LEARNING THE LINGO
Adventure Motorcycle (ADVMoto)|September-October 2020
LEARNING THE LINGO
5 ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR COMMUNICATING WHEN YOU DON’T SPEAK THE LANGUAGE
Andy Davidson

Communicating when you don’t speak the local language can be daunting at first. But after a little practice you’ll find it can be some of the most fun you have on a trip. It’s surprising just how easy it is to get things across with hand signals, a few words and a big smile. You’ll find yourself becoming more resourceful, confident, patient, a better communicator and, perhaps as important, will impress your friends and family with a newfound mastery of charades when you return home.

Read on for our five top tips to prepare for communicating with minimal language skills while adventure motorcycling.

WHAT TO DO

LEARN THE BASICS

You must have heard this a million times, but learning “hello,” “yes,” “no,” “please” and “thank you” do make a huge difference. It shows you’ve taken time to learn a couple of words and will be appreciated. It doesn’t matter if you mispronounce, in fact it’s often a good thing. A little mispronunciation is often funny; they’ll laugh with you, help you to say it correctly and subconsciously bond.

Top tip: If someone tries to speak a little English back to you, be sure to appreciate it with a big thumbs up. Learning a foreign language in far flung lands can be difficult and people often feel embarrassed trying it out. It’s good to boost their confidence, as they’ll be more likely to try it on the next foreigner to come along.

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September-October 2020