Have you ever had a language barrier?

@maximax8 (28558)
United Kingdom
February 14, 2009 1:45pm CST
My mother tongue is English and when I went to Hungary aged 18 not many people spoke English. Some of the local people knew German as their second language. When I was in my twenties I went to Slovakia and I was at a bus station not knowing how to get to Poland. I asked in a loud voice "Does anyone speak English please?" I was so relieved when a Polish boy stepped forward. He told me which bus to catch and helped me get a ticket on it. Funnily enough by a lake in Poland I bumped into him and his dad. He and I exchanged addresses and he did come to visit once. When I was in Bulgaria a few years ago I had terrible language problems when booking a train ticket to Romania. I am learning Spanish so that will be helpful to me in some countries and I already know French. Have you had any language barrier? If you where? How did you manage?
4 people like this
17 responses
@cher913 (25890)
• Canada
14 Feb 09
i married into a german family and have been married for 21 years, but in the days of dating and engagement, i really didnt know a whole lot of german, so that was tough. after hubby and i got married, i went to night school and passed the course even without writing the final exam. i am hoping to learn french and spanish now. i tried to learn mandarin, but had no one to practice on. hungarian is the language of my ancestors, so that would be cool, plus i would love to learn yiddish (i have no idea why, but the language just facinates me!)
@maximax8 (28558)
• United Kingdom
14 Feb 09
You did so well to get some competent at German. You had a difficult time at first learning it but did have the will to because of your husband. One guy at my Spanish class learns French as well. I learned French for five years at school. Now that I am older if I carry on learning Spanish for four to five years I will become really competent. It is a shame you didn't have anyone to practice Mandarin with. That is a challenging language. Hungarian would be a great language to learn because of your family history. Some Israeli people had a girl learning Yiddish in their home and she got on well.
@hotsummer (10449)
• Philippines
15 Feb 09
oh that would be so cool to learn so many languages as you do. but i will have a hard time to learn them cause i have no one to talk to with those languages to practice on . and so i think that english as of now is the only language i am trying to learn cause i am not really still good at it. i want to perfect my english and sound like any American or any english speaking nation. there are still so many english words that i don't knwo. and i ahve still hard time to express myself in english specially oral english. but now i am getting better in written english maybe because of my participation on this site. it is really cool to learn english. i think i will want to learn some mandarin cause i think it is cool. as the next international language to learn. cause there are so many chinese shows being shown locally in the philippines with english subtitles with it for us to understand what is being said in that show. before i wish to learn spanish but lost my motivation and desire to learn after some time and so i have given it up and no more desire to learn it. but i do know how to count in spanish though. does it count. LOL. anyways, we do really count in spanish locally cause we have some little very little spanish influence but i didn't really try to learn them i just grew up knowing them cause it is part of our language. and there are so me local language i get realize that is of spanish origin. anyways, i am happy with my little spanish knowledge. i don't want to learn more. and i had very little knowledge of french. had one week of french class. done with it. not any more interested to learn it not if i will get to live in some other country that french is widely spoken. but i don't see myself going to other country yet.
@apples99 (6564)
• United States
15 Feb 09
Yes where I live there is a bit of language barrier because a lot of the people here speak a different languages, a lot of people here speak spanish and my native tough is english, and I live in the U.S, but thats one of the reasons I want to learn spanish so I can understand and communicate with others better.
@sylvia13 (1851)
• Nelson Bay, Australia
15 Feb 09
In a way yes, even though I can speak English, Spanish and some French. We moved to Austria many years ago and they speak German here. I have tried to learn the language, but it is not easy, as it is difficult and also people here don't seem to like to speak to people they don't know. I can understand a good percentage, but it bothers me that it is not 100%. The main problem though is speaking and I admit that I can't say what I really want! Language is definitely a barrier, but I am used to it now, so I am a good friend of myself now!
@zhuhuifen46 (3486)
• China
15 Feb 09
So often I ran acoss language barriers. My major was English, and I was working in a joint venture with vw, where most expatriates spoke german, though it was stipulated in contract that english was supposed to be the working language in executive business occasions. My boss spoke a bit english, so he did his best to match the requirements. However there were still many things he did not know in english. In such cases, I have to turn to german interpreters for help. And in due time, I knew german a little bit, and his english was much better.
• China
15 Feb 09
my monther language is chinese.so to me,i have all kinds of language barrier except chinese.i have learned English language for ten years,but speaking /listening English is still very difficult for me.facing a foreigner, i am too nervous to speak any word,sometimes, i even can not understand what they say. last week, my poland customer came to our company for a visit.Suddenly he asked me a question,because he spoken English very fast, so i can not catch up with him,a suprised expression on my face, i only just asked him to repeat hiis questiones with several times. at that time, i am very shamed. i think in chinese, people learn English very rigid,we are lack of learning English environment.although when i was in university, we have foreign teacher, i still have enough courage to speak with them. dears, i know your English is very good.could you help me improve my English? my MSN is gu.shu.ying@hotmail.com. i welcome you to contact me for practising English. if you want to learn Chinese,also pls contact me.
