Eat, Drink, Man, Woman
This is more than just the title of a delightful foreign film by Ang Lee.
These are a few of the words you should learn in the local language of every place you travel!
Learning just a few words in the local dialect will do wonders for the quality and depth of your encounters when traveling. Buy a simple phrasebook and don’t be afraid to give it a shot! Time and time again, you will be amazed by the positive reactions you will receive when you make the effort to speak the local tongue.
How is this a sustainable travel practice?
For one, it allows you to stay at local lodging and eat at local restaurants, so that local people are enjoying the maximum benefit of your tourist dollars. As a traveler, it opens up new districts and areas that are less touristy, not to mention the leg up it gives when price bargaining!
On a deeper level, this practice allows you to help sustain cultural preservation. English has reached the far corners of the world, and in some cases, has overtaken traditional languages. A wholehearted attempt at communication in the local language shows the local people that you value their culture and are not assuming they will adapt to you, the western visitor. The friendships and exchanges that result from this simple practice are one of the sweetest joys of travel.
So don’t forget your phrasebook on your next overseas adventure – there is a whole nation of language tutors waiting to help you!