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Old 03-30-2016, 08:24 AM
 
49 posts, read 211,742 times
Reputation: 38

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I'm a big time traveler and even if I'm going somewhere for a few days, I at least learn the basics of the local language. Things like:

How to say hello
How to order food
How to say my name and ask for yours

Easy stuff. But this thread is really about people who go to a place numerous times and still don't speak any of the language.

There are people who actually live in a country and still don't speak the native language. In America, it's annoying. In other countries, it's annoying too.

What's the deal?

Topic inspired by this article: The Biggest Mistake Made By Visitors Going To Brazil
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Old 03-30-2016, 09:10 AM
 
12,264 posts, read 18,393,933 times
Reputation: 19082
A few common words are just courtesy, I agree. And if you live there, obviously, learn the native language.

But the deal is this - the world essentially has one language for business and tourism - That language is English. If someone from Japan goes to Brazil, he will likely try to use English to communicate if he knows it, not Japanese or Portuguese. If someone from China goes to Brazil, he will use English (and from my experience in China, there citizens are learning English like crazy), not Mandarin. If someone from Iran goes to Brazil, he will probably try to use English if he knows it, not Farsi or Portuguese.

And for someone from Brazil? My advice to Brazillians is to learn English. Just a fact of life.
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Old 03-30-2016, 09:26 AM
 
10,847 posts, read 11,253,275 times
Reputation: 7578
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dd714 View Post
A few common words are just courtesy, I agree. And if you live there, obviously, learn the native language.

But the deal is this - the world essentially has one language for business and tourism - That language is English. If someone from Japan goes to Brazil, he will likely try to use English to communicate if he knows it, not Japanese or Portuguese. If someone from China goes to Brazil, he will use English (and from my experience in China, there citizens are learning English like crazy), not Mandarin. If someone from Iran goes to Brazil, he will probably try to use English if he knows it, not Farsi or Portuguese.

And for someone from Brazil? My advice to Brazillians is to learn English. Just a fact of life.
If the Brazilian goes to an English speaking country, yes, otherwise, I don't think that's the case. Most people in Japan or Iran don't speak English. Yes, a businessman would probably need to, as you correctly argued, but we are not talking about business here.


Plus the article is about visitors going TO Brazil. So should Brazilians learn better English for that, even those not in the tourism business? I don't think so. At the end of the day, an English speaking person only gets the experience what a "tourist" gets in Brazil, or China, or Iran, or Italy.


An English speaker should not expect people in other countries to speak English, or complain about them not speaking it. Bear in mind that nobody is obligated to learn English. You are going to their country, and making yourself understood to get what you need is YOUR responsibility.
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Old 03-30-2016, 09:31 AM
 
Location: NE Mississippi
13,643 posts, read 8,559,902 times
Reputation: 19849
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadb View Post
I'm a big time traveler and even if I'm going somewhere for a few days, I at least learn the basics of the local language. Things like:

How to say hello
How to order food
How to say my name and ask for yours

Easy stuff. But this thread is really about people who go to a place numerous times and still don't speak any of the language.

There are people who actually live in a country and still don't speak the native language. In America, it's annoying. In other countries, it's annoying too.

What's the deal?

Topic inspired by this article: The Biggest Mistake Made By Visitors Going To Brazil
I absolutely agree!
Learn a little of the language, a little of the history, a little of the culture. Show some respect.

I have a friend who makes a very good living and his wife was telling us all about her trip to Africa. I asked her what countries she visited, and she didn't know! She didn't say she didn't know, she just brushed it off with, "Oh, just all over Africa in general".
A nice lady, but I wanted to choke her.
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Old 03-30-2016, 10:04 AM
 
12,264 posts, read 18,393,933 times
Reputation: 19082
Quote:
Originally Posted by botticelli View Post
An English speaker should not expect people in other countries to speak English, or complain about them not speaking it. Bear in mind that nobody is obligated to learn English. You are going to their country, and making yourself understood to get what you need is YOUR responsibility.
I agree, but that's not my point. I am not even talking about English speakers. I was talking about a Chinese, or Iranian (bad and rare example perhaps), or Japanese speaker going to Brazil. Fact of life, many are engaged in travel will be from the world of business or otherwise well educated even if not going for business. They will typically know there native language (of course)...and English. They will expect Brazilians to speak English.

It's not good or bad, it just is....
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Old 03-30-2016, 10:13 AM
 
Location: Billings, MT
9,535 posts, read 7,829,050 times
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If I were to have a need to go to a country often, I would learn the language.
If I were to visit a country one time, and never expect to go back, I might learn a few key phrases.
If I never plan to go outside the borders of the United States (and I do not), I see no reason for me to learn to speak any other language.
No, I will not learn another language so that I can communicate with immigrants. THEY can learn to communicate with me if they expect to live here!
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Old 03-30-2016, 02:08 PM
 
2,288 posts, read 3,931,622 times
Reputation: 2055
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redraven View Post
If I were to have a need to go to a country often, I would learn the language.
If I were to visit a country one time, and never expect to go back, I might learn a few key phrases.
If I never plan to go outside the borders of the United States (and I do not), I see no reason for me to learn to speak any other language.
No, I will not learn another language so that I can communicate with immigrants. THEY can learn to communicate with me if they expect to live here!
Of course, but that's irrelevant to the topic.

Many people do not make the effort to learn a few key phrases when traveling to a country that uses a foreign language. They should, but it's their loss. I have actually been guilty of that in a few countries where I expected people to have a generally good grasp of English (e.g. Estonia), although I did prepare more in places where I knew that knowledge of English was more limited (e.g. Russia).
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Old 03-30-2016, 06:07 PM
 
Location: Woodstock, GA
2,069 posts, read 3,501,830 times
Reputation: 2558
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dd714 View Post
A few common words are just courtesy, I agree. And if you live there, obviously, learn the native language.

But the deal is this - the world essentially has one language for business and tourism - That language is English. If someone from Japan goes to Brazil, he will likely try to use English to communicate if he knows it, not Japanese or Portuguese. If someone from China goes to Brazil, he will use English (and from my experience in China, there citizens are learning English like crazy), not Mandarin. If someone from Iran goes to Brazil, he will probably try to use English if he knows it, not Farsi or Portuguese.
But if someone from Europe goes to a country in central Africa on business, he will likely start off using French, not English.
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Old 03-30-2016, 09:55 PM
 
Location: Florida
5,232 posts, read 3,007,646 times
Reputation: 9584
When my job involved road travel, I bought some Spanish lessons on tape and played them on the road. It was useful and painless. I always said I will not go naked or hungry, although I did not become fluent. It was moderately useful in Miami, and I later used it in Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Mexico and Spain.
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Old 03-31-2016, 05:32 AM
 
32,060 posts, read 32,956,580 times
Reputation: 14944
It is a good idea to learn some key phrases of the language where one is traveling to. But if someone is traveling with another person who can translate for them, I can see why they wouldn't bother if it is a one time visit to that place.
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