@James72 (26829)
• Australia
15 Feb 09
Language barriers have been a major challenge for me for some four years now maximax! At the moment it's a struggle with Arabic as I'm living in Egypt. prior to this it was Hindi; and before that it was Tagalog. I am fine with Tagalog, but I really struggled with Hindi and Arabic is difficult for me also. I get by OK most of the time, but even situations like catching a taxi can present many problems for me and more times than not I have to call a colleague to explain to the taxi driver where I want to go! lol. I have worked out the numbers here though which is of course great when I'm shopping for food and things; but having to ask where certain things are etc is yet another challenge at times! Most of the time my communication with non-English speaking people here involves a lot of pointing and gestures! lol. I get my message across eventually!
@SViswan (12071)
• India
15 Feb 09
Though my mother tongue is Malayalam and I speak English, I'd been in Kuwait since I was a few months old. So, I would Arabic too. Most places I went to I could get by with English. But the toughest part was when I relocated to India. At first, I couldn't read the Malayalam road signs and the boards on the bus. But since I could speak Malayalam, it wasn't that bad and I could ask someone for help. But when I moved to the next state (after marriage), it was really tough at first because the official language here is Kannada. Though most Indians speak English, I lived in a remote place where people only spoke Kannada and that too a rustic version of it. I've now learnt the language and get along here.
@lycity (10)
• China
15 Feb 09
yeah,i have a big language barrier here now ,for my mother tongue is chinese,sometimes i can't understand enough about what it is other people talking ,it is a terrible thing ,is't it?
@simon611 (598)
• China
15 Feb 09
Yes,writing in English is the most difficult thing for me.My native language is not English,so,I have to pay more attention to my grammer while writing.In mylot,my English is improving day by day. Happy mylotting. I love mylot.
• Thailand
15 Feb 09
i was born in holland,than i go to thailand they speak very bad english in the town were istay, and the thai language is not easy, it takes me 3 years for to learn in a school, first i could only talk with my wife, now i speak thai enough, now its okee.
@marketing07 (6266)
• South Korea
15 Feb 09
yes..when i get married my husband, i struggle communicating with him...cuz of their language..he never speak english..but he know few words..i try to learn their language, the basic first, and so far i can read and right..have a nice day
• United States
15 Feb 09
My language barrier isn't the result of traveling. Currently, I work with a young boy that doesn't always speak a lot of English. His parents are from Taiwan and they speak three languages. English of course is not their native language. Whenever I work with him, he does not always speak English to me and it's often difficult to understand what he says. His mom however is really good at telling me about the things that I do not understand whenever he's playing.
@Darkwing (21588)
15 Feb 09
I haven't really had any language barriers. I suppose the English, on the whole, get lazy because most European countries at least, learn English. In France though, they refuse to speak English with you, so learning French is a good move on your part! Brightest Blessings.
@mipen2006 (5528)
• Australia
15 Feb 09
I have been to many countries where I had to rely on body and sign language for help. Where there's a will there's a way. Fortunately, nowadays English is spoken by some in most countries. However, when I first travelled around the world this was not the case. I learned French at college,and self taught muself some Spanish before travelling.
@bombshell (11266)
• Germany
14 Feb 09
my mother tongue is visayan.i speak english,tagalog and a bit of deutsch.but if we speak english we can travel around the world right? and no problems
@amanda333 (739)
• France
14 Feb 09
When we first moved to France, we had lots of problems with the language, when your on holiday, you no a little French and think your okay....I can tell you until you actually live in a none speaking English country, it can be very difficult for the first year or so, just sorting your new life out
@Porcospino (18396)
• Denmark
14 Feb 09
Nine years ago I had found a job in Poland. On the plane I met a girl from Malaysia who was also going to Poland to work. When we got to the airport 4 people had come to pick her up, and 2 of them (a young couple) offered me a ride to the busstation. At the busstation they helped me buy a ticket to the next bus. I don't know what I would have done without them, because the man at the ticket office didn't speak English or German, and he didn't understand what I was saying. The girl also wrote a note explaning where I was going and told me to give it to the driver. I did give him the note, but I didn't understand what he answered (and he didn't speak English or German, either) so I wasn't sure if he had understood me. I tried to ask some of the other passagers if they would help me get off at the right stop, but they only spoke Polish, so I couldn't explain my situation. I started to get quite nervous because it was dark and I wouldn't be able to read the signs, so I didn't know how I'd get off at the right stop. I was very relieved when one of the other passagers from the other end end of the bus started speaking to me in English and told me that he would help me. Thanks to him I did get off at the right stop. Some of my co-workers had come to pick me up at the busstop, and most of them spoke English, so I didn't have to worry much about language problems when I had arrived at the place.