Monday, April 1, 2013

Hello, Please, Thank You, and Where's the toilet?

This summer we will be in seven different countries while on vacation.  We like to learn a few basic words and phrases for the areas we visit so that we can greet others, say please, thank you, and where's the toilet?  Our experience has been that even just these few phrases along with hand signs help us with language barriers in the areas we travel.  Of course we are mostly going to be in tourist areas where English is understood, we find that the shopkeepers and restaurant staff appreciate the effort to be polite in their language.

Our first country will be Spain, but because we'll be in Barcelona, the dialect is not Spanish, but Catalan.  Our phrases are: Hola, complaure, Gràcies, and On és el lavabo?

For our two stops in France, we'll want to say Bonjour, s'il vous plaît, merci, and Où sont les toilettes?

I loved listening to conversations in Italian when we visited Italy in 2007.  I particularly liked that Prego is how you say "you're welcome" in Italian; I remember that because we sometimes use that spaghetti sauce.  Our phrases in Italian are:  Ciao, per favore, grazie, and Dov'è il bagno?

I took a first level Greek class in college, but I was a much better reader of the language than conversationalist.  While in Greece, we'll want to know how to say: Γεια σας, παρακαλώ, σας ευχαριστώ, and Πού είναι η τουαλέτα;

I can't say I've ever hear the Turkish language spoken, and I'm pretty sure you don't just sound out the letters, but perhaps we can recognize it when others speak our basic phrases: Merhaba, lütfen, teşekkür ederim, and Tuvalet nerede?

Our days in Malta may find us needing to use Maltese as we'll be spending some time on our own there, so we should learn Hello, Jekk jogħġbok, Grazzi, and Fejn hi l-toilet?

And while we will have a guide for our time in Croatia, I'd like us to be able to greet him in his native language as well as say please and thank you.  And of course if we need a potty-break, being able to ask where the restroom is will be important, so we should learn these phrases in Croatian before we go: bok, molim, hvala, and Gdje je WC?

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