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Old 02-16-2013, 11:41 AM   #1
Lisa Lisa
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Heads up for European Cruisers: Rosetta Stone Sale

Rosetta Stone is having a big Presidents' Day weekend sale. They're offering 25% off plus free next-day air. I ordered Italian levels 1-5 and DD and I plan to get as far with it as we can before our Med cruise next year.

http://www.rosettastone.com/
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Old 02-16-2013, 02:20 PM   #2
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I agree that learning another language is important but traveling in Europe a number of times it is impressive how English is understood in most of the travel destinations. Even when we traveled in Croatia we had no trouble conversing with most people. In Spain we traveled by public transportation and when we had trouble finding our way the locals were quite kind in helping us through a combination of sign language and pigeon English/ Spanish.
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Old 02-16-2013, 03:12 PM   #3
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We've been pleased with the Rosetta Stone language programs.

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Old 02-16-2013, 04:08 PM   #4
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Don't patronize Europeans

Any European tour from a cruise ship has only enough time to go to highly tourist areas. It will be a struggle to find *anyone* speaking the local language. In fact, you might even hear more Japanese than any European langauge.

Learn "please" and "thank-you". Don't patronize Europeans with crude attempts at their langage. They learned more English in first grade!


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Old 02-16-2013, 04:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjacobi View Post
Any European tour from a cruise ship has only enough time to go to highly tourist areas. It will be a struggle to find *anyone* speaking the local language. In fact, you might even hear more Japanese than any European langauge.

Learn "please" and "thank-you". Don't patronize Europeans with crude attempts at their langage. They learned more English in first grade!


-Paul
while it's true that some europeans speak better English than the average american, why is it patronizing to try speaking in their language?
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Old 02-16-2013, 04:20 PM   #6
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We will be staying in Rome for three days before our cruise departs, and I hope that we'll encounter many people speaking Italian. Given that we have 16 months to prepare, I hope to learn how to say more than "please" and "thank you." To patronize is to be condescending, and I have no intention of behaving in that way. I realize that many Europeans speak English, but I'm guessing that some appreciate efforts made by visitors to speak their language -- crude or not.
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Old 02-16-2013, 04:45 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Lisa Lisa View Post
We will be staying in Rome for three days before our cruise departs, and I hope that we'll encounter many people speaking Italian. Given that we have 14 months to prepare, I hope to learn how to say more than "please" and "thank you." To patronize is to be condescending, and I have no intention of behaving in that way. I realize that many Europeans speak English, but I'm guessing that some appreciate efforts made by visitors to speak their language -- crude or not.
We traveled to Venice years ago. Months before I was reading in a magazine about a Michelin starred resturaunt and chose to write for a reservation. I wrote in Italian, or something I thought was Italian, and got a reservation. When we arrived we were treated 1st class and like we were someone important, giving us the best table in the house. Our daughter did not like anything on the menu so the chef came out and delivered hand made pasta for her. It was quite an evening and to this day I do believe they were impressed that a "Yank" would take the time to write in their language. It does impress locals when you take the time to recognize the culture through language. We travel to Montreal and it does help when we speak in French...err...or something WE think is French.
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Old 02-16-2013, 05:12 PM   #8
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I have traveled throughout Europe and while it is true that most people over there speak English, many will find it very nice that Americans at least attempted to learn a language other than English.

In France(I studied french from 2nd -11th grade) people in Paris weren't so nice about my simple mistakes(I was in 7th grade) but poeple in the smaller towns in the countryside were trilled that I was learning French. They thought it was so cute!

My advice, learn what you can and take the body language of the person you are talking to. if they are not happy with you in Italian, speak English, It will most likely be easier for both of you. But some people will think y'all are the greatest Americans on the Earth for learning their language.
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Old 02-16-2013, 05:20 PM   #9
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Show respect

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while it's true that some europeans speak better English than the average american, why is it patronizing to try speaking in their language?
Because tourists spend 2 months trying to learn a European language from a computer program, while Europeans have learned English in school for 20 years or more.

Learn some key words and phrases in the local language and simple English.

Show respect by not butchering their ancient language!

