Top 10 Phrases

To Learn in Any Lan­guage

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Also, if you have satel­lite ra­dio or TV, try to find pro­gram­ming in your de­sired lan­guage. You can watch with sub­ti­tles, which al­ways helps, but with­out is still OK. The more you’re ex­posed, the more you’ll be­gin to pick up the ba­sics. Bot­tom line, self-im­posed im­mer­sion is a proven method. So lis­ten and watch, with or with­out sub­ti­tles — it all goes in. Even if it sounds like ma­chine gun rapid fire, the more you lis­ten the more your brain gets at­tuned and re­pro­grammed to pick it up.

For study aids, check out: Ber­litz, Bar­ron’s, Lonely Planet, Lan­gen­schei­dts, Ox­ford, Fodors and Pim­sleur. Find the ones that fit your style, needs, and bud­get. There are many free prod­ucts out there; try those first and then in­vest more as you’re ready to get more out of it.

Mo­bile Ap­pli­ca­tions

There are so many great mo­bile apps for learn­ing lan­guages. You can find free ones or pay for one. Usu­ally, the pre­mium ones are ad free and work bet­ter.

There are apps that use your mo­bile de­vice’s cam­era to trans­late writ­ten lan­guage, and some that al­low folks to speak into your phone and they’ll at­tempt to trans­late. Th­ese are awe­some, but of­ten slow, flawed, and, if not con­nected to the in­ter­net, they don’t work at all. Don’t be­come re­liant on tech­nol­ogy to do the work for you. You need to shoul­der the bulk of the learn­ing process in case you’re in a sit­u­a­tion where tech­nol­ogy isn’t ac­ces­si­ble.

Google Trans­late is one of the best. You can type in pas­sages and trans­late more than 100 lan­guages when con- nected to the in­ter­net — about half that when you’re not. It can work with more than 30 lan­guages when trans­lat­ing pho­tos of signs, watch­ing videos, and trans­lat­ing spo­ken lan­guage.

Mi­crosoft isn’t quite able to match up to Google over­all; how­ever, its real-time lan­guage translator is sim­ply the best one out there right now. SAYHI is one of the bet­ter apps for speech-to-speech trans­la­tion, and, in gen­eral, Speak & Trans­late as well as TRIPLINGO are other ex­cel­lent apps.

For Asian lan­guages and their unique char­ac­ters, some apps spe­cial­ize in th­ese and are re­ally good for na­tive Euro­pean lan­guage speak­ers, such as Pa­pago and Waygo.

There are also wear­able trans­lat­ing de­vices, such as the ILI and The Pi­lot. They have lim­i­ta­tions, but are way cheaper than hir­ing a per­sonal translator.

Fi­nally, there are some photo-trans­lat­ing apps that al­low you to take a photo of a sign or bill­board, for ex­am­ple, and then trans­late it. They re­quire in­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity, so they have some lim­i­ta­tions on their util­ity, but signs are of­ten in a city or you can type the let­ters in your translator app when not con­nected and read your down­loaded dic­tio­nary info to fig­ure it out.

Not Ev­ery­thing Trans­lates Equally

Ges­tures: A sim­ple “OK” sign in Amer­ica equates to call­ing some­one an “a**hole” in other coun­tries. Do your home­work.

Cul­ture: In some places, peo­ple can be­come highly of­fended if you stop and ask a woman for direc­tions or show the bot­toms of your feet, for ex­am­ple. Be smart.

Don’t as­sume you’ll get off the hook for th­ese of­fenses be­cause you’re a for­eigner. And learn the com­mon signs of other cul­tures if you plan to travel there; not ev­ery na­tion uses U.S. or EU-style sig­nage.

Also, some cul­tures yell as a way of communicating — don’t take it per­son­ally. Yelling back doesn’t make them un­der­stand you any bet­ter, so don’t get frus­trated and be­come the ugly Amer­i­can. Stay calm, ex­pect mis­takes, and have a sense of hu­mor. You’ll get through it. You may make some life­long friends along the way.

In the side­bar, we com­piled a list of the top 10 phrases to learn. The first key to suc­cess in us­ing them is to choose the eas­i­est one for you to learn, re­mem­ber it, and then use the heck out of it!

The next key is to max­i­mize use of the in­ter­rog­a­tives and al­ways use po­lite words (please, thank you, ex­cuse me, I’m sorry) to cover any mis­takes you make with gen­eral words as­so­ci­ated with kind­ness, as way to en­sure the max­i­mum will­ing­ness and help­ful­ness from those you query.

Mem­ory Keys

Spend a day writ­ing down words in your tar­get lan­guage and lis­ten on­line how to say them. Then, write down how that sounds to your ears, com­mit it to mem­ory, and you can speak in a day. Use mem­ory keys or as­so­ci­a­tions that help you re­mem­ber.

For ex­am­ple, the Rus­sian word for “key” is pro­nounced “clootch.” I as­so­ciate that with “she uses a key to lock her clutch bag,” and I can al­ways re­call the word via that as­so­ci­a­tion in my brain.

Kid’s Stuff

For me­dia, al­ways start with kid’s stuff, and work your way up. Get as many things with sub­ti­tles as you can. It’s like study­ing a mar­tial art, don’t try to get into the ring and fight com­pet­i­tively un­til you’ve mas­tered your own moves first. Slow is fast, fast is slow — you’ll learn bad habits (get­ting words and mean­ings wrong), and it’ll take twice as long to un­learn the bad and re­learn them cor­rectly.

Work­ing in nine dif­fer­ent con­flicts over three decades, when we had to find trans­la­tors in a place where al­most no one spoke English, we mainly en­coun­tered two kinds — pro­fes­sors and young adults. It wasn’t hard to un­der­stand how the pro­fes­sors learned English, but when asked, the kids al­most all said they learned English the same way — from MTV!

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Hello. My name is _ _ _ _ _ _ _. What is your name? I need help or Can you help me, please? Can, would, or are you able to show me, please? How do I get there or do that, please? Where is that per­son/ place/thing, please? When is that or this,...

Www.mykel­hawke.com Dea­greez/is­tock­photo.com

In the U.S., we take this gen­er­ally ac­cepted hand ges­ture to mean “OK.” How­ever, it’s not uni­ver­sally un­der­stood that way, and you may un­in­ten­tion­ally of­fend some­one us­ing it in an­other coun­try. Do your re­search and be cog­nizant of what’s ac­cept­able in...

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