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sub-Saharan Africa Topics specific to sub-Saharan Africa. (Includes all countries South of 17 degrees latitude)
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  #1  
Old 18 Jul 2007
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Overcomming the language barrier

Hey guys. Would love some input from people who've done the western route of Africa.

As far as I can tell, speaking french would be a huge help. Sadly, I don't speak a word of it . The only usefull language I speak is english since I pressume neither danish or german will do me any good in Africa..hehe.

So I'd be interested to know if anyone with simillar language skills has braved the continent.

I've been considering taking some beginners course in french, but unsure if it'll do me any good on a trip like this. Perhaps I should just hook up with my brother, who is fluent in french, and learn some appropriate phrases?

Ideas, comments, experiences?
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  #2  
Old 18 Jul 2007
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Language

Ideally youll need english french and portugese. You will get away with english but try the Micheal Thomas french course..its good..i speak poor french and they made allowances...don't worry you'll be fine

jeff watts

Gone wandering

ps i have a lot of gps points for places down the west route if your interested
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  #3  
Old 18 Jul 2007
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Jeff,

I'd be interested in those GPS points....

Cheers,

Chris
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  #4  
Old 18 Jul 2007
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Hey Jeff.

I think I allready got those WP off you. To be honest, I had completely forgotten about them and haven't had a look at them yet on a map. But reading your website (I still chuckle when reading it for the umpteenth time) I'll pretty much be following in your footsteps. So they're bound to be very usefull to me.

As for the course you speak of, it does look quite interesting (found it quickly with a google search). Think I'll have a lash at the introductory course and see if that way of learning is for me. Thanks for the advice.
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  #5  
Old 19 Jul 2007
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You'll need a few words of the language where ever you go. It just makes things friendly. The words of greating, goodbye, numbers to ten, yes, no, how much?, bad road, broken, good road, things like that are .. oh toilet ... very usefull! Best learnt before you need them .. Hotel, camping ground, food, place to eat .. handy stuff like that
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  #6  
Old 19 Jul 2007
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Another vote for Michel Thomas. Even the two-hour intro gives you a great deal of confidence. The full course is eight hours, followed by five hours of Advanced French.

It doesn't matter about gramatical correctness as French is a second language to the locals and they will be most forgiving, especially if you combine your terrible French with some mime!

One of the most useful basic phrases is 'pour allez á ...?' (for going to ...?)

Pour allez á une hotel? Where is there a hotel?
Pour allez á essence? Where is a petrol station?
Pour allez á Dakar? Which way to Dakar?

Tim
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  #7  
Old 19 Jul 2007
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Knowing a bit of French does make the atlantic route easier. You can get by without any but the Michel Thomas introductory course is pretty cheap (if you can't get it from your local library) and and will give you a lot more confidence. Stick it on your ipod and learn as you ride.
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  #8  
Old 19 Jul 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by backofbeyond View Post
.....snip.... Stick it on your ipod and learn as you ride.
Pure genius.

I guess Mr. Thomas will get a purchase order pretty soon. Thanks guys.
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  #9  
Old 19 Jul 2007
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Dunno what the fuss is, I can spend money fluently in seventeen languages
Conversation is another matter.
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  #10  
Old 19 Jul 2007
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Michel Thomas CD courses for sale

I'm having a clearout at the moment and was going to put these on eBay. See my 'for sale' thread at http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...l-thomas-28319

Tim
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  #11  
Old 20 Jul 2007
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not before - during!.

G·Day all,
Here·s one where I can comment on due to my profession, language teacher,(that I hav·nt used for anything else of interest) and experience, (travelling alone to many countries, without having a clue of the respective languages spoken there): + .
I am totally sure that languages are to be learnt whilst travelling . That·s the ONLY way (if You hav·nt got years to spend and get a job in the country, the language of which, You are intenting to learn) . What You can learn in a shorter period of time, assisting classes, taking a language course, listening to tapes etc, is close to nothing . Languages are like music: You·ve either got it or You ain·t. If You·ve got it You·ll learn, on the trip, and in a jiffy, whereas if You ain·t .... forget it and get on your bike and for comunication, use Your arms, legs, draw things in the sand , in all, get by without musical/language talent but with intelligence!
Sorry to be so harsh towards the unachievable hopes of some, but being able to comunicate languagewise is overrated anyway, IMHO.
It·s normally people who have problems learning languages, who think they are missing out on something vital.
A kiss is still a kiss in any language, even though I do understand that the guy in the petrol station would think it a bit odd .... or perhaps not ??
Big hugs
Dan
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  #12  
Old 20 Jul 2007
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So true

How right you are.
I learned my english the realy hard way. When I was in the second grade, my parents decided that it would be great to live in Botswana for two years and put me in a local englishspeaking school. 2-3 months later I was fluent and it laid the basis for the english skills I posses today. No doubt the vocabulary has expanded over the years, but the solid foundation is undeniable.

