places like China, Korea, Brazil, Norway, Ireland, Mexico and Trinidad -- all these men were/are involved in the Canadian National Soccer Referee program.




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