I dun think English is very useful on certain countries, so i think there are few languages that really important on certain area! Like Spanish and Portugish in South America, definitely Mandarin is important in Asia country (I dun think u can find any chinese in China can speak well english other than chinese outside China like malaysian and singaporean). Btw, japanese and korean dun speak english! So best suggestion, do some survey before u go to visit that country.. hehe..
I've no problem speaking and understand Chinese and English. But anyone know, how to communicate if it's in Russia, Mongolia and German? Is English useful overthere?
I think English is obvious - hey we all speak English here...
But if you want a plus in your experience, I say learn other languages. It feels much better when you can really talk to someone when you are travelling, rather than just, say, asking for directions.
When I was in Japan, I could've survived just by being able to ask for food/drinks/toilet/train... but I am glad I could also talk, exchange stories, get to know local people because I learned their language.
I have to say I agree with you Zags, I was in Italy for a few weeks and even if my italian was bad by just making an effort I made a lot of friends and had a lot of doors opened to me. i was brought to local parties and areas that I would otherwise have never heard of.........
its also great for improving your languages and knowledge of the culture of the country you're in..........
What is that book series you found? It sounds very useful. Actually I have also told Sam about the idea of making a PHRASES page on this site. I know he's very busy now, tomorrow is his wedding... and you must be in Sweden now?
I don't know about Russia and Mongolia, but in Germany many of the younger people speak English very well. You will find that people who are 20-something or younger are pretty much fluent in English. Some of the older people (to me, anyway, since I'm only 20, myself) speak English very well, but you will generally find that they are not as fluent the older they get. This is true for most of Germany, at least in the major cities. In more rural areas less people speak English, thus picking up some German phrases would be beneficial to you if you want to travel there. At LEAST be able to say hello, "hallo," thanks, "danke," please or you're welcome, "bitte," and, roughly, do you speak English? "Sprechen sie English?" Also, being able to count in German will GREATLY help you order food in a restaurant without having to point and make strange noises!
actually i think japanese is good to know, it is one of the most learned languages here in Australia with our strong ties with Asia.
But one thing about most Japanese not knowing English is not actually true. Japanese people learn English from when they are in primary school and are required to study it in high school also.
I will be a Japanese teacher at the end of the year (for primary school students) and if you ask someone if they speak English they might have said no because they feel they wouldn;t be good enough although, they would be fine (a cultural thing)
For the question though, i do believe that English is a good language to know but really for travelling learning new languages is fantastic! ( i also really love french) it sounds beautiful