If you’re planning to travel outside of your home country and in a place where they don’t speak your native language, consider learning as much of that language as you can before you leave home. Not only will it make your time on the road that much easier, but you might just have some fun in the process.
But you don’t need to memorize hundreds of words in order to converse with the locals in a foreign language. In fact, you can usually get by with as few as 20 words in your vocabulary.
Last year I traveled to 24 different countries in Europe and Africa and was forced to converse in more than 17 different languages. This year I’ll be traveling to 13 or more countries and speaking 9 or more languages. I am not a master at any of these foreign languages, but I have learned basic conversation skills by first mastering the most common words in any language.
That’s right! The secret to rapid language learning is to focus on the 20 most commonly used words… and then only after you have mastered those words or phrases, to move on to other words and phrases by increasing your vocabulary.
To help you on your travels, I have put together the following list of the 20 words and phrases I tend to use most often when traveling in foreign countries. I suggest you learn the following words and phrases first, as these few words/phrases will get you through almost any basic interaction.
The Most Commonly Used Words & Phrases In Any Language
- Thank you
- You’re Welcome
- I understand
- I don’t understand
- I’m sorry
- Excuse me
- I don’t speak ________
- I am from ________
- How are you?
- Good morning
- Good afternoon
- Good evening
- Good night
Only after mastering these few basic words and phrases should you consider moving on and learning more of the local language. I suggest you begin your expanded learning by memorizing the numbers (which are commonly used when buying and selling just about anything during your travels):
- The numbers (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
- The numbers (11-100)
What additional words of phrases do you think would come in handy when traveling in a foreign country? Leave a comment below and let me know what you have to say!