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Monday, 5 November 2012

When your tongue gets tied...



What do you do when you find yourself in a country where you cannot read or speak the language? …where all the (many) languages you know turn out to be useless only because your answer to the ‘…pa rusky?’ question is ‘Nyet’?
It was difficult to travel through Georgia and Armenia from a linguistic point of view. Both countries use very special and unique alphabets. For instance, the Georgian alphabet is used in Georgian language and other Kvartelian languages (Mingrelian, Svan, etc.), while the Armenian alphabet is used only in Armenian language.
This being the case, here are my tips on how to survive:
  1. Look around you and see if you can spot any young and hip persons who might speak English and be able to act as translators. :)
  2. Listen carefully to what the person you are speaking to is saying. You might ‘tumble across’ words that may be similar to words in other languages you know.
  3. When preparing your trip, write down the ESSENTIALS (=places you want to visit, key words, names of streets, etc.) on a piece of paper or – better yet! – save them in a file on your smartphone, e-book reader, or tablet. This can be your ‘save-the-day’ move!
In the end, my theory is that 1 word may prove enough to explain your intentions and to get you from point A to point B, but it has to be the right one.       

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