what are the languages travellers should be able to speak"

Travel Forums General Talk what are the languages travellers should be able to speak"

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1. Posted by orienteyec (Full Member 84 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!


i think these four are the most important...:)

2. Posted by IMonaghan (Respected Member 431 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

I think English is starting to become universal, at least with business... to a point anyways.

After that I would say Spanish for most of South and Central America. Taglog is very similar to Spanish, as well as Spain(of course), and Italian is workable if you speak Spanish.

Chinese and French are good ones too, but they are a little more specific to where you are going as are most other languages.

3. Posted by orienteyec (Full Member 84 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

what i am thinking is Chinese are everywhere in the world, so if u can speak Chinese, u won't get lost

a lot of ppl speak French.....is one of the official languages in UN

4. Posted by SamSalmon (Respected Member 626 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

Mandarin Chinese.
No need for French anywhere on the planet at any time.

5. Posted by Peter (Admin 6958 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

The four mentioned are all very good to know - must brush up on some though ;)

German is another one that comes in very handy around the globe.

6. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

English is obviously the first choice, and you can pretty much survive with that everywhere (although it will obviously be harder in some places), but after that, it's more a question of regions that you will be traveling in.

I disagree with SamSalmon about French not being neccessary anywhere - Whilst you can get away without it in Canada and European speaking French areas on the whole, French is helpful in large chunks of Africa where finding English speaking people can be tricky, and French makes more sense than trying to learn the numerous local languages

Spanish is useful for large chunks of the Americas; Arabic for North Africa/Middle East, Chinese in China; Russian (to read even if not to speak) in the old Soviet block and parts of Eastern Europe unless you have a Russian accent. Portuguese is helpful in chunks of Africa and Brazil. Must admit that i wouldn'nt have picked German as a world language - Central and Eastern Europe, and some splatterings in Africa possibly, but in all of these English will normally suffice.

7. Posted by Peter (Admin 6958 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

Good additions there rich - certainly the cyrillic alphabet (russian) is worth getting a grasp on. It's amazing how much of the language it opens up!! First when you look at everything, it is just totally confusing, but understanding the alphabet, a lot of the words are very similar to English and you can get by a little better reading it.

Arabic is a good point - guess I've never been anywhere Arabic, so haven't had the exposure, but when putting the stats in the destinations guide I noticed how many places speak it!!

I guess German isn't really up there with them, but I've still found it pretty useful at times. It kind of depends where you mostly travel. My experiences in Germany have been that people haven't necessarily been that willing to speak English. In fact, I've encountered Germans travelling to Holland and just speaking German to us like we should know it - you'd think they would at least try English!! Of course, almost everyone in Holland learns German to some degree, so we can communicate. With Germany, Austria, some of Switzerland and parts of Belgium speaking German, there are a few European areas where it is useful at least :)

Of course Nederlands has to be up there ;) hehehe

The logical follow up question to this discussion so far of course is; what are the essential PHRASES for travellers to know??

- Wo ist die toilette bitte? (not necessarily accurate, but could get the meaning across at least)

8. Posted by kellytree (Budding Member 11 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

English (of course)
Spanish, Italian , French or Portugese is good since they all have some words in common so if you speak spanish with an italian chances are pretty good that you will get the idea of whatever it is you want to say across (more or less!)
Chinese - if you are going to China (no offense but quite often the chinese english sounds more like chinese than english --- although god love 'em for trying -- its the same in Japan)
Russian could be helpful in a handful of countries
If you know German and you know English than you will be able to get along ok in Holland or Belgium ( of course they ALL speak English and never make you even feel bad about only knowing maybe just one language)
Danish - no need to learn that as thats another country where they ALL speak English (I met only ONE person that didn't know english while I was there and let me tell you I was ever so happy about that knowing that at least one of them only speaks Danish )

I suppose it all depends on where you are going.

I think the most important thing is that if you are mother tongue English forget all those savvy words while travelling - just use good basic words and you will be fine.

9. Posted by Rach-a (Respected Member 368 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

Spanish ............

not necessarily in that order of importance. I'd say there are alot of countries speak the above four languages and so is necessary to speak them. I feel guilty for only really knowing two of the above which are English of course and a fair bit of German. I found French a bit hard at school and didn't get the opportunity to learn Spanish. I think british people can be lazy with learning other languages because they do not really need to learn them if you get me. As in if they were travelling to NZ,OZ, Canada, USA or anywhere around UK and Ireland or even most of the other foreign countries - they feel that 'someone' will know English pretty well and so us brits take that for granted I am making a conscious effort to learn more languages though. And the other three are the ones which I will learn first - followed by Russian, Deutsch and Chinese - just to sound clever ;)

10. Posted by Rach-a (Respected Member 368 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

Oh and forgot to mention Portugese (so as to speak in Brazil and obviously Portugal also). It would be really frustrating to see all these countries and not speak the language and so I've got alot to learn