On a cruise, you will only be in country for a few hours at most.

http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/leaping.htm


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Old 02-16-2013, 05:26 PM   #10
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Completely disagree with the thought that just because you might not be perfect with a language is reason to not try.

What about just bettering yourself and broadening your horizons? You have to start somewhere.

I have traveled all my life and cannot remember a single instance where it wasn't appreciated that I WAS TRYING.
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Old 02-16-2013, 05:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjacobi View Post
Because tourists spend 2 months trying to learn a European language from a computer program, while Europeans have learned English in school for 20 years or more.

Learn some key words and phrases in the local language and simple English.

Show respect by not butchering their ancient language!

On a cruise, you will only be in country for a few hours at most.

http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/leaping.htm


-Paul
Wow...way to be a negative Nellie.

I have had several encounters with locals in Europe where they have told me how refreshing it is to see an American at least make an attempt to speak their language. So many Americans go there assuming that their language will be accommodated. That's one of the reasons we have gotten the "ugly American" stereotype.

Anytime I travel I make it a point to know at least some of the language. Usually this means that I can ask for and understand directions, order in a restaurant, have a command of the "polite words" (please, thank you, excuse me, etc.) and a bit more. We are also sailing the Med next year and I plan to get started on Italian ASAP.

As far as Rosetta Stone goes, while no language software will make you fluent, I have found RS to be the best program out there for learning at home. I have finished the French 1-5 series (a refresher from my many years of now lost High School French) and Spanish 1-5. I am currently working on German 1-5 and just bought the Italian 1-5 pack. I really enjoy the lessons and have used it quite a bit in my travels.

Happy language learning everyone!
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Old 02-16-2013, 06:08 PM   #12
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Wow...way to be a negative Nellie.
Not negative, just the facts!

Most Europeans begin life speaking an impenetrable local dialect within the family. The children then go to school to learn standard French/German/Italian as a foreign language, plus English and perhaps another language. Once they have completed school they are often fluent in three or more languages. This mastery of language simple does not compare with 2 years of high school French taught in American schools!

I highly recommend learning polite words, numbers, and simple phrases. I would not recommend conversation, because your grammar and pronunciation will sound horrible to a European.

This is based on my substantial travels in Europe (Africa, too!) and along with recommendations from Rick Steves who is an expert on European travel.


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Old 02-16-2013, 06:18 PM   #13
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Not negative, just the facts!
No, not facts, opinion.

I have also travelled extensively and my experiences contradict yours. In every country I have been to my attempt at the language has been appreciated. Will I ever be confused for a native speaker? Doubtful...but that isn't my goal. I merely hope to be able to show that I have made an attempt. Anything more is gravy.

Another plus to learning the language is that I understand more while I am there. I am able to read most signs and menus and am able to figure much of the rest out on my own, alleviating the need to constantly ask for help.

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Old 02-17-2013, 09:16 AM   #14
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I'm with all the folks who do NOT think it is patronizing to try to communicate in foreign languages. I have travelled to many places where i have spoken the local language or at least learned a few phrases before going (or while there). Not ONCE was it frowned upon and MANY times it was appreciated.

For those traveling to a place where they do not speak the language, I would recommend that you learn (or have written on a piece of paper) the following phrases:

Good morning, good day, good evening

Please and thank you

Where is/how do I get to (this has been a life saver and folks who do not speak English can still gesture you on the correct path)

Food words - most restaurants will not have menus in English so you'll want to learn some basic food words or carry a pocket dictionary. This came in handy for us in the Czech Republic, for instance, where no one outside of Prague spoke English.


Flip this scenario around for a minute. Would you feel patronized or insulted if a tourist in your city approached you and asked for directions in careful but broken English? No you would not! And if you would - then maybe you're not the type of person who should be representing us outside the 50 states anyways!
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Old 02-17-2013, 09:25 AM   #15
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I have travelled a lot across Europe... Every time I have tried the local language it has ALWAYS been appreciated. Especially France.

I visited Madrid in 2011 and was surprised how many people don't speak English. Especially in restaurants. My mother is diabetic and I know basic Spanish so was able to explain menu items and ask the waiter to bring meals without certain things. Without knowing a little bit of the language we would have been stuck. Not everywhere caters to tourists.
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