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The Best Languages For Travellers To Learn | With Rosetta Stone

Speaking a foreign language is never more exciting than when you’re travelling. Being able to talk to people you meet on the road is a joy, helping you to get closer to your destination and the people who call it home. But what are the best languages for travellers? We asked language learning experts Rosetta Stone to find out. To help you get chatting away at the local bolero dance, ordering your next Cà phê đá with ease or bartering with confidence in the souk, here are the best languages for travellers to learn.

1. Spanish (Spain)

Picturesque day view of Toledo. Castile - La Mancha, Spain Picturesque Toledo. Castile - La Mancha, Spain

 

After English, Spanish is the most commonly spoken language in Europe. The great news about this beautiful language is that it is often considered one of the easiest to learn too. Spanish is phonetic (you pronounce every syllable as it is written) and has fewer irregular verb conjugations than many other languages, meaning it is both useful and not too tricky.

Speak Spanish on your next adventure!

2. French

Chateau de Chenonceau, France Chateau de Chenonceau

 

Forget your school day woes; brush up on your French! Move beyond “Deux baguette s’il vous plait” and you’ll find the ‘language of love’ is a great addition to your travel tool belt, whether you’re in France itself or further afield in previous French colonial areas, where French is still widely spoken. Plus, watching world-renowned French cinema is the perfect way to combine your new language skills with interesting, acclaimed foreign films.

Speak French on your next adventure!

3. German

Castle Neuschwanstein Castle Neuschwanstein, Bavaria

 

A fantastic language to get to grips with, German is simply good fun to learn. There are lots of interesting vowel sounds to wrap your head around, along with being another language where you pronounce all the letters. It also shares plenty of roots with English, so there’s even some familiarity with the vocabulary.

Speak German on your next adventure!

4. Italian

Amalfi Coast, Italy Amalfi Coast, Italy

 

Cool café culture means one thing: snippets of overheard conversation. Get a grasp of the basics then shamelessly snoop on local chit chat – you’ll get an insight into the area you’re in, and give a new dimension to people watching. Whether it’s Tuscan grandmas swapping recipe ideas, toned lycra-clad cyclists taking an espresso break between the cols, or the locals watching the game on the Amalfi Coast, you can get a sneak peek into their day to day.

Speak Italian on your next adventure!

5. Japanese

The floating Tori at Miyajima Island, Japan The sunset at Miyajima Island, Japan

 

It may be one of the trickiest on this list, with three different alphabets to contend with, but the Japanese language has one clear advantage: as a means of getting into Japanese culture, it’s difficult to beat. You’ll be able to get into Japanese media, without anything mediated by an unknown translator – especially for those with an interest in anime, there is a wealth of movie and TV out there to engage with, as well as fantastic literature, both fiction and non-fiction.

Speak Japanese on your next adventure!

6. Spanish (Latin America)

Lady weaving, Mexico Lady weaving, Mexico

 

For travellers headed to Southern and Latin America – and many parts of the USA too – speaking a little Latin Spanish is undeniably useful. Spoken by millions of people all over the world, Spanish is the official majority language in no fewer than 21 countries worldwide and a commonly spoken language in even more. There are lots of versions – Mexican Spanish is slightly different to Chilean Spanish and so on – but if it is versatility you’re looking for, Spanish delivers.

Speak Spanish on your next adventure!

7. Arabic

Sunrise in the Wadi Rum Sunrise in the Wadi Rum, Jordan

 

Who wouldn’t want to speak Arabic? This lilting, musical language is the cornerstone of Arabic culture, and whilst it is undeniably quite an undertaking for native English speakers in terms of grammar, vocab and structuring, it’s a beautiful language to speak and converse in. Plus, it’s sure to keep even the most adept language learner on their toes.

Speak Arabic on your next adventure!

8. Mandarin Chinese

Beijing temple Beijing temple

 

For a challenge, Mandarin will stretch even a keen linguist. There’s a whole new alphabet to get stuck into, and the language is tonal, meaning you’ll need to keep an ear out for getting the perfect inflections to convey meaning. It’s also good for anyone keen to get in some practice of their newly acquired language skills by studying menus as it’s a free pass to eat out at Chinese restaurants.

Speak Mandarin on your next adventure!

9. Vietnamese

Flower seller, Vietnam Flower seller, Vietnam

 

Another tonal language, Vietnamese, is alternative way to stretch a language learner’s ability, but once mastered you’ll have a distinct advantage when you travel. This not a language many westerners speak – so even with a few basic phrases under your belt you’ll stand out from the crowd, and the rewards for making a little more effort are huge.

Speak Vietnamese on your next adventure!

10. Greek

Delphi Temple Delphi Temple

 

Around 25% of English has its origins tucked away in Greek, but it’s not a common choice for a second language. Where Greek has the advantage is for anyone interested in Greek culture – and with fantastic food, rich history and some of the prettiest islands going, why wouldn’t you be interested? Knowing a few phrases will help you make friends in the seafront watering holes and beautiful ports – without having to mime to make yourself understood.

Speak Greek on your next adventure!

Regardless of where you’re headed, if you’re able to learn just one word you’ll be set up: whether it is merci, gracias, arigato, takk, dziekuje or shukran, a little word goes a long way.

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