How many words of a language do you learn before you travel?
The language barrier is a tricky thing to over, during a relaxing holiday break. A brief two weeks lounging on the golden beaches of the Costa Blanca can bring with it a mind field of broken Spanish, overly animated hand gestures and loud, enunciated British words, just to ask where your hotel is. Many of us have found ourselves in one of those awkward situations, where you’ve asked for the Wi-Fi code and you are brought a glass of white wine. According to researchers the average Briton will only know eight words of the country’s language.
The study went on to suggest that French is the most common language British people are familiar with. Although millions of Brits head to the sunnier climes of Spain most only know a handful of words in Spanish, ‘hello,’ ‘yes’ and ‘goodbye,’ being the most common, followed by ‘thank you,’ ‘no,’ and ‘good morning.’
“The survey has uncovered some really interesting insights into how Brits seem to have the confidence to communicate while traveling without necessarily learning any of the native language.” Says the spokesman for Holiday Autos, the company behind the research. “It shows that having confidence leads to happier holidays.”
The survey also revealed that, of the 1,500 people asked 23% admit to holidaying in predominantly English speaking resorts, and felt there was no need to learn the language.
But the limited knowledge of a local language has led many to admit when things don’t go according to plan they can struggle with finding the right person to speak to, particularly when it comes to lost luggage, sending something back in a restaurant, following directions and settling a bill. Some have admitted to speaking slower and some even resorted to drawing pictures, just to get their point across.