Life

Make a Linguistic Impression in Europe

Business woman over the background with a different world langua

Business woman over the background with a different world languages (foreign language school)

 

Going to Europe this summer? Don’t forget to take the time to brush up on the local language – unless your travels will be exclusively in the British Isles. Sure, English travels well in most places around the globe, but Europeans really appreciate it if you attempt to communicate in the local language (even if it’s mediocre). Think about it, how would you feel if tourists suddenly approached you and asked you for something in a language you don’t even understand?

But it isn’t only because the locals appreciate the attempt. There are a few places in Europe where the locals understand very little English. For example, if your travel plans include Madrid, you’ll definitely want to know some Spanish phrases, because few Madrileños (as they are colloquially known) speak English including the major tourist areas. And if your travel plans take you to places outside of the major tourist centers, then a few local phrases are a must.

What phrases should you know? A command of the following English phrases in the target language are essential:

  • Hello; good morning; good afternoon; good night; goodbye
  • How are you?
  • Thank you
  • You’re welcome
  • Please
  • Where is…?
  • A table for one/two please
  • I would like…
  • I’m looking for…
  • I’m from…
  • I want to go to…(for taxi and Uber rides)

Additionally, you should know the local words for water, bread, coffee, breakfast, lunch, dinner, beer, wine, or any of your favorite foods on a daily basis. In case of emergency, a few phrases in emergency lingo will come in handy.

How should you master the suggested phrases before your trip? I recommend using Duolingo. It’s a free language-learning app available on most mobile devices. All you do is sign up for a free account and pick the language you wish to learn, and most of the common European languages are available for selection. It is even available for false beginners. I use it to maintain my command of Spanish, learn German and since I’m going to be working in Poland, I’m using it to learn Polish. Rosetta Stone is another popular option. Moreover, certain airlines offer language courses in their entertainment systems, so you could pick up a few words during the 8 hour plus flight (unless you prefer sleeping through the flight). Of course, phrase books are another option if you prefer something on paper.

Now certain European languages are just dang on hard to grasp. However, you should attempt to learn a few words in French, German, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.

When attempting to communicate in the local language, do not be offended if the recipient responds in English. They are not necessarily mocking your pathetic attempt to speak local. They may in fact speak English and feel you’ll understand if they communicate in English. Everyone’s happy!

So happy travels and remember to try and make an impression. Who knows, you might even make new friends across the pond! It’s always important to show respect for the people and culture. After all, you’re a guest in their country! You don’t have to be fluent, but a few words always go a long way!

 

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Who Should You Root for at the 2018 World Cup?

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Here’s a little random fact about me: I love soccer! I watch Spanish, Portuguese and English league soccer during the season, I played competitively in high school until I got injured during my senior year, and my dad was a professional back in England for a couple of years. Soccer is in my blood; it’s religion for me. And you can bet I’m eagerly awaiting the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which begins next week.

So what’s it all about? Every four years, 32 of the best footballing nations compete for soccer’s ultimate crown. This year it takes place in Russia, and sadly many of perennial soccer nations won’t be there: Italy, Netherlands, Chile, Ivory Coast and the USA. With the United States not in it, you might think the World Cup isn’t worth passing up baseball games, BBQs, etc. However, the World Cup is one of the biggest sporting events on the planet! It seems the world stops for the beautiful game. Sports Illustrated claims “the Super Bowl will never match the World Cup for global attention, no matter how many games the NFL plays on other continents.” Pretty interesting if you ask me!

Interested in watching the World Cup? Not sure who to support? I suggest my five picks (feel free to take or leave):

  1. Spain – winners of the World Cup in 2010, Spain return after a disappointing performance four years ago in Brazil. Spain qualified in a group featuring Italy. They come with a youthful players from Real and Atletico Madrid. With a strong desire to make up from their early exit in Brazil, Spain will look poised to go all the way to the final in Moscow. They will be in Group B with Portugal, Iran and Morocco.
  2. France – Finalists at Euro 2016 and World Cup winners in 1998, France are a good bet. With players like Griezmann and Mbappe will likely go far in the knock-out stages. Their group features Peru, Australia and Denmark.
  3. Argentina – They’ve won the trophy twice, and made it to the final in Brazil only to have the title snatched by Germany. They will be hungry for revenge, and with Lionel Messi as their star player, who would bet against them? They will take on Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria in their group.
  4. Germany – The Germans come to Russia as defending World Cup champions. Last year, they won the Confederations Cup in Russia, thus proving their worth as favorites for this year’s tournament. They open their group with Mexico, followed with Sweden and South Korea. With players such as Muller, Ozil, Hummels and Ter Stegen, Germany will be a potential soccer juggernaut in Russia.
  5. Colombia – If you’re familiar with James Rodriguez and Cuadrado, you’ll know that Colombia will be no pushovers. They already proved that by reaching the quarterfinals in the last World Cup. And they’ll be ready to go further this year. Colombia plays with heart and won’t go down without a fight. Their group includes Poland, Japan and Senegal.

 

So who do I think will win? Hard to say. Every team that’s made it will offer something special. We will also see a few surprises, and that’s what makes the World Cup so fun to watch. Of course, I will be supporting Spain, England and Egypt. Wherever you are, whoever you are supporting (even if you’re just watching the game for the hell of it), enjoy the beautiful game!

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Be Responsible on St. Paddy’s Day

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I thought I would take a different approach to blogging about St. Paddy’s Day. In the past, I’ve talked about its significance and what it means to me. But this year, I thought I’d focus on why most of us look forward to it: drinking!

With St. Paddy’s Day falling on a Saturday this year, you’ll likely plan on a day-long party with your friends and/or significant others. And by no means am I against you drinking! It’s Saturday, go out, paint the town black. Just be responsible and have a plan. Ensure you have a designated driver, and have someone watch out for you in case you end up doing something you wouldn’t normally do when you’re sober.

I do want to stress on having a D.D. You can be sure the police will be out on full force, and you wouldn’t want to wake up with a criminal record. If you know you’re going to go all out, leave your car at home, use Uber or whatever your poison is to get home. It might seem like a hassle, but it will be totally worth it. Oh and…

Honor Thy Bartender

Mike_Fisher (2 of 4) Seriously. Wherever your watering hole happens to be, please nice your barkeep. They’re going to be overworked. Tip them well, and if you happen to be unlucky enough to be cut off, don’t argue. They’re not being mean, they’re just doing their job and making sure the law doesn’t get involved. I was a bartender for a few years, and I remember having to work a St. Paddy’s Day. It was one of the most stressful days as a bartender, and I almost passed out from constantly ringing orders. I even got a mouthful when I cut a few patrons off, or refused to serve them because they showed up at my bar already intoxicated. So please, please, love thy bartender this St. Paddy’s Day.

So stay safe this St. Paddy’s Day, and be sure to have a pint of the black stuff. It’s not St. Paddy’s Day without it!

Cheers!

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