Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Chat Forum > The HUBB PUB

The HUBB PUB Chat forum - no useful content required!

BUT the basic rules of polite and civil conduct which everyone agreed to when signing up for the HUBB, will still apply, though moderation will be a LITTLE looser than elsewhere on the HUBB.
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

Like Tree1Likes
  • 1 Post By chris

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 7 Apr 2012
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Seville (E) / Geneva (CH)
Posts: 530
Wink Tips for English native speakers for a better communication in English with nonnative

Being a recurrent topic “how to communicate with local people in places were you don’t speak the language” or especially “how to learn X language” and considering that most HUBB visitors are English native speakers, I propose to start a thread where we, non-native speakers (and native as well), based on our experiences, give some tips to ease the task to Brits, Irish, Americans (US citizens), Aussies, Canadians and Kiwis (and any others) when they speak English abroad.

I’ll start it, hoping that others will provide more and better advice, but here I go.

Honestly, I think that starting point would be... ban the “I’m amazed about how few people could speak English” sentence. Although English is the current “lingua franca”, it hasn’t always been the case (elderly people speak more French, and still the case of youth in certain regions; or Russian in former USSR, etc). Furthermore, if you, a guy with the curiosity to travel to know the world can’t speak the local language, how could you expect the local farmer to speak good English? So, it’s you to make the bigger effort.

Now the tips (just a personal opinion), which mainly refer to the case of a native trying to use English: *note: I insist on native because understanding a foreigner is MUCH easier.

1) Politeness: in many places you cannot start by saying “(excuse me,) where is the cathedral?” So, start with a greeting in the local language (bonjour –really appreciated by the French-, buenos días –‘cos I’m (worth it?) Spanish-, whatever) and give the person a time to greet you back (1 second?). It’s a much better start to get all the kindness and patience from that person.

2) IMHO, don’t start asking “do you speak English?” Why? Some people just get afraid of this question. They may understand “where is the cathedral?” and could point the direction, but they consider that they don’t speak English to answer yes. So, they’ll say NO, although they might help you: most young people have studied some English at school.

3) Have you ever felt puzzled talking to a guy in Glasgow? It’s much worse for us with any native speaker, so speak slowly and pronounce very well, as if you had to pronounce every letter. Don’t speak very quickly followed by a long pause, we didn’t have time to process the info. British pronunciation doesn't sound fluent to our ears (bumps) and Americans "eat" sounds, Kiwis change vowels (sounds lift, they meant left). So, do your best: if you say “ksal”, the average Italian guy won’t link “castel” (say KASTEL) to the Italian “castello” (well, not so slowly as to make the Italian guy feel like an idiot).

4) Consider showing the word in written, whether in English or the local language. Wrong/right pronunciation may make a huge difference. I would add a visual dictionary, but that’s another story.

5) SMILE and be nice, use your body alongside with your tongue (useful anywhere for any speaker).

Not much, nor a golden tip above, but by now cannot think of others.

I hope it will help some and that others will contribute with more/better tips.

Happy travels (and happy communication when traveling!),

Esteban

Last edited by estebangc; 11 Apr 2012 at 13:32. Reason: Title more specific- hope
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 8 Apr 2012
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: London, W3 (the nice part though!)
Posts: 222
Quote:
Originally Posted by estebangc View Post
I hope it will help some and that others will contribute with more/better tips.
Speak louder and slower.
__________________
UK to Mongolia 2009, on a DR350
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 8 Apr 2012
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Seville (E) / Geneva (CH)
Posts: 530
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nath View Post
Speak louder and slower.
Yes, slow and emphasizing pronunciation is essential. Sure enough volume... but not way too high either! (not a matter of deafness , unless in the windy Mongolia steppe, cool blog and nice story, Nath).

Pretty obvious, but do not use slang at all and look for sort of complete and "international/French/latin/greek sounding" words: say motorcycle, instead of bike (motor and cycle will be easier to recognize in many languages: Motorrad, motocicleta, etc).

Support words with gestures: do you have a "pump", and move your arms pumping (Pumpe, bomba, etc, so the meaning comes to mind more easily).

The idea is to boost the effectiveness of communication in English with non/average foreign speakers.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 9 Apr 2012
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Norfolk/Suffolk border
Posts: 148
Why do we try and speak in pidgin English to foreigners?
Always baffles me!!!
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 9 Apr 2012
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Seville (E) / Geneva (CH)
Posts: 530
Quote:
Originally Posted by floyd View Post
Why do we try and speak in pidgin English to foreigners?
Always baffles me!!!
I adapt my language to the person's skills: he speaks well, I use proper Spanish; he's a beginner, I'll use a more basic Spanish. I don't think offensive, but the opposite. Boring? For some it could be, linked to the statement "how few people could speak English". Sounds like "shame on you" and 90% comes from someone who speaks no foreign language.

Average Dutch? Speak your best English. Average Spaniard? You'd better try simplified English. If the guy can understand you and help you, you'll make his day, he will feel more confident next time. Personally, I'd be thankful if you speak slowly and emphasize the pronunciation.

I've spoken quite a lot of "pidgin English" abroad (not in the UK, obviously) and the alternative would have been to speak the local language... and learning Turkish is not in the agenda by now.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 9 Apr 2012
chris's Avatar
Probably out riding
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: God's Own County
Posts: 2,294


Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 10 Apr 2012
brclarke's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Victoria, BC, CA
Posts: 510
I think your advice is good for non-native English speakers as well.
__________________
Bruce Clarke --- 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 250R (black)
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 10 Apr 2012
holodragon's Avatar
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: On the road.
Posts: 164
Some excellent advice, thank you.
I am learning Polish at the moment & can now understand how easy it is to mangle the pronunciation of a word! I have a bad habit of speaking too quickly, especially when nervous, so now I try to remember to take a deep breath & relax a little before saying something in any language.
I use a visual dictionary as part of my learning process & find them very useful, as a travelling aid the Point It book is great as it is so small & also generally causes some amusement.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 10 Apr 2012
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: on the road...
Posts: 456
Smile, although it can only get you so far, it does help!


I've used this at work .. PocketComms - Language First Aid at your Fingertips like the point books but plastic and easy to use. They actually have a link to the Hubb on their website!

handy just to build a basic rapport and get me unstuck and slightly less gormless.
__________________
'Life begins at the end of your comfort zone'-
http://fernsforays.com/ UK to Asia on a DRZ400 2012-2013
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 11 Apr 2012
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Danmark
Posts: 334
And please, this is also valid in your own country: make an effort to speak the queens english, because thats what foreigners have learned. Not geordie, cockney or scottish (I know its your language but its difficult to understand anyway).
Its strange for a foreigner to learn english and then find out that the english people can't speak their own language.
I would never talk to a foreigner in my own dialect, that even many danish people don't understand

About pidgin english: Years ago, I found it demeaning not to talk a correct english to other nonenglish speakers but after working for some time with asians with rudimentary english skills, I found out, that they didn't understand anything, if I used to many words.
"Do you want to go and have something to eat?" just gave me a stare but "Go eat?" immediately gave me the reply "Can, can"
You should of course adapt you language to the other parts language skills or you might offend them.
If all languages fail, I have had a lot of people laugh at me, for trying to mime and draw whatever I wanted and its always been a good icebreaker, when meeting new people.
__________________
Poul
May you enjoy peace and good health !
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


 
 
 

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!


HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.


Renedian Adventures


Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!


What turns you on to motorcycle travel?


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!


New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.


Books & DVDs

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!




All times are GMT +1. The time now is 18:55.