Foreign Phrases - Top Nine Languages To Learn

By: Keith Valentine

Which foreign phrases do you need to know to ask the price of something? What do you say when you need to call the police? In which countries can you make yourself understood more easily?

There are four languages spoken in the world with over two hundred million users: Chinese, English, Spanish and Arabic. There are five more with 100 - 200 million speakers: Bengali, Hindi, Russian, Portuguese and Japanese. While Spanish is popular in Spain, it is spoken widely in South and Central America, and also in Mexico. Portuguese is not only spoken in Portugal but is Brazil's primary language also. Arabic is the major language used in the Middle East; Bengali and Hindi are used mostly in the Indian subcontinent; and the many dialects of Chinese are spoken in southeast Asia.

The Spanish phrase for 'How much is this?' is '?Cuántos?'; and if you want to say 'I don't understand' just repeat 'No entiendo'. The greeting 'Hello!' is '?Hóla!'. Each language has its peculiarities both in their pronunciation and in the written word - Español is no exception! In fact it is often difficult if not impossible to display all the different characters and symbols used in foreign languages, and even more challenging to pronounce the words correctly. It is for this reason that foreign phrases used here are only to indicate the differences between languages and dialects and not to be used as a tutorial.

Russian has its quirks too, and the alphabet resembles a combination of English, Greek and other unique characters. If you want to tell someone to 'Have a nice day!' in Russia, you might say 'Šcastlivo ostavatsja!', or if you're 'Sorry!' you'll say 'Prastite!'. This language made up of the Cyrillic alphabet, is spoken in most countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. There are a few things to consider though, if you want to learn foreign phrases.

First, decide why you are interested in making yourself understood among foreign-speaking people. Perhaps you're simply living or working with individuals that speak their mother-tongue regularly and you wish to communicate with them better? There maybe a need - perhaps for business reasons? or even because they are related and you feel a sense of duty to attempt to understand them?

If you intend to travel you also need to decide if you have adequate funds for your trip. Is it too dangerous a country to visit right now? How familiar are you with the people and the country you are visiting? Europe is ideal for learning many international languages and for travel but you may wish to visit distant lands in Asia also.

The endearing 'I love you' in Portuguese can be said with 'Amo-te, eu te amo, eu gosto de você, eu amo você'; or 'You call that a ham sandwich? Take it away at once!', then state clearly 'Chama a isso uma sanduíche de fiambre? Leve já isso daqui!'. You can also greet someone with 'Welcome!', which is 'Bem-vindo!'.?

Foreign Phrases in Common Asian Languages

In Arabic you can say 'Excuse me!' with 'Alma'derah!', or 'Would you like to dance with me?' by repeating 'Hal tuhibb?'. To state 'I don't understand' in Bengali try pleading 'Ami bujhina', and 'Hello!' would be 'Nomoshkar!'. In Hindi if you want to tell someone you're 'Sorry!', say 'Maf kijiye!', or 'How do you say ... in Hindi?', just ask 'Hindi mein ... kaisey kahtey hain?'.

In China you may want to shout 'Leave me alone!', so you yell 'Búyào darao wo!' in Mandarin but in Cantonese you could say 'Pleased to meet you', so try something like 'Hóu hòihing gindou néih'. In Japanese you tell someone to 'Get well soon', so repeat 'Odaiji ni', or 'Where are you from?'Science Articles, ask 'Doko kara kimasu ka?'. These are just some of the foreign phrases from a few languages spoken in the world but there are many more.

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