I knew the word for stamp was 'sello' and that an envelope was a 'sobre', so I thought nothing could go wrong. However, the shopkeeper gave me a desperate look after I have placed my order and started to look for a cigarette brand behind him, which he almost knew didn't exist. Later, when everything was solved, I wondered what the conversation must have sounded like if it would have been in my native language.
I suppose it would have gone as followed:
'Good afternuffle' (the shopkeeper already got a skittish look on his face)
'Two stampers of bla peezzetas and an enveloke, please'.
'Which brand did you say exactly?' (...)
'No, no, I don't want cigarittties. I would have to like stoomps and an enveclock. Please.'
Fortunately another customer just walked in and says he would like to buy stamps himself. I start nodding excitedly at the stamps. The shopkeeper understands me and a moment later I finally have my stampies and my enveloke. With a well-meant 'Good bee!' I left the store."
Freely translated from Remco Campert -'Tot Zoens'.
This phrase is just one of the many language incidents that happen while being abroad. You think you know the language, until you actually have to use it. It might seem more difficult than it looked on paper, and you were so sure you pronounced it correctly...
Maybe it wouldn't be such a bad idea to take a language course in Spanish, Italian or French, to make sure you are able to talk with the locals, to know what jokes they are making during dinner, or to just buy some stamps to send a postcard back home. Languages enrich your life, and you will benefit from them for a life time. They come in handy, even at moments you didn't expect them to.
So think about it, maybe you want to go to Argentina, or to China and you could use some extra lessons in the language they use over there.
Just have a look at our website and see if there is anything that you'd like, we are happy to help you.