In school I studied both French and German and took both of these for GCSE’s, I was never in the top set for these subjects, they just didn’t come naturally to me – I did however gain a C grade in my exams for both, although I’m not sure why really.
Since then I have been to France just once on a college trip while studying for my Diploma in Nursery Nursing and I haven’t ever been to Germany. While in France I don’t recall actually ever using any of the French I learnt in school, we were in a large group – went to the Louvre, Notre-Dame and then Disneyland – I don’t even remember trying to speak the language which now thinking about it is very bad form.
A girls holiday to Spain and I learnt a few choice words and phrases which I would need, the same happened in Rome and in Egypt – I learnt enough to ask very basic directions, find my way back to the hotel, order a drink and some food but that was about it. At the time it seemed enough for a 2 week holiday.
It seems I am not alone with this however, and the average Brit will head off on their holiday knowing just 8 word of the local language, or around 15 French words according to a recent survey commissioned by Holiday Autos Car Hire.
Of the 1500 people surveyed 23% admitted to staying in popular resorts so there was no real need for them to learn the language, while 1 in 10 knew how to ask where the bathroom was and more than 1 in 10 knowing how to fluently order a beer.
The survey also showed that while many of us can’t speak the language we do make an effort at least to be polite as of the 8 words most knew ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’ and ‘Good Morning’ were among them.
They have also produced a video in which they interviewed people asking for their ‘lost in translation disasters’ while on holiday…..it turns out there have been a few – especially awkward for the vegetarian who asked for Lapin instead of Du Pain
Have you ever had a lost in translation moment while on holiday?
Do you learn the language or are you one of the 35% who admitted to speaking slower and waving their hands madly around in a bid to make themselves understood?
The spokesman for Holiday Autos added:
“The survey has uncovered some really interesting insights into how Brits seem to have the confidence to communicate while traveling without necessarily learning any of the native language.
It shows that having confidence leads to happier holidays — something which Holiday Autos believes in wholeheartedly”
Here’s a list of the top 30 foreign words/phrases Brits learn for their holidays – which do you know?
- Good morning
- My name is
- Good evening
- Excuse me
- The bill please
- Can I have a beer
- Where is the bathroom?
- Where is the hotel?
- Can I have a glass of wine
- Still water
- Where is the hospital
- Straight on
- Will you sleep with me?
- Sparkling water
- I have an upset stomach