I do claim to have a musical ear (allthough I don't think you want to hear me sing), and languages come easy to me. As it happens, I am also fluent in "mime" .

Incidently, here's a little joke on the subject:
Two old danish guys, were sitting on a bench near the beach in the tourist season and enjoying the sun. A german tourist walked up to them and asked them in german where the nearest hotel was. The two old men shook their heads in incomprehension. Worldly as the german tourist was, he tried in english. The two old men shrugged and looked at each other. Last try, the tourist tried in french. And yet again the two old men shrugged and shook their heads. Clearly frustrated, the tourist went on his way. Drawing heavily on his pipe, one of the old guys said "Well, I guess we should learn a bit of language, eh?". To which the other guy said "Why? That guy spoke three, and look what good it did him".
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  #13  
Old 20 Jul 2007
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Wink une petite correction est necessaire

Ou la la
Maybe this will be a little more useful!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Cullis View Post
Another vote for Michel Thomas. Even the two-hour intro gives you a great deal of confidence. The full course is eight hours, followed by five hours of Advanced French.

Yo Tim
I don't know about your Michel Thomas CD's but IMHO.....but reading below.....they must still be in their original wrapper! (sorry- just could not resist it !)

One of the most useful basic phrases is 'pour allez á ...?' (for going to ...?)

Pour allez á une hotel? Where is there a hotel?
Quelle est la direction pour l'hotel s'il vous plait?

Pour allez á essence? Where is a petrol station?
Quelle est la direction pour trouver de l'essence s'il vous plait?

Pour allez á Dakar? Which way to Dakar?
Quelle est la direction pour aller a Dakar s'il vous plait?

Tim
naturellement
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  #14  
Old 20 Jul 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danquart View Post
G·Day all,
Here·s one where I can comment on due to my profession, language teacher,(that I hav·nt used for anything else of interest) and experience, (travelling alone to many countries, without having a clue of the respective languages spoken there): + .
I am totally sure that languages are to be learnt whilst travelling . That·s the ONLY way (if You hav·nt got years to spend and get a job in the country, the language of which, You are intenting to learn) . What You can learn in a shorter period of time, assisting classes, taking a language course, listening to tapes etc, is close to nothing . Languages are like music: You·ve either got it or You ain·t. If You·ve got it You·ll learn, on the trip, and in a jiffy, whereas if You ain·t .... forget it and get on your bike and for comunication, use Your arms, legs, draw things in the sand , in all, get by without musical/language talent but with intelligence!
Sorry to be so harsh towards the unachievable hopes of some, but being able to comunicate languagewise is overrated anyway, IMHO.
It·s normally people who have problems learning languages, who think they are missing out on something vital.
A kiss is still a kiss in any language, even though I do understand that the guy in the petrol station would think it a bit odd .... or perhaps not ??
Big hugs
Dan
Thanks for the honesty Dan, you are talking yourself out of a job!!

I wish that all teachers could be so open minded and receptive to the rest of the world, instead of bulling up education as the be-all and end-all of life, the universe and whatever else.

You are an eloquent advocate of the University of Life.
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  #15  
Old 2 Oct 2007
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Languages

I've travelled a bit. And had a go at everything from Africaans to Zulu, with Togalog, Russian and Burmese in there somewhere. So much so that I get confused with which language I started in.

I carry a couple of pictogram laminated cards (6"x4").
"Lost for words" do a basic one. but I also have some I made up myself.
Getting lost is part of the fun of travelling but with pictograms of the basic "left" "right" "roundabout" "trafic lights" etc. it can save a lot of wrong turns.
I have one for food & drink and one for emergency stuff.
It's amaizing how much information gets across the language barrier.
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