You have already – or should not be long – traveled to a country whose language is unknown.
We then manage to learn a few words of uses. I push a bit the cap in learning the pronunciation of specific characters to try to repeat some words I read like city names.
It requires concentration, but it’s worth it. It often make laugh your partner and yourself, it leads to very interesting discussions and it facilitates interactions with people. But this technique obviously has limits. When you are in a country whose language is character-based, begins the mess.
I speak French, English, German and I can understand Norwegian and Dutch. I admit that it makes my life enough easy in the Nordic countries and in countries with Latin languages still close French.
I also have the chance to learn easily and quickly enough foreign languages, at least for basic needs.
Often it is possible to pass by it. In Slovenia, for example, young people speak English, older people do not speak English but speak German. With these two languages, I could make myself understood by all.
In December, I will confront myself to a whole new problem: a language-based on symbols – Mandarin.
Having a layover of 10 hours in Beijing, I do not have much room for error if I want to catch my flight to my final destination.
For Shanghai, it will be in the evening / night so same problem, but with a 16 hours layover.
With the limited time available before I fly, it will be impossible to learn a whole new language. Especially the Mandarin that is so complicated.
The Chinese are not the best English speakers; no emergency exit, I will have to be prepared.
Program to help me in my crazy race:
– Learn usual words such as hello, thank you, you’re welcome, excuse me (at least). I will call on friends for pronunciation!
– Taking pictures with words in English and Mandarin (Symbols and pronunciations)
– Ready sentences such as “Where is the subway stop …?”
– A character recognition software such as CamDictionary, Camtranslator …
– A map for Transport and streets in English and Mandarin (with indications of the way to places I like to visit)
I think that with that, I’ll be prepared to avoid getting lost in these huge cities.
What are your methods of learning languages?
What are your tips to make you understandable?
Applications you are used